My four year old nephew, nicknamed Bob (did not say it out loud because my sister would have been mad at me) got a battery operated toy car for Christmas. His baby brother got a toy car too but a much cheaper version. Bob was quick to notice that his baby brother was quite content playing with the empty toy box and so the little brother ended up with the two empty toy boxes whilst Bob had the two toy cars.
I nicknamed the four year old Bob because he reminded me of a certain Bob I know only the latter is the embodiment of evil hence the reason any parent would be mad to have their child compared to him.
When Zimbabwe attained her independence in 1980 everyone thought they would enjoy freedom, liberty, justice, human rights and human dignity the white colonialists had until then denied them. But before the ordinary people even got to open their independence day gift Robert Mugabe had stolen from their boxes the most valuable item of all – the right to free, fair and credible elections.
When the people of Zimbabwe went to cast their vote in 1980 few had any illusions this was about electing leaders they believed are best able to rule the nation. They knew this was about voting to end the civil war; Mugabe had it known that if Zanu PF did not win the party will not accept the results and the civil war would continue.
In 1980 Zimbabweans voted “to end the civil war”, said Professor Jonathan Moyo in his book Voting for Democracy. He was a man of the people then but ever since he became a minister he has served the dictator with all his heart and soul.
As soon as Mugabe got into power in 1980 he has worked tirelessly to undermine the independence and professionalism of state institutions like the Police and Judiciary to establish and retain his de facto one party dictatorship. The systematic denial of the people’s freedoms and basic rights, including the right to a meaningful democratic vote and even the right to life itself, has now been institutionalized. Mugabe has legalized his taken the pearls and everything of value out of our independence box, keeping them for himself and the ruling elite; whilst the rest of us have to be content with nothing.
35 years of absolute power have left Mugabe and his cronies filthy rich; Mugabe is getting as much as $2 billion a year from the looting and plunder in Marange alone. Meanwhile 35 years of misrule have destroyed the nation’s economy many companies have closed forcing unemployment to soar to nauseating heights of 90% plus. The majority of the people now live in abject poverty they cannot afford even one decent meal a day.
People can see that the Mugabe regime has failed them and in a healthy democratic country they would have been able to remove the regime and replace it with one more responsive to their needs and aspirations. Zimbabwe is not a democracy, Mugabe has ruthlessly imposed the no-regime-change mantra on the nation and the people have never had the free and democratic vote. Never ever!
We are stuck with Mugabe and his corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship. As long as he remains in power, as long as there is no-regime-change, there will be no end to our economic misery.
When the nation attained her independence in 1980 povo got the present but without the single most valuable thing, the right to a meaningful vote; Mugabe stole that away beforehand. In the years to follow Mugabe has stolen one thing after another from the people, so that today he has absolute political power and unfettered access to the nation’s assets and resources to loot and plunder as he please. Meanwhile the populous languish in poverty and despair but have no political muscle to stop the criminal waste.
For how many more years are Zimbabweans going to pretend the Zimbabwe Mugabe has delivered is the same they dreamt of and wanted?
Zimbabweans have yet to realize that it is not in the nature of tyrants to give up power. If the people want their freedom, liberty, justice and human rights independence bestowed on them then they must demand the restoration of their right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country. Without the free vote nothing can be done to end the misrule and criminal waste of the nation’s human and material resources.
It is one thing for a two year old boy to fail to distinguish the true value of a toy from that of the empty box; it is most disconcerting that a whole nation fails to see the critical importance of the right to a meaningful vote in securing one’s independence, humanity and even the right to life itself.