30 July 2016
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By Melisa Jukwa | Overcoming a dictator requires a deep understanding of the role individuals play in keeping a dictator in power. I start off with this key bible verse, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety,” (Proverbs 29:25).
The starting point is by expunging a foreign virus called “fear”. That nuisance is the cause of all the problems on planet earth today. Fear is foreign to humanity and stranger to the human body since it came via demons. Human beings were  born with faith, courage and victory embedded inside their spirits and minds, power to crush everything and anything. Every human being is born to and have the power to conquer the whole world. History has many such examples. Remove fear from a person’s mind, and open riches, power, glory and relief to all mankind. Destroying fear on its own is removing a dictator’s stranglehold…
How do dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, Mugabe, and most recently Kim Jong-Un manage to stay in power? Dictators are cruel, selfish, greedy, and self serving. They amass a great deal of wealth for themselves, a few of their friends and their inner circle, while denying the general population basic human rights such as food, shelter and clothing. They use various tactics to maintain power:-
1. KLEPTOCRACY: Dictators create a system of government that is riddled with bureaucratic corruption. Public officials extend their personal wealth and power at the expense of the general public. In countries like Zimbabwe, the few ZANU PF elites who hold various public offices have looted public coffers and embezzled state funds in para-government organizations such as ZINARA, PSMAS, Air Zimbabwe and ZBC, just to mention a few. These individuals are above the law and despite blatant admission by the government itself of their misdeeds, they often go untouched. The likes of Cuthbert Ncube and ZINARA bosses often have the support of officials at the highest level of government, given that the looted funds are shared between members of the inner circle.
2. PROPAGANDA: Dictators are cunning charismatic leaders, who use their manipulative skills, to convince people to believe their self-serving agendas. They censor the flow of information and peddle various lies. In addition, they manufacture a third force from outside, that appears to be a threat to the wellbeing of the citizens, so that they appear as the people’s saviours. Hitler vilified the Jews and blamed them for Germany’s problems, as a way of justifying the Holocausts. Mugabe, especially through ZBC and Herald, blames the West for Zimbabwe’s economic problems and sells the idea that travel-ban (aka economic sanctions) as a justification for the government’s indifference to Zimbabwe’s economic bankruptcy. Journalists from independent newspapers such as ZimEye, Dailynews, and Nehanda, have often been met with hostility, while those that promote Mugabe’s agenda, such as Super Mandiwanzira, have been accelerated to high positions of power.
3. POLITICS OF FEAR: Dictators preach the gospel of fear. Even the language they use is fear based: …we know you, …we will come after you, …we have your names, …the full hand of the law will descend on you, …you are a sell out, …you want to destabilize the country, …your treasonous acts will not be tolerated, …you are an agent of the West, …we will deal with you. Such threats are good enough to send shivers down the spine of an ordinary, peace loving citizen since they are often followed by a few abductions, beatings, disappearances, staged accidents, and prosecutions, just to send a message to potential offenders. Dictators are not afraid to turn against their own inner circle, if they feel challenged. Kim Jong-un, executed General Pyon in January 2015 for failing to follow orders. General Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo), was vocal and fearless when it came to challenging a dictator, consequently he died on the 15th August, 2011, in an inferno at a farm he previously invaded from a white farmer. Not long after that, his wife Joice Mujuru was fired, together with many other cronies. Donald Trump’s infamous “You are fired!,” has become a catch-phrase for Mugabe in his entire political lifetime.
4. DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Dictators use ethnic division, internal squabbles, and external fighting between opposition parties to stay in power. Mugabe, right from the beginning, created a division between the Shonas and Ndebeles that is difficult to mend up to today. The Ndebeles do not trust the Shonas, after the untold atrocities by the Fifth Brigade which was sanctioned by Mugabe and Mnangagwa. The internal squabbles in ZANU PF first associated with Mujuru and Mnangagwa, then between Mnangagwa and the G40, were all directly sanctioned by Mugabe himself. Only Mugabe benefits from playing the ethnic and faction card because he emerges as a unifier. This was recently seen by his utterances following Mandi Chimene’s blatant talk against the high ranking official Mnangagwa. In the past, the brutal CIO has even planted spies to destabilize opposition parties.
5. VIOLENCE, FORCE, COERCION, AND INTIMIDATION: Dictators thrive in chaos while tightening their grip on power. Elections are rigged and they maintain a huge army, police, secret service, and the biased justice system to force, coerce, and intimidate citizens into blind submission. Beside the police and justice system, Mugabe has also used the ruthless CIO, green-bombers, and in the past, war veterans, to unleash horror and untold suffering to citizens who dare cross his path. Some like Justina Mukoko were dealt a huge blow through the justice system. While others like Itai Dzamara and several MDC supports, met their fate because they dared to stand for justice and equality.
Yet the greatest irony of dictatorship is that THEY ARE KEPT IN POWER BY THE VERY PEOPLE THEY OPPRESS!!! Mugabe keeps saying as long as people want me, I will stay! He is right. Dictators will never give up power unless they are forced to give it up. They will remain in power until they die, are pushed out decisively, or by violent opposition. The truth is most people in ZANU PF, the army, and the police are no longer happy with Mugabe’s hold on power. Ironically, no one is brave enough to come out and say so. The likes of Mnangagwa, would rather suffer embarrassment after embarrassment than jump from a sinking ship to be on the right side of history. Chiwenga and Chihuru would rather withdraw and bury their heads in the sand than to come out and tell a dictator to go. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR. The opposition parties are too disjointed and busy riddled with internal squabbles for power, to even become a formidable power against a dictator. DIVISION, DIVISION, DIVISION. Powerful individuals like Sten Wadzora and Evan Mawarire have aroused a passion in an otherwise docile population. Unfortunately not all citizens are willing to engage in the struggle. DISENGAGED, DISENGAGED, DISENGAGED. For the most part, the majority of Zimbabwean citizens are willing to be pushed to attend rallies that they don’t want, while being threatened to stay away from rallies that they really want to attend. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR.
For those of you who look towards a dictator for empathy and suppport, I have bad news for you. Psychologically, dictators exhibit various traits of personality disorders, that include sadistic paranoia, antisocial behaviour, narcisss, schizotypal and psychosis. You’ll find no luck there.
There comes a defining moment in life when one has to make a crucial and critical decision. When one realizes that the personal is political, you say to yourself enough is enough, “everything I want is on the other side of fear” (by Jack Canfield) and “I want it more than I am afraid to get it” (by Bill Cosby).
Overcoming a dictator requires a deep understanding of the role individuals play in keeping a dictator in power. I leave you with this bible verse, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety,” (Proverbs 29:25).
By: Melisa Jukwa
Melisa, an avid writer, pens her notes from her Harare CBD Mapondera Building location.