The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are upon us; we should all watch the games and enjoy the sporting spectacle but, most important of all, be inspired by the Olympic spirit!
When we see great athletes like Usain Bolt of Jamaica run 100m in less than 10 seconds or our own Zimbabwean flag carrier, Kirsty Coventry swim 200m backstroke in 2 minutes 5.24 seconds; we should rightly cheer and jump for joy at their great achievements.
Whilst it is true that a great athlete like Bolt has some inherent physical characteristic like being tall with long strides still there millions of other humans with comparable features who will never run 100m in anywhere near 10 seconds. As far as I know Kirsty does not have webbed feet like a duck to my plain chicken feet! So given the same opportunities there are many people out there who would have given Usain Bolt a run for his Olympic Gold if they had the one thing he, Kirsty and many other champions have – the Olympic spirit!
The four essences of the Olympic spirit are:
a) Self believe in one’s own ability to rise above the daily challenges of life.
b) Meticulous attention to detail
c) Practice makes perfect
d) Acceptance of the give and take of true competition; by competing with not just the best but with the crème de la crème one is pushed into giving their very best and the price is that one’s very best is not always the best of the competition and so one must accept defeat gracefully.
The Rio Olympic games are taking place at a time when Zimbabweans’ self-confidence in doing anything right is at an all-time low. The nation attain her independence 36 years ago and ever since the nation has followed a path of economic and political ruin. Zimbabwe used to grow enough food for the nation’s needs with plenty left over for export. We were the breadbasket of the region. Not anymore!
Ever since the chaotic and violent farm invasion and seizures of 2000 Zimbabwe has failed to produce enough for its own people let alone for export. We are starving in the Garden of Eden.
Zimbabwe has broken the world record in having the highest inflation rate at 500 billion per cent; the highest unemployment rate of 80% plus for over ten years (still counting); State President admits $15 billion, which more than the country’s $14 billion GDP, was looted and no one is arrested; etc.
It is little wonder that the nation is right now wallowing in abject poverty and self-doubt. God knows we need some inspiration, some Olympic spirit inspiration. The two things we need above all else are:
As a nation we have never really believed that we could govern ourselves; not with any real conviction founded on reason as contrast to one founded on fingers crossed hope.
“If you plant a mango tree, you have good reason to hope to one day enjoy mangoes,” my late father often said. “If you do not plant a tree you have no good reason to hope to enjoy mangoes!”
We never trusted Mugabe to deliver freedom, justice, peace and economic prosperity; we hoped that he would, which was another matter.
Similarly, we have never really trusted Tsvangirai to deliver democratic change and so when the July 2013 elections were rigged we were not shock because deep down we expected this to happen.
2) Meticulous attention to detail
A healthy and functional democracy demands an electorate that is diligent what is the point of being given electoral choice if one is incapable of drawing the distinction between the good, the bad and the ugly.
Tyrants like Mugabe have taken full advantage of naïve and gullible electorate blaming sanctions, for example, for his economic failures. If the people had been paying attention then they would have question why the sanctions should be a problem now and yet he know of their existence back in 2013 when he promised the 2.2 million new jobs.
3) Practise makes perfect
It is for the people to hold those in power to account and this is a full time occupation. We have never held our leaders to account for all the billions they have looted, the over 30 000 this regime has murdered in cold blood, etc.; we should start doing that right now.
4) We need to embrace the competitive spirit
We live in a country in which the competitive spirit has been killed under the pretext that it promotes disunity or worse. Mugabe used Gukurahundi to justify crashing PF Zapu and thus impose the de facto one-party state we have lived under ever since.
The Mugabe regime has failed to deliver freedom, peace, justice and economic prosperity but has managed to stay in power regardless because the people could not elect anyone else. The greatest threat to peace and stability was not democratic competition but Mugabe and Zanu PF who deployed the party thugs and state security personal to harass, beat, rape and even murder innocent people to stifle debate and competition.
Embracing democratic competition who have forced many political parties to emerge and by competing against each other they would have force each to excel and the nation at large would have benefited. We certainly would not be starving in the Garden of Eden.
It is up to us, the people, to make sure all the democratic reforms are implemented and Zimbabwe’s position as a functional and healthy democracy is fully restored and jealously guarded to all time. It is our duty to restore democratic competition and not for those continued reign is totally dependent on ensuring elections to high office remains a strictly one horse race.
Life is a race, just as the race in Olympic Games, with winners and losers; for the last 36 years Zimbabwe has been running a losing race and has paid dearly for it in lost treasure, human suffering and even human lives. We are not fighting for Olympic gold and the fame and fortune that go with it; we are fighting for something even more precious than that, the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Zimbabweans and the very stability of the nation! That is surely a price worth fighting for, worth being inspired for it.
So do not just watch the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, be inspired to excel and save Zimbabwe from the ruinous Zanu PF tyranny and dictatorship.