The bitter armed struggle was waged against the supposedly racist government of Ian Smith. The complaint was not about the poor performance of the economy, in the country. The complaint was the evil system, to do with human rights violations. Any governing system that disregards human rights is wicked.
Having attained our independence in 1980, it is unwise to blame evil leaders at the helm. Lest the Zimbabweans get misled again, citizens should be helped to come out of dependency syndrome. There ought to be a clear understanding that the Zimbabwean problems have got nothing to do with personalities.
Even with natural phenomena, like drought, the President gets blamed. Or after experiencing good rains, resulting in a bumper harvest, the President is showered with praises. This reveals ignorance by the populace. As a republican country, ordinary people ought to be aware that they are in charge of their destiny.
Anyone observing wrongness in the environment, whether misgovernance or anything, the only person to blame is self. The matter of irresponsibility has affected Zimbabwe, more than the accused Junta or the late Robert Mugabe. The good question ought to be; how do evil leaders access governing power?
The answer is that their ascension is facilitated by ignorant people. Ignorance is manifested among those ignoring human rights violations when pampering ED’s government with assumed economic successes. Even with world-acclaimed economic successes, as long as based on human rights violations, such successes should be passionately condemned.
Evil leaders are generally supported by ignorant people. It is a question of numbers. As long as carrying a sizable number of supporters such evil leaders, cascade an evil system down to the majority. The ignorant people are manipulated to support an evil system. Ordinarily, it is the ignorant people who passionately applaud the President, even for a good rainy season.
The ignorant people can be manipulated to support the sanctions mantra, where the question of human rights violations is raised. The ignorant would then be used to speak loud against sanctions, but not benefiting anything. Those used as megaphones get corruptly paid exorbitantly for singing the acceptable tune.
This is not new. The persecution that affected the early disciples, as recorded in the Bible, shows that ignorance has always been problematic with humanity. There will always be political sharks, using political terms, resonating with the feelings of the ignorant people. The only reason why most people cannot learn from Biblical experiences is religiosity.
“About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: ‘You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshipped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.’
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s travelling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theatre together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theatre.
The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence, in order to make a defence before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’
The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: ‘Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. If then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case, we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.’ After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:27-41 NIV).
This matter had to be settled through the legal system of that time. But Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen had sought to manipulate ignorant people to protect their business. The story goes to show how corruption thrives in ordinary business enterprises.
In most African countries, the so-called investors, are unethical people whose businesses are sustained by corruption. The answer to economic problems should not only come from economic investors. Each individual is gifted with ideas of how to handle problems. The economy can be solved by the Zimbabwean people themselves.
This world carries people who are copycats in life. If Cristiano Ronaldo is a footballer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that any other person can also be a footballer. That means not everyone was born to be a footballer. This is why we can also admire musicians, without having to be musical.
Each individual was born to be a peculiar jewel, more important than a diamond, or any other considered valuable mineral in this world. This is notwithstanding that many people die without ever connecting with their potential value, as human beings.
We hear of people talking about Zimbabwe being rich in mineral resources. Other nations seek to engage Zimbabwe, for its rich mineral resources, instead of rich human resources. Yet, even the most despised people in despicable corners of our streets, hold the untapped value in them.
Our President declared that Zimbabwe was open for business. Meaning that other nations were free to come and loot, depriving the Zimbabweans of those national resources. When China, or other nations, come to Zimbabwe, it is for the natural resources they admire, excluding humans.
That was the same consideration by Cecil John Rhodes and his friends, in the nineteenth century. Our failure to govern ourselves is the reason that foreigners are given the freedom to loot our resources. Our young people cannot realize the responsibility before them.
There is no need to engage in another independence struggle, in this country. Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980. It is unnecessary to blame another fellow citizen for whatever is adjudged as wrong. Each citizen should view him/herself as responsible.
Collectively, Zimbabweans own a country called Zimbabwe. The idea of democratic elections gives each person the right to decide on how the country is to be governed. The person elected to become President should be treated as a CEO of a corporate organization.
The only difference is that the person elected for the mandate to govern is not necessarily to make profits. But to meet the aspirations of ordinary people. CEOs are judged by how much profit the organization would have achieved. That is not necessarily the case with those governing a country.
Ian Smith could not last, yet probably being the best administrator in governance, in terms of economic development. There are those putting a lot of praise on white people, as administratively better than blacks. That comes from misinformation. There is no difference between whites and black people, except the skin colour.
