NOTHING lasts forever. The young eventually get old and subsequently perish. Such is the law of nature. The year 1980 is pretty different from 2013.
Dialectical materialism dictates that life is in constant motion and more particularly, that the old gives way and collapses into the new. Thus, it will be utter folly to fanatically hold onto the past, to refuse to engage the future and to, somehow, hope that the hands of time can be stopped. Apparently, you cannot freeze time. That’s the way it works and indeed, that’s the way it is.
The battle is not about personalities but ideas. When some of us protest against misgovernance, corruption and greed, we are not specifically targeting any particular individual(s). We will continue to blame corruption and intolerance across the political divide.
We are driven by a passion for the holistic advancement of humanity. Thus, whether you are white, black or yellow, we are not particularly bothered. We don’t care one iota whether you are Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndebele, Tonga or whatever. We perceive issues in a scientific mode and certainly not in tribalistic and/or racist fashion.
I may be proudly Karanga to the bare bones but that does not necessarily make me a tribalist. When we choose leaders, we don’t firstly ask where they come from or what their totem is. I may be a Madyirapazhe to the bone marrow, but it doesn’t follow that I will lend you my support simply because you belong to the Gumbo and Chaurura dynasty.
It is the quality of your beliefs, the style of your management and of course, your leadership capabilities that will essentially determine whether we will support you. Whether you are handsome or ugly is pretty irrelevant. We are not bogged down on petty issues. It is our mission to focus on good governance rather than physical beauty or lack of it. Going forward, we have rejected the politics of personality cults and hero-worshipping.
Naturally, therefore, we shall not hesitate to criticize in a robust and constructive manner. Where credit is due, we will give. In similar fashion, we will not propagandistically create credit where it’s not due. We refuse to play Josef Goebbels. We will, thus, completely refuse to create “heroes’’ from political charlatans, thieves, robbers and some other such malcontents. We will call a spade a spade. If you are a lion, we will call you a lion and not a chicken and the converse is true.
The cookie was at one time a very nice and delicious one. We all enjoyed it and we marvelled at it. But as I have stated hereinbefore, nothing lasts forever. Life is like fashion; and we all know that fashion is always changing. History has invariably always punished those people who refuse to engage and accept change.
When Adolf Hitler was cornered by Allied Forces in 1944, he somehow thought it was a joke and a passing phase. He refused to accept reality and suicidally, he thought he was still on the verge of winning the Second World War. As his empire was crumbling around him, Hitler’s spin doctor and propaganda maestro, Josef Goebbels, was telling him a different story.
According to Goebbels, the armed forces of the Third Reich were on the ascendancy and the Allied Forces were retreating. But we all know that what Goebbels was telling Hitler was a lie. A blue lie! Hitler didn’t survive for long. He chose to believe that he was super-human and unbeatable. He got intoxicated by his own psychosis and rabid propaganda. Put simply, he was in denial and he completely refused to accept reality. He was dreaming.
When he woke up from dreamland, both himself and the Third Reich had been totally annihilated. A similar fate befell dictators in the mould of Idi Amin Dada, the man who notoriously referred to himself as the Last King of Scotland, Nicolae Ceausescu, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. History has never been too kind with dictators who stubbornly refuse to accept reality and also to accept that their time is up.
As we engage the future, we should also learn from the past. We never want to throw away the baby with the bath water. We will embrace the good from the past as we seek to triumphantly engage the future. In the same breath, the future beckons only for those who are not morbidly afraid of change. We are not afraid of the past nor are we frightened of the ghost of yesteryear.
We will cast away the demons of retrogression, fear and intimidation. We are baking a brand new cookie and believe you me; this particular cookie is of a superior quality compared to the current cookie. Thirty two (32) years of independence have taught us a very good lesson. For over three decades, we have been ruled by one man and of course, we have been left behind as the rest of Africa galloped to prosperity.
Whilst we still languish in a world of make believe and personality cults, the rest of Africa has engaged the future and moved forward.
Governments have been peacefully changed in other parts of Africa. In Zimbabwe, talk of an election is like war talk. We have a ravaged history of electoral violence and thuggery. The State becomes a predator against its own people each time we hold an election. The bloody fiasco of June 27, 2008 is a classic case in point. It is high time that we accept that an election is an election and not a declaration of war against the people.
When the majority of the people reject you at the polls, you should simply accept the result. You shouldn’t force the people to like you. If they no longer support you, just ask yourself why the people have since abandoned you. Take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Do I still have anything new and exciting to offer to the electorate? If the answer is no, you should proceed to do the right and honourable thing and promptly step down.
There is no use being in denial. People don’t eat history. Indeed, people don’t eat hollow promises such as the so-called indigenisation and empowerment. The elections are coming this year. Yes, they are.
Some of us are sick and tired of this utterly dysfunctional government. Never again should election losers be given the opportunity to run the country. We have learnt our lesson in a most bitter fashion. A leopard never changes its posts. The offspring of a snake is a snake. We should never be fooled again. Once bitten twice shy. In the interim, we should refuse to drive the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe into a bloodbath disguised as an election. We should forcefully insist on the levelling of the electoral playing field.
We should insist that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) immediately ceases to be Zanu PF’s propaganda broadcaster. The military should stay in the barracks and should have no business terrorising villagers in the countryside and campaigning for a particular political party. All political players should have equal access to the public broadcaster.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be sanitised. State operatives and military strategists who currently constitute its key secretariat should be flashed out. ZEC should have its substantive chairperson back in the office sooner rather than later. If he is unable to continue with his duties as chair, then we should call upon the political principals to appoint a new substantive chair.
Zimbabwe has to move forward. Indeed, Zimbabwe has to start working again. There should be no excuse for failure. We are too rich to be poor. It is a very expensive luxury for us to take more than four years hassling and haggling over a new constitution.
We have to be more serious and move forward with focus and determination. It is completely unacceptable to have a constitution-making process that goes on ad infinitum. We have to have finality sooner rather than later.
If the cookie has to crumble, so be it. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough. It is high time that they be allowed to engage the future.
Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is also the MDC Harare provincial spokesperson and the Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs.