Pam­beri ne Zimbabwe: Why the 2018 election still mat­ters

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ANTAGONISING a cer­tain truth does not in­val­i­date its pop­u­lar­ity nor does it de­cap­i­tate its promi­nence. In a po­larised polity, it is fash­ion­able for po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts to take a side and af­ter all it is nor­mal that analy­ses is un­der­pinned on bi­ases. How­ever, man­i­fes­ta­tion of the in­evitable paral­y­ses ir­ra­tional pre­dis­po­si­tions. An an­a­lyst may se­lec­tively ab­hor cer­tain re­al­i­ties in pur­suit of sac­cha­rine — and yet toxic ma­nip­u­la­tion of a gullible mass. The past years of Zimbabwe’s split pa­tri­otic con­scious­ness when the coun­try was nudged in par­ti­san pro­cliv­i­ties of be­long­ing has cre­ated a cul­ture of lan­guid analy­ses sus­tained by blind loy­alty and par­ti­san syco­phancy. Po­lit­i­cal gram­mar is largely un­der­pinned on what cer­tain sec­tions of the academia have been con­di­tioned to hate or sym­pa­thise with. In the same man­ner, the Zim­bab­wean thought lead­er­ship has been char­ac­terised by ap­plause val­i­da­tion for ad­vanc­ing par­tic­u­lar dis­cur­sive scope(s). As long as one projects a think­ing which dis­par­ages the es­tab­lish­ment in the court of pub­lic opin­ion they loot ac­co­lades of be­ing ex­cel­lent aca­demics. In this eco­sphere of su­per­fi­cial and fic­tional ac­cla­ma­tion of se­lec­tive truths ad­verse emo­tions to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment is in­cen­tivised. The in­do­lence to ques­tion­ing hate to the es­tab­lish­ment has since pop­u­larised hash­tag pol­i­tick­ing.

In­deed, there has been too many anti-es­tab­lish­ment hash­tag en­ter­prises which have built the mo­men­tum to the much an­tic­i­pated 2018 plebiscite. The post 2018 election, on the other hand, has not been im­mune to the­atrics from the ConCourt, fuel queues, il­licit cur­rency cir­cu­la­tion and price hikes. As it stands, the acute eco­nomic cri­sis seems to be a road back to where we are com­ing from. In such times, with these prob­lems some may feel that the right choice they made was wrong, but the truth of the mat­ter is that we are here be­cause the pop­u­lar will took its course — as it shall take its course in lead­ing us to a fu­ture that is new. Our hopes for the fu­ture re­side in our com­mon­ness to shape the fu­ture out­side our given cur­rent ob­sta­cles.

As such, it is im­por­tant for us to in­tro­spect and ret­ro­spect the un­der­lin­ing doc­trines of what de­lin­eates our na­tion­al­ism — though the in­te­gral and co­he­sive re­al­ity of a na­tion is sub­ject to de­bate in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence. How­ever, this does not su­per­sede the her­itage that our lib­er­a­tion legacy of­fers. Over the years, the same lib­er­a­tion nar­ra­tive has been dis­missed as a Zanu-PF mo­tor-en­gine to ac­cel­er­ate the tempo to loot po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal. How­ever, the prob­lem of this logic is that it dis­tanced its pro­po­nents from the epi­cen­tre of power. This is be­cause real power re­sides in the nar­ra­tive of our strug­gle and how it in­forms our col­lec­tive man­date to con­sol­i­date its val­ues and pre­am­bles. This is why the mem­ory of our raise to be a na­tion is now safely pre­served in the na­tion’s supreme law — the con­sti­tu­tion. We are a na­tion no mat­ter how oth­ers pro­pose that the very ur­gency of be­ing Zim­bab­wean is cut apart to grat­ify sub­tle at­tempts for se­ces­sion.

