“Anoti ndodyeyi ndiye anevabereki vanomuda; asina anozvivonera!” goes a Shona proverb. (He who asks what is there to eat has caring parents; he with irresponsible parents has no such luxury!) Just as one can have irresponsible parents a nation can just as easily have irresponsible leaders; Zimbabweans have continued to ignore this fact with tragic consequences.
It is normal to look up to the State to provide a decent education, employment opportunities, decent housing, freedom and liberty and all the other necessities of life. But when the State is failing to provide a decent education, etc. because the leaders are irresponsible then it is up to the citizenry to ensure they have responsible leaders.
Before 2000, Zimbabwe had a thriving agricultural sector; we earned millions from the export of tobacco, flowers and food stuff. We grow enough food to feed the nation with plenty left over to be the breadbasket of the region. Since that year our agriculture has all but collapsed. Mugabe seized, often accompanied by gratuitous sadistic violence, the white owned farms to give the farms to his cronies, mainly, who have since failed to keep up agricultural productive.
Zimbabwe is the Garden of Eden and we are starving because the productive farms are in the hands of those who know not how to grow crops and raise animals but will not allow anyone else have the farms.
Unemployment has soared to the nauseating heights of 90% plus because for decades we have had mismanagement and corruption but these have been swept under the carpet allowing them to grow and spread to the killer cancer they are today. Even now with the economy facing serious economic meltdown the nation has been totally helpless able to address these teething problems because the political leadership would not address these problems.
To stay in power all these 36 years Mugabe has instituted a political patronage system designed to reward those loyal to the dictatorship regardless how corrupt and incompetent they happen to be. As the years have gone by, Zanu PF's popularity with the electorate has gone down the tube; to stay in power Zanu PF has needed its patronage system more and more, which is why the mismanagement and corruption has remained.
Since the nation could not force Mugabe and Zanu PF to give land to those best able to put it into productive use, to end the mismanagement and corruption, etc. the only option left to the nation was remove him in a free, fair and credible elections. Sadly that was not to be as Mugabe has rigged elections again and again.
Zimbabwe had its best chance ever of dismantling the Zanu PF dictatorship during the 2008 to 2013 GNU when Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had to do was implemented the democratic reforms agreed in GPA. They had five years to implement the reforms but failed to get even one reform implemented.
SADC leaders, who were the guarantor of the GPA, did their best to get MDC to implement the reforms but to no avail.
Since the rigged July 2013 MDC has promised to force Zanu PF to implement the reforms necessary for free and fair elections but over two years later nothing has changed. MDC failed to implement the reforms when they had the help of SADC it is naïve to expect them to do this now! If we are serious about ending the Zanu PF dictatorship then this is one task that we, the people, must undertake to see through ourselves and not trust the failed political leaders to do for us!
“My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,” called out President J F Kennedy in his inaugural address in January 1961.
He was rallying his fellow Americans to fight for the survival and success of liberty.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” as he put it.
“This much we pledge--and more!”
“My fellow Zimbabweans; ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,” one might say today paraphrasing President Kennedy's call.
The threat against our liberty and the nation's survival does not come from outside Zimbabwe but in home-grown. The corrupt and oppressive Zanu PF dictatorship has destroyed the nation's once promising economy; millions are out of work and millions now live in abject poverty. By stifling debate and democratic competition Mugabe has fostered on the nation a political system that is inherently incapable of producing competent and visionary leaders who can deliver the free, just and progressive Zimbabwe we want.
“We fellow Zimbabweans what you must do for your country today is simple; demand the implementation of all democratic reforms designed to end the corrupt and tyrannical one-party dictatorship. It is within our powers to ensure Zimbabwe's next elections are free, fair and credible; this is what this country needs to set it back on the path of freedom, justice, good governance and economic prosperity!
Whilst we can rightly blame Mugabe and Zanu PF for dragging us into this hell-hole of one-party state and rigged elections. We can also blame Tsvangirai and MDC for failing to implement the reforms necessary to end the dictatorship. We cannot however blame Zanu PF or MDC if the next are not free and fair; we have the mountain of evidence showing they are corrupt and incompetent it is folly to expect them to accomplish anything of substance. We the next elections are not free and fair, then we will have only ourselves to blame for it!
It is us the people who have allowed Mugabe and Zanu PF to get us into this mess by allowing him to become a corrupt and murderous dictator. It is therefore up to us to rein in his absolute powers by reassert the democratic right of every citizen to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country! The right to free, fair and credible elections is not a privilege to be given to some and denied to others; it is a birth right and the very foundation of good governance; this is a cause worth fighting for and, if necessary, well worth dying for.