Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Letters

Open letter to Jean Gasho!

03 Aug 2021 at 22:44hrs | Views
Dear Jean,

Its already August 2021; incredible how time has flown!

My recent conversation with you was uplifting it is one of those rare telephone calls one gets out of the blue we communicated. I waited for this golden opportunity to talk to you for a long time and indeed there was a pressing need to call you to make a request. I cannot hide the pleasure to have had a direct conversation, I personally admire you for many reasons you know. However, this letter is to inform you about my activism in a dangerous terrain with its diverse societies whose multiple ethnicities are still an issue to this day. We have unenviable and disparaging political parties, gender inequalities, social ills coupled with economic and political instability in regional SADC geopolitics dominating current affairs punctuated with the same pattern of development.

In the words of No Violet Bulawayo, I must write from the bone going out. Writing articles on social media is becoming the only means to engage in the politics of Zimbabwe. Honestly, I never saw this coming! I had hoped that I would return to Zimbabwe and actively take part in alleviating poverty in the lives of young girls and women and remove street kids from towns and cities. These hopes and aspirations are diminishing by the day, and I wonder still if my remote activism is just about my political input and never beyond.

Writing from the bone going out: I have been vocal about the social and political activities going on in Matabeleland as a whole. As you know, I have been writing the past 7 years. In the initial stages of activism, I have been a darling of Matabeleland people but not anymore. I have written passionately about the marginalization of the region, about the Gukurahundi atrocities that constituted genocide. By constantly writing about these issues, the Ndebele people loved and praised me: I was encouraged to continue writing exposing criminality and murderous aspect of Zanu regime.

As you know Jean, true activists do not engage in love affairs with polarized tribal politics per se but singularly go deep into issues that affect people's lives. I must have touched the raw mammalian nerve of a patriarchal and misogynistic culture of our societies when I openly critiqued menfolk in our societies, Matabeleland especially. Falling from "grace" has never been my problem that can make one lose sleep. From a darling of Matabeleland, I am a villain of Matabeleland. What is important to me is that the message I am putting across is sinking in slowly and surely. The penny has finally dropped; cyber activism has its profound advantages; indeed, I never saw that coming, I underestimated the power and effects of activism on cyber space.
The contents of my articles, according to them are not in sic with the mainline thinking of this region. It is for this reason I have been sentenced to death by public burning! They call such a death sentence a Winnie necklace of punishing traitors of Matabeleland. Dear Jean, much as courage is not the absence of fear, I refuse to be cowed down by threats of cowardice. I refuse to be silenced. I refuse to quit fighting for women and girl-children: gender violence in our societies is prevalent and it is getting worse made by social and economic conditions prevailing. You have read about numerous regional Mthwakazi parties sure, my bone of contention with these parties is that they are not genuine liberators they purport to be but a bunch of opportunist masquerading as revolutionaries. A swamp!

Jean, I am sure you agree with me when I say you are not a liberator if you coerce the very niche you want to liberate. Mthwakazi parties do not have convincing policies with them, or their methods of engagements are so self-serving: It appears to me they are only politically active, and they do not assist proactively the rural population with required basic knowledge of fighting poverty and food insecurities. I have commented on several occasions about this default modus operandi regarding the plight of rural populations in Matabeleland on several occasions: it does not make them attractive to the constituencies: they do not need pungwe approach but local and practical engagements that bring bread on to the tables.

Of great importance today is the regional turbulences in Mozambique, Eswatini and South Africa: I doubt if Zimbabwe will escape this. Nations are rising against despotic monarch and regimes. The situation in South Africa is a cause for concern in the region. I still believe that this chaos that took place in SA was not about the incarceration of former President Zuma, his imprisonment triggered what was looming the past 27 years. South Africa today is worse than the days of apartheid. The black population is abjectly poor. There is a small ruling class of overly rich black elite who have totally reneged the moral obligations of removing poverty from the very niche that voted for them into power and continue to vote for them.

The ANC party is showing the black population a middle finger: "we shall continue to eat on your behalf and please be silent, if you make a noise, we have the army, you will be forced to be silence". The army indeed was unleashed to cow the general population that looted and caused mayhem in certain major towns and cities. It was never about Zuma, it was a strong message to the ruling party that it won't be long, the situation is not yet over for many years to come, South Africa will continue to have turbulences characterized by lack of will to address social, political, and economic injustices in the nation.