The in­clu­sion of these val­ues in the con­sti­tu­tion vividly cap­tures how sig­nif­i­cant and peren­nial these are in terms of mould­ing the so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions of all Zim­bab­weans. There­fore, as we go to choose the coun­try’s next Govern­ment, of course still very far away, it is es­sen­tial to re­flect on the per­ma­nent in­ter­ests which sus­tain good gov­er­nance in our moth­er­land.

On that note, this ar­ti­cle seeks to re­fresh our con­scious­ness on these prin­ci­ples that bind. They also shape our hopes for a bet­ter coun­try as deemed by the an­ti­colo­nial strug­gle. The the­matic fun­da­men­tals our lib­er­a­tion legacy have not ex­pired and are rel­e­vant to carv­ing the present and the fu­ture. Since these nor­ma­tive ground­ing of our na­tional as­pi­ra­tions is per­ma­nent; this means ev­ery gen­er­a­tion has a man­date to pre­serve those ide­o­log­i­cal essen­tials.

The bat­tle for state power

The key jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the na­tion­al­ist move­ment’s ex­is­tence was to ini­ti­ate the trans­fer of state power from the racist UDI to a black ma­jor­ity Govern­ment. The UDI sym­bol­ised the cap­ture of African lib­er­ties. As such, the role of na­tion­al­ism was to re­store the dig­nity of the Africans which was lost at the ar­rival of Rhodes’ dis­mem­ber­ment (Pi­o­neer) Col­umn. The quest for the trans­fer of state power was es­sen­tially founded on the need to dis­man­tle the legacy of de­feated black as­pi­ra­tions and the peo­ple’s right to be free from sub­ju­ga­tion.

To­day we con­front yet an­other bat­tle for the shift­ing of state power from the cur­rent govern­ment by the op­po­si­tion. How­ever, the rul­ing is a dif­fer­ent type of es­tab­lish­ment from that which Rhode­sia was; as a re­sult the cur­rent de­sire for the shift of state power is in­formed by a dif­fer­ent con­text. This is a con­text that places Zanu-PF at the cen­tre of priv­i­lege — em­a­nat­ing from his­tory since this is the party that dis­lodged the Rhode­sian cen­tre of power. How­ever, what is im­por­tant is that this par­tic­u­lar cri­sis af­ter the election largely de­picts the mo­men­tum as­so­ci­ated with the fights for power trans­fer which char­ac­terise any con­tested po­lit­i­cal space. How­ever, now that we are past the elec­tions, the bal­lot pro­nounced di­vi­sions we had months ago must be left be­hind and we rally around other more bind­ing terms of be­long­ing as a peo­ple and as a na­tion.

The armed strug­gle was a broad ini­tia­tive to re­claim the lost sov­er­eign dig­nity of the African pop­u­lace dis­placed through the ruth­less colo­nial laws since 1893. The lib­er­a­tion agenda was meant to re­po­si­tion Africans to be masters of their des­tiny af­ter the suc­cess­ful cap­ture of their free­dom. There­after, the na­tion­al­ist agenda was to set the pa­ram­e­ters of the new na­tion’s in­ter­ests. Key among these in­ter­ests was to en­sure that the newly-born Zimbabwe was go­ing to have ab­so­lute self-de­ter­mi­na­tion out­side the ex­ter­nal dom­i­na­tion. This is a per­ma­nent char­ac­ter of the na­tion­al­ist legacy which is still an in­te­gral part of our present day fight to en­sure that Zimbabwe’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic poli­cies pro­vide the bench­mark of sovereignty. Of course, this comes at a time Zimbabwe has been in the fight against Amer­ica’s il­le­gal im­po­si­tion of the Zimbabwe De­vel­op­ment and Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Act (2018). There­fore, as Zim­bab­weans voted, the process was a reaf­fir­ma­tion of the fact that the coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial and diplo­matic se­cu­rity is key, but most im­por­tantly that Zim­bab­weans are cog­nisant of the pa­tri­otic man­date they have in nur­tur­ing the “Zim­bab­wean Dream” which is not pre­de­ter­mined by tem­po­rary storms.