It is a matter of failing to take responsibility, on governance issues. There is no denying that the white governments also carry histories of incompetent governing systems. The Israelites have their History as documented in the Judeo-Christian Bible, in the first and second Books of Samuel and Kings, respectively.
Being enlightened ahead of others does not make one superior. The enlightened races bear the responsibility of backward nations. The nature of humanity makes it wrong to regard another race as inferior or superior to others. Without responsibility, the enlightened races forfeit their advantage.
There is no enlightenment surpassing the enlightenment that humans, regardless of race, were created in God’s image. Of course, if created in God’s image, how can one claim to be better than any other? It cannot be possible to assume being superior, without this datum.
Although being the Messiah, Jesus never imposed His superiority over other humans. He submitted Himself to die, in the hands of sinners, more sinful than may be the case right now. Although misapplied, Christianity has brought a better civilization than was the case in the first century.
There is still some danger, faced by humans, with the threat of nuclear weapons. But there is a possibility of advancing communication, through information technology. Humans have what is necessary to keep humans in better relational conditions.
An average citizen planned for his future and the future of His children, in Zimbabwe. Some of those citizens even planned for their deaths. They had desired to develop decent dwelling places and even maintained their rural homes, in anticipation of their retirement.
They took responsibility for caring for their elderly parents who sacrificed, sending them to school. When independence came in 1980, an average Zimbabwean could adequately cater for his personal needs. He could not plan for broader development, in his environment, but an average citizen could, certainly, cater for his own survival needs.
The purpose of governance is to ensure that disadvantaged people are also catered for. This spells the need to coordinate the infrastructure, facilitating access to employment opportunities. Independence meant that no person could be comfortable being dependent on somebody else.
The government that won elections in 1980 had, as its manifesto, Free education, free medical, including infrastructural developments. Ordinary citizens did not realize that by promising to provide free education and free medical, the government was promising to take away citizens’ independence.
Forty-one years later the same pattern exists, where people are promised freebies for survival. The current government promises employment to citizens, taking us back to 1980, where the average citizen would be assured of accessing employment.
Ordinary citizens comprised mine workers, farmworkers, industrial and domestic workers. The civil service also provided a big chunk of employment. The civil service included teachers, nurses, land development officers, council workers. Others were serving in the military, prisons and police force.
Interestingly, ordinary people in communal lands, also managed their recourses, to be able to sustain their existential provisions. This condition was found to be unacceptable, leading to the armed struggle. The fruit of the armed struggle was the 1980 independence.
We have to scrutinize what the 1980 independence entailed, for the ordinary citizen. Of course, the new government, at that time, can be credited with building Schools in rural areas. But, without independence, those schools could not be maintained. Ordinary people assumed that schools were the responsibility of the government, rather than their own.
The other parts of the country experienced toxic war, instead of enjoying the fruits of independence. They experienced worse things than had been the case, before independence. Within a short period of time, over twenty thousand ordinary citizens had been slaughtered.
There cannot be independence without responsibility. Those who thought what was happening in Gukurahundi-affected areas, had nothing to do with them, were mistaken. The tranquillizing freebies by a populist government, coined independence to mean dependence on government leaders.
This is the true story that brought us where we are today. The current government has embarked on reinstituting the infrastructure, as existed in 1980. They pursue the highlighting of the considered progressive economic performance to motivate supporters to sympathize with them.
However, the import of this article is that, by opening Zimbabwe for business, the government is taking us back to pre-1980 slavery. The economy, was booming, even with the war in place. But, Zimbabweans needed something better, characterized by what necessitated the armed struggle.
The war, triggered by the unjust system, made ordinary life unsustainable, for ordinary Zimbabweans. The horrendous effects of war, are too ghastly to narrate. The existence of good economic infrastructure, at the time, became meaningless to those having lost their loved ones during the war.
Given a chance to vote, ordinary Zimbabweans should be careful not to allow a reinstituting of a pre-1980 system. The economic performance should not be used as a measure to evaluate the legitimacy of ED’s government.
Human rights should be considered as a bulwark, when seeking to avoid what led us to where we are today, due to misgovernance. Those driving Lamborghini vehicles ought to be helped to appreciate that independence is not limited to self-enrichment.
Independence implies taking responsibility for what happens in the environment. It can only be a sick person who enjoys driving a Mercedes Benz on potholed roads, surrounded by hungry citizens. There is more to independence than cheering looters in a country that attained independence some forty-one years ago.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99