Everybody’s business is never done since no one person is everybody and we each expect everybody else and not us to carry out the task(s). Nowhere is this more true that in politics; everybody is expected to how the political leaders to account but in Zimbabwe very few people ever do this.
In the early 1990s the Zanu PF regime adopted the IMF and WB sponsored Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes (ESAP) which marked the end of the regime’s free spending, at least on the masses. The regime started to implement savage cuts in such areas as health and educations triggering the yearly student demonstrations of the time. It was during this time that I met a mother who had a son at UZ and objected strongly to these UZ student demos.
She accepted the two main points behind the student demos; one, that cutting education funding would reduce the quality of education and the make it inaccessible to the poorer families. Two, that the regime was cutting education funding and other soft-targets areas but doing nothing to end the waste is the bloated cabinet and army, for example. The crux of her objections to student demos was simple as well as it was selfish she did not wanted the demos disrupting her son’s studies.
“Peter will be the first University graduate in the family,” she argued with finality.
No one could deny that the demos were disrupting the students’ studies and, yes a number were always expelled for taking part in the demos. But, if the common good of a quality education for all was to be defended against a corrupt and indifferent regime that does not care, society must accept there would be risks and that someone has to stand up and be counted.
If our commitment to the common good is to be tampered with selfish consideration then this is everybody’s business that will never be done. If the truth be told, every year there is bound to be some students who will be “the first University graduates in the family”.
It was clear that Peter was “not interested in student politics” as he called it. He had at one of the few very high fee paying Colleges, which where the haunt of white students. The students played rugby and cricket and not football and Peter had toured Europe playing rugby in his last two senior years.
He spoke with a pronounced British accent; speaking through his nose than mouth hence the reason people like him were called the “Nose brigade!” He paid dearly for his complete lack of interest in what was going on at the University.
One day, wearing his trade mark NYC base-ball cap with earphone plugged in his ears, he blundered into the Riot Police. Instead of turning back and find another route he had ploughed on confident the Riot Police would see he was a cut above the other students. After all he was a Minister’s son!
The only thing the Riot Police noticed with great interest was that Peter was defenceless, those cowardly Riot Police are like the cowardly hyena whose attack instinct is roused the more defenceless the victim happen to be. The Riot Police were all over Peter like army ants attaching a scorpion.
Fearing for his life, Peter forgot his “nosing” and cried out for help in Shona with a distinctly “strong rural African accent”, according to the students who heard him and rescued him.
Sadly the student lost the battle to stop Zanu PF cutting education funding and compromised the quality of education. Today Zimbabwe produces 50 000 plus University graduates every year, Mugabe caps them all himself as he is the Chancellor of all Universities in the country, 20 or so. The quality is so poor some graduates have honours degrees but do not know what a verb is. No wonder Zanu PF Chefs have been sending their children to SA, UK, USA, Far East, etc. for their University studies, they know the degree awarded locally is not worth the paper it is written on.
The nation has paid its heaviest price for failing to stop the Zanu PF gravy train; 36 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption has taken its toll as today the economy lies in ruins, millions are out of work, basic services like health have all but collapsed, etc. To make matters worse, the country is facing a serious drought, unlike in the past, its silos are starting on empty.
The international community which has stepped in to help feed the nation, has its work cut out with the raging war in Syria, Yemen and other hotspots. Besides with stories of how Mugabe is pocketing $2 billion a years from all the looting and plunder going on in Marange and Chiadzwa; donors are loathed to help a country so rich and yet so wasteful.
Before donors will step in to help they want to see Zimbabweans to take the business of stopping Zanu PF corruption and waste with the seriousness and urgency the matter demands. Instead of expecting others to step on the plate and fight to end Zanu PF corruption, vote rigging, etc. Zimbabweans should be asking themselves what they can do help in the fight.
Individuals like Itai Dzamara did not wait for other to tell Mugabe he has failed and must go. He wrote the protest letter and delivered it to Mugabe. Only a handful of friends who stood by him but that did not deter them. Few people even bother to give him and his friend a word of encouragement even with their identity hidden in the ether of the internet.
On 9 March 2016, it will be a full year since Itai Dzamara was kidnapped by the Zanu PF regime to silence him. Itai was saying things that we should all have been saying but did not have the guts to speak. There will be many gatherings to remember Itai and what he stood for it is high time Zimbabweans from all walks of life stood, as Itai did, and demand an end to this criminal waste of human and material resource by this corrupt and tyrannical Mugabe regime.
Join the Dzamara commemoration to protest the regime’s failure to have drugs in our hospitals now when you still have the energy to do so because when you are sick and dying for lack of the medicine, it will be too late.
If by his death, Itai Dzamara has spurred Zimbabweans to realize that public affairs and good governance are everybody’s business and we constitute everybody and must make our contribution with all our heart, soul and sinew then his death would not have been in vain!