An­other cen­tral pil­lar of our lib­er­a­tion strug­gle was the fight for democ­racy. While there are nu­mer­ous sub­mis­sions which ex­plain the phe­nom­e­non of democ­racy, I ar­gue that this is a con­cept which of­fers nor­ma­tive pro­vi­sions for those who gov­ern to draw con­sent for their le­git­i­macy from the gov­erned. This is why the fight against Smith was jus­ti­fied and draws its sup­port from the masses. This is be­cause his regime was il­le­gal. It was an op­pres­sive ma­chin­ery to the lib­er­ties of the African. As such, the phe­nom­e­non of democ­racy is as old as the nascent stage of the anti-colo­nial re­sis­tance. Our peo­ple re­sisted to be gov­erned by the op­pres­sor. There­fore, in re­mem­brance of their sac­ri­fice in the fight against tyranny it is cru­cial for Zim­bab­weans to un­der­stand that this phase must com­pel us to safe­guard the time im­memo­rial prin­ci­ples of hav­ing a gov­ern­ing body which is en­dorsed into power by the peo­ple for the peo­ple. We are Zimbabwe!

The wealth of the na­tion

The thrust of the Chimurenga was to re­align prop­erty rights and own­er­ship. The armed strug­gle was aimed at bring­ing back that which was stolen from the African peo­ple by the colo­nial­ist. This in­cluded vast tracks of arable land, min­eral rich ar­eas and ac­cess to wildlife. The African be­came a tres­passer in the land of their birth. The fight against the sys­tem that was in­sti­tuted by Rhodes and his scions by the na­tion­al­ists was to en­sure that Zim­bab­weans re­claimed their lost wealth. As such, Zim­bab­weans voted for a party which recog­nises that place of the in­di­genes in the eco­nomic scheme of things. It is about en­abling those who are not of Zim­bab­wean de­scent to be wel­comed to in­vest in the coun­try —at the same time im­part­ing skills that will help to grow Zimbabwe’s econ­omy.

Equal­ity forms the so­cial base of our po­lit­i­cal cul­ture against a back­ground of the racism that the na­tion­al­ist gen­er­a­tion fought. As a re­sult, Zim­bab­weans voted for equal­ity, ac­cess to op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as dis­tribu­tive poli­cies which en­sure that ba­sic needs such as health, ed­u­ca­tion and other so­cial ameni­ties are not a priv­i­lege of a few.

If so­cial bi­na­ries based on nepo­tism and despotic so­cial im­bal­ances are suc­cess­fully crushed na­tional unity will be a re­al­ity. This is be­cause from the out­set, what lib­er­ated us was our unity against op­pres­sion. There­fore, our pros­per­ity de­pends on unity. That way peace and pros­per­ity will be a defin­ing mark of our po­lit­i­cal land­scape. There­fore, Zim­bab­weans voted for unity and that unity must per­me­ate across all lev­els of so­ci­ety even in these hard, but pass­ing times. THERE’S some­thing wrong in our small town of Hwange par­tic­u­larly at Hwange Truck Inn and Sin­drella No 1 North Vil­lage. Peo­ple are be­ing killed willy-nilly and no cul­prits are brought to book. The law must catch up with these crim­i­nals and lock them up.

In­no­cent peo­ple lose their lives and we can’t seem to find a so­lu­tion to stop or chal­lenge what is tar­nish­ing our small town’s name and cut­ting short lives of in­no­cent peo­ple. We must not blame any­one for lack of safety but the peo­ple of Hwange should all play a role in this cri­sis.

Every­one must be re­spon­si­ble by re­port­ing any crim­i­nals they know or who they sus­pect to be be­hind these grue­some mur­ders. Let’s not hide these crim­i­nals be­cause they will come and at­tack us as well.

Let us work to­gether with the po­lice to clean our town of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity — let’s not use un­em­ploy­ment as an ex­cuse to mur­der and rob peo­ple. Peo­ple of Hwange let us join hands and re­port these crim­i­nals even if they are our sons and daugh­ters.

Lawrence Gen­eral Chinene, Hwange.

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