As we are talking Eswatini is burning, the people want to rid themselves of the monarch that has dehumanized them. 60 per cent of the land belongs to the King who has 16 wives. Well I know Jean that you support polygamy: I do not want to repeat this topic once again; we agreed to disagree on this, and we moved on. My bone of contention is, he is impoverishing the people with his lavish lifestyle. Eswatini is not rich as is in Zimbabwe. It is a very poor country even by our African standards. The opposition in Eswatini is very loud they demand change; the situation cannot go on; it is a question of time King Swati will abdicate from the throne: He will be forced to abdicate.

The people of Zimbabwe are monitoring the situation carefully. I am sure they are weighing their options: Such situations need a trigger just like it happened in South Africa. A week ago a junior minister bought a quarter of a million pounds sterling Rolls Royce worth from the UK, and we wonder, in a cash-strapped, pit latrine economy, where did the minister get money to lavish himself amid abject poverty, hunger, desperation, chronic diseases such a HIV/AIDS and Covid 19. Our hospitals, our schools, our roads! Our roads dear Jean. How do they buy such cars to be driven on disastrous roads? The roads infrastructure are dilapidated, is the correct term to describe them.

Another trigger could be the continuous going of VP Chiwenga to China for minor treatment of a sore throat. The way our leaders treat us feels as if they are urinating on us to punish us for what we really do not know. Jean such abuse of power is not found even in rich countries of the north. The open question here is, how long are the police and the army and the secret service going to continue to protect the ill-gotten revenues, looted by our leaders from the national treasury? Do these soldiers and the police not see how desperate their situation is? They get minimum wages to barely exist to protect African political leaders richer than Barak Obama, Angela Merkel, George Bush, Tony Blair, and all of them first world leaders.

The situation in Zambia is not better either dear Jean; election are looming. President Lungu has announced that he will unleash the army before the election day. So we already know what that means by African standards, a typical modus operandi of rigging elections and if the opposition contests, they will be silenced. I saw this coming dear Jean. African politics is so contagious: South Africa sent a wrong precedence of unleashing the army to quell riots and looting. Who is going to stop President Lungu now from doing the same in Zambia? In Zimbabwe however, it has been a military state since the coup in November 2017.

The regional south is militarizing; I say this because as we speak now, in Mozambique the regional armies have been sent to quell the insurgency in the northern parts affected by brutal killings of innocent citizens. Dear Jean, the situation in southern Africa is fragile. The African political leaders are greedy, are not prepared to relinquish power to capable leaders. Africa has capable leaders but are domiciled in foreign countries because there is no future for them in their own countries. However, the upheavals in South Africa gave us a golden opportunity to know that its intelligentsia is still at home in South Africa unlike in Zimbabwe. Following the analysis and comments made by South Africans of all class and race divide, it was mind-blowing to realize that the solutions in South Africa are already on the table and the better minds know that the riots and looting was not an insurrection but social, economic, and political discontentment about ANC glaringly failed politics.

Dear Jean, some Cameroonian Professor, Achilles Mbembe once said, Africa is a continent of disasters that have happened, about to happen, will happen; I may not be quoting him verbatim. For me who was in Zambia, had seen and witnessed how freedom war bitterly fought, how people perished in the frontline states: did they fight so hard to get this pit-latrine freedom? What are the bones of those who perished for freedom saying to us, about us? Be it in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Zambia; the general populations are short-changed, has been short-change, were short-changed, will be short-changed.

The future of this continent is bleak. We shall soon be colonized by China this time around. Africans will remain slaves for centuries to come once more. The fault this time around is our greedy African leaders, dear Jean. If you read again the genealogies of colonialism, you will realize that to a greater extent the pre-colonial African chiefs and kings were to blame. They behaved in the same way our current African leaders are doing.

I will pen off today dear Jean; mwana we handzwadzi; and I will write you the second part next time, promise. There is so much I need to tell you about Zimbabwe and the regional politics whose current developments are exciting, it is not possible to write you everything in a single letter. I still need to tell you more about gender violence, child marriages, what could be the root causes of societal violence.
Best regards, to your husband, your handy maids and children,


Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.