Freedom is unattainable without responsibility; just as responsibility is unattainable without freedom. Tomorrow Zimbabwe celebrates its thirty sixth year of independence. But, to many, nothing is there to show the advantages of attainment of that independence.
Unfortunately, today there are many who take comfort in placing the blame squarely on the powers that be. Yet the powers that be are a reflection of the ineptitude of those taking comfort in blaming the powers that be. I refuse to accept that Zimbabwe belongs to the black people only. Even the most racist of our black people cannot deny the legacy of the developmental programs, left by the white community, as showing honour due to the responsible behaviour of those white people.
The granting of independence was meant for every Zimbabwean citizen, without regard for skin colour, religious affiliation or class. It is unfortunate that we have those seemingly sulking in despair, in the comfort of their residence in other countries, when looking at the ruinous state that prevails in Zimbabwe today. Others go so far as even granting credit to the racist and oppressive governing system of Ian Smith, with the policies that had elevated the value of physical properties, ahead of the value of black Zimbabweans.
Let us first ask the question: Were the white people free in Zimbabwe, before 1980 or not? Those whose answer is in the affirmative may still be languishing and will probably die in lack of freedom. However, those whose answers are in the negative, should find this essay to be progressive and worth taking advantage of its recommendations.
It may appear as impossible to escape the barrage of criticism from the white farming community whose land was forcibly taken, and handed over to the inexperienced black farmers, for political expediency. However, the only helmet at my disposal, to protect my vulnerable head from such criticisms is in my definition of freedom, which is unattainable without responsibility just as responsibility is unattainable without freedom.
We have to first answer the question, as to whether the definition of independence in 1980, covered black people only, or whether it encompassed everyone, regardless of skin colour, religious affiliation or class. If that is so, those born in Rhodesia, prior to 1980, whether white or black, should be viewed as more responsible for what prevails in Zimbabwe today. ZANU PF is not singularly to blame. The born frees may also need to be exonerated, as they only became a product of the apparent irresponsibility on the part of those adult parents who witnessed the birth of the Zimbabwean independence.
When bestowed upon each individual, the definition of responsibility implies that those concerned are responsible for what prevails today. Only the irresponsible ones would be keen to blame other people than themselves. My prayer is that such people are in the minority, as they comprise the valueless lot, among the Zimbabwean population. Today, Zimbabwe cries for the responsible majority, not the irresponsible ones.
While we may have cowards in our midst, supposing the ZANU PF government is an insurmountable hegemony, ensconcing the outcomes of General Elections since 1980. The 2008 Election outcome shows that ZANU PF is not intractable, after all. If ZANU PF displays tough resistance, Rhodesia Front was even tougher. Bearing in mind that In Zimbabwe there has not been an omission on General Elections in due epochs, since 1980.
While many have been crying foul, all along, due to possible rigging machinery, the tenet of responsibility refuses to budge, pointing to the flaws associated with lack of responsibility. When taken seriously, responsibility implies putting things in order, regardless of some measure of resistance. It is a question of whether we have responsible people in Zimbabwe or not.
I cannot resist admiring the tenacity of Econet Wireless Company, as it went through what appeared as the most strenuous resistance before eventually attaining the licence to operate a cellular phone company in Zimbabwe, in the nineties. This may have been one single most fitting example of the fruit of responsibility. The question remains to be: Why should Strive Masiiwa be the only exception when regarding ZANU PF governance as the most insurmountable machinery, when involving legal matters?
Of course, most Investors may find the legal battles of Econet Wireless not worth the trouble, considering that the alternative investment opportunities exist elsewhere. But that portrays lack of freedom, among those harbouring such kind of mentality. This is because freedom empowers one with the responsibility to correct what would be not right in the environment concerned. The responsible people correct, instead of running away from the problem.
Let us now come back to the white farming community who lost their farms on political reasons in recent years. This may be viewed as the most fitting basis for reducing the country into unprecedented poverty. The immediate question to ask is: Why were those farms lost in recent years? I strongly argue: Had the white farmers accepted their share of responsibility as way back as 1980, it is doubtful that they would have still been classified ethnically after more than twenty years of attainment of Zimbabwean independence. Thanks to the apparent lack of responsibility on the part of the white farming community: In year 2000, ZANU PF took advantage of the ethnicity of the white community, thereby leading the country to the current shambles.
Possibly the white farming community had celebrated when ZANU PF allowed them to continue with the obvious advantage of unequal proportions of land distribution; even after the war that sought to address such inequities? Possibly, those whites sought to conveniently befriend themselves to ZANU PF, at that time, and even supported the government’s endeavours to exterminate PF ZAPU supporters, during the so-called dissident menace? Most whites viewed such irregularities unproblematic, as long as their business interests were not disturbed? Certainly, this could not have been the case, had the issue of responsibility been taken for what it meant, even at that time.
I will leave the rest for a History text book. What currently occupies the mind of the author is the need to rebuild Zimbabwe. The plea is directed at the former Rhodies and the current Zimbos in the Diaspora; for them to come back for the rebuilding of our country. I do appreciate that the benefits may be too comfortable for most of them to relinquish. But Zimbabwe needs people who take responsibility seriously. The value of an individual is sustained by what one gives to benefit other people. The adage; ‘Charity begins at home’ needs to be considered seriously for those currently viewed as asserts in foreign lands.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.