Zimbabwe is in total disorder. We are suffering under the hands of one man who is refusing to relinquish power partly because he has a penchant for staying in power forever and partly because he fears the trail of destruction that will ensue if he leaves power (the factional and successionist politics plaguing Zanu PF). The disorder came whilst we looked on, without us realising the disorder was to come…
Mugabe’s silence at critical times has been his most powerful political weapon that has helped him entrench his dictatorship whilst his cronies unleash ruthlessness and nonchalance unabated, which further tightens his grip on power. This is then highly concretised by an effective and perfectly crafted system of patronage, which is so intricate that it has become extremely difficult to dismantle.
The citizens are therefore at the mercy of such a wicked, cruel, heartless, inconsiderate and egotistic government. In present Zimbabwe freedom remains a pipe dream, a dream that only finds space in the wildest of people’s imaginations. It is a highly contemptuous situation in which we have become entangled, our silence over the years becoming our consent. In Zimbabwe, some people are even afraid to type the word ‘Mugabe’ on Facebook and WhatsApp, the major communicating platforms embraced by the Zimbabwean populace. Such cowardice exhibited over the years, only to be broken with last year’s protests that rocked the capital especially, has provided fertile ground for Mugabe’s dictatorship to thrive.
But then it is evident that in as much as we blame ourselves as citizens for the assent to Mugabe’s dictatorial tendencies, the fear was inculcated in us a long time ago, in the earliest phases of Independence. The whole issue started with the ethnic atrocities committed in the Matabeleland and Midlands region in the early 1980s. Already that set the conditions of the dictatorship that was to ensue. The 5th Brigade instilled a permanent sense of insecurity especially in the Ndebele people. That made it difficult for the people to challenge the majority ruling party, which was and is still Zanu PF. The late Vice-President and Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo tried to question the devilish and heinous crimes that were being committed but he found himself having to flee Zimbabwe and seek exile in Botswana. People like the late Lookout Masuku found themselves in prison for challenging the acrimonious crimes that were being perpetrated, eventually dying in prison.
Such then is a sad tale of people who have tried to challenge the regime but had their lives cut short unceremoniously. In other words, they served as examples to those who may try to question the actions of the ruling party. In those days fear was being instilled in people as scores were left traumatized. Mugabe then was already in the process of carving out autocracy. He habitually showed nonchalance in that epoch which he has unashamedly described as “a moment of madness.” That period instilled untold fear in the people such that challenging Mugabe was unheard of and tantamount to death. The ruthless extermination of political opponents continued relentlessly throughout the years and people increasingly found it difficult to challenge Robert Mugabe. The patronage system was then instituted and highly sponsored. It did not come as a surprise when military chiefs pledged their allegiance to Mugabe in 2002.
The autocratic regime, being effected through fear and a highly sponsored patronage system, was then fuelled by immense vote rigging, violence, and unequal broadcasting opportunities that frustrated the opposition’s efforts and hopes of toppling Mugabe from power. The elections in 2000 and 2002 proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Mugabe was clearly bent on forging a dictatorship that would not crumble. Constitutional amendments were made, granting Mugabe more and more unlimited power hence ensuring that Zanu would be in power for as long as they could. Already Mugabe had initially achieved creating a de facto one party state by swallowing in Zapu at the 1987 Unity Accord, which had been put into signing by the aforementioned Gukurahundi atrocities.
The state of affairs in which we are now is something that was crafted decades ago, without us realising the repercussions we would have to suffer in the future. If we had realised it in the earliest stages of Independence (we have not yet gained economic independence as a country) we would have developed a fight-back culture long back and maybe this mess in which we are would have been non-existent. But that is the essence of history: to introspect past events so that we brace ourselves for the future.
Right now we have to be meticulous with the moves of both the ruling party and the opposition forces. We now have to challenge both (the opposition has proved to be an indecisive force of politically wasted people) the ruling and the opposition parties and we have to craft our future as citizens before the politicians who are self-centred set the undesirable path for us. Dictatorship thrives in environs where the people lack will power and determination to challenge that which is not suitable for the country’s growth. Speaking of which Zimbabweans are in disarray right now as regards unity. The fear that Mugabe indoctrinated in us is now bearing fruits, as we live in constant fear of the unknown. Partly vindicated by the 2008 political violence that left many dead and seriously wounded. This however is something we need to surmount by mustering all our energy and will power, creating a united front as citizens that is laden with a common purpose.
Everyone awaits that special moment when we are going to be extricated from the mess which we are found therein. That can only be achieved by us. Only real power is in the hands of the citizens but if the citizens are not conscious of that valuable fact then the status quo will not be revoked anyhow. It is only my wish that as Zimbabweans we learn from countries such as The Gambia and Ghana, where democracy is flourishing and the will of the people triumphs.
We are captured in mental slavery. A lot of negativity reigns free in our minds, as we are enshrouded by a thick cloud of negative energy. We do not support those who challenge the government, rather we recline to our comfort zones. Such a mentality is weighing us down as a people. For as long as one’s things are in order, there is no need to worry about the next person’s predicament. This is due to the insecurity and fear that reigns supreme in us, spurred by Mugabe and his wicked branches; the military, police and the intelligence services.
It is a sad situation, a sorry sight. We have been subdued, but we need a resurgent spirit, a spirit of sheer resilience that cannot be overcome by any force whatsoever. It is not too late to destroy the barricades put forth to our bright futures and good well-being by the Mugabe regime.