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If peace overshadowed justice, then there wouldn't have been a liberation struggle!

11 Sep 2023 at 20:11hrs | Views
There is a common thread that defines oppressive leaders.

They subjugate the population - stripping them of all their rights, whilst unleashing some of the most horrendous injustices - thereafter, asking them to remain peaceful, as a vital cog in the nation's development and survival.

In fact, during my early schooling years - having began grade one at the same time as Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 - there was one thing I found rather curious in our history books, written during the colonial era.

There was an emphasis on how the country was founded on firm Christian values - which needed to be jealously guarded and preserved.

One of these values was the need for peace - since this was a central theme of our Lord Jesus Christ's teachings - as such, all the people of this great country had to treasurer this tenet.

These history books branded liberation movements fighting for the freedom, equality and prosperity of the black population as nothing more than 'trouble-causers and rouble-rousers'.

They were portrayed as seeking to sow seeds of division, anarchy and hatred in the country - thereby, scuttling the 'peace and harmony' which the people enjoyed.

In all this, there was absolutely no mention of the barbaric injustices and repression - through the shameful racial segregation and the marginalization of the majority - who were forced onto the caprices of the country.

Everything was painted as rosy - with the black people being the 'happiest in Africa'.

Of course, this could not have been further from the truth!

The reader of these history books was made to believe that there was really nothing amiss or untoward in the country - as such, absolutely no justification whatsoever in anyone standing up against this system.

Those who were urging the people to rise up and stand up for their rights were 'bad apples and miscreants', who needed to be 'weeded out' - as they were 'counter-productive', with their actions only stifling national development.

Indeed, who in their right mind would not want national and personal development?

Who does not want to live in a peaceful society - where we can all go about our daily activities without hindrance, in the absence of some 'rouble-rousers' inciting the citizenry not to tolerate the oppression they are facing?

We all want peace!

However, this peace can only exist where there is justice.

I am quite confident that those who waged the liberation struggle for this country were not 'trouble-causers and bad apples' who hated peace and the nation's development.

I seriously doubt if they were anarchists, who were motived by a desire to see the people suffering and at war with one another.

They desired peace - nevertheless, above that, they also wanted justice.

Living in peace - yet oppressed and marginalized - is meaningless!

That is exactly what we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today.

I can not help being amazed at all the talk about peace by the ruling elite - especially after the recently-held harmonized elections.

Granted, I am in full agreement with them that the country needs to remain peaceful - as we focus on developing our livelihoods and moving Zimbabwe forward.

Nonetheless, I am reminded of the colonial era and those history books I read in early primary school.

Is it not a bit disingenuous and insincere for a regime that survives on stealing elections - effectively forcing themselves upon the people of Zimbabwe against their will - to expect the citizenry not to demand justice?

Just as in colonial Rhodesia, surely are we supposed to just accept the denial of our rights to elect a leader of our choice - merely for the sake of peace?

Are we expected to simply roll over, accept the savage stripping of our rights, and pretend that all is well in Zimbabwe?

Well, the brutal truth is that, all is not well in our country.

We can not keep turning the other cheek, whilst we are repeatedly treated as second-class citizens in our own country - who should be perennially ruled over by a small clique of oppressive kleptomaniacs - refusing to accept that they are no longer wanted by the people.

Besides, exactly what 'national development' are we expecting in a Zimbabwe under the callous rule of such leaders?

As we turn a blind eye to brazen injustices in the country - in the hope of 'national development' - half the population lives in extreme poverty, whilst two thirds earn below the poverty datum line.

Enjoying three square meals a day has become a luxury for the majority of Zimbabweans - with millions characterized as food insecure.

Right now, our health institutions have become death traps - lacking basic necessities, such as medication, functional cancer machines, ambulances and adequate hospital beds.

Whilst such suffering is taking place, those in power and their cronies see nothing wrong with flaunting their filthy ill-gotten wealth - largely derived from the scandalous looting of our national resources.

They unashamedly parade their latest luxury vehicle, trips overseas for expensive holidays and mansions that make Hollywood star green with envy.

It is time that ordinary Zimbabweans exercised their constitutional rights to express their displeasure and disgruntlement with this never-ending cycle of electoral fraud.

We need to have leaders we genuinely want.

Unlike during the colonial times, we now have the constitutional right to stand up for ourselves, though in a peaceful manner - as we demand that justice prevails in Zimbabwe.

We do not need to be violent in making our demands known and heeded - as there are a million and one ways of achieving this goal.

Even simply staying at home and shutting down the country for a few days is a loud form of protest.

For how long are we going to be moaning and complaining over 'stolen elections'?

This time around - unlike during previous elections - even SADC, the AU-COMESA and Commonwealth have buttressed our claims that our electoral processes were a huge sham.

In the preliminary reports, produced by their various election observer missions - they did not mince their words that the elections on 23rd and 24th August fell far short of acceptable standards - both according to Zimbabwe's own Constitution and electoral laws, as well as regional and international guidelines.

We are no better today than we were under Rhodesia - since our voices are arrogantly disregarded today, just as was the case during the colonial era.

In effect, this country has been under minority rule for the past 133 years, since 1890!

I love peace - and the thought of chaos and anarchy sends chills down my spine.

However, it should be a collective responsibility of all Zimbabweans in laying the foundation and creating the environment for the attainment and preservation of this peace.

It takes two to tango - as the saying goes.

It is recklessly tempting fate for any ruling establishment to ride roughshod over their citizens - and at the same time, expecting them to always keep quiet.

Even our liberation heroes and heroines desired peace - but there came a time when they could not take the injustices and oppression anymore.

The ball is squarely in the governing authorities' court in ensuring that conditions for peace are always present in Zimbabwe.

This entails justice and the respect of our rights as the people of Zimbabwe.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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