By Wilbert Mukori | Ever since Zimbabwe gained her independence in 1980, 40 years ago, the nation has been on a quest for freedom, justice, peace and economic prosperity for all – “Gutsva ruzhinji!” as Robert Mugabe never seemed to tire of saying throughout the 1980s! When the country attained her independence, many Zimbabweans never doubted for a moment that all these things were not just within their reach, they were right in the hands, already.
The people’s first rude awakening was the elections leading to independence on 18 April 1980. While the whole nation had grown to hold the black nationalist clarion call of “One man, one vote!” as sacrosanct, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF freedom fighters made it clear that if the party did not win the plebiscite the civil war would continue. And so the people had no choice but to vote to end the war.
Zanu PF won the 1980 elections and went to work to systematically erode the people’s freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful vote and even the right to life.
Some people had argued that Zanu PF’s threat to continue the civil war if the party lost the 1980 elections was just an empty electioneering mantra, the party would have never restarted the war if it had lost the elections. The doubters were silenced by the Zanu PF instigated 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre. The primary purpose of the massacre was to force PF Zapu, Zanu PF’s main political opponent, to sign the Unity Accord, uniting the two parties creating the de facto one-party dictatorship that has ruled the country to this day.
And so the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans’ life has been a great disappointment as they have sunk deeper and deeper into economic poverty and denied their freedoms, rights and human dignity. Their pre-independence hopes and dreams for freedom, justice, a fair share of the nation’s wealth and riches are either a long forgotten memory or a mirage, they can see it but forever out of reach.
Zanu PF, the country’s ruling elite, have an explanation why Zimbabweans are poor.
“To this day, our quest to the unhindered right to access and utilise our natural resources continues being hampered. In the case of Zimbabwe, sanctions constrain the realisation of our full socioeconomic potential,” Emmerson Mnangagwa told his audience at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Museum of African Liberation in Warren Park, Harare.
“In the case of other countries on our continent, detractors continue to fund and fuel divisions so that while we fight, the pilferage and looting of our resources goes unchecked. Learning from our history and past, the time has come for us to deliberately and more consciously defend our interests as the people of Africa.”
After 40 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption the people know that these are the real causes of the country’s economic meltdown. They can see the sprawling Blue Roof palatial mansion valued at US$ 2 to 4 billion, the epitome of Zanu PF ruling elite lavish lifestyles. After building his C & M mansion, VP Chiwenga bought a fleet of posh cars, bought 45 gold watches, etc., etc.
The ruling elite’s insatiable greed for money and luxuries were all paid for the wealth looted from the nation. Key national institutions like hospitals have been starved of funds; so starved that even referral Hospitals like Parerenyatwa, Mpilo, etc. have regularly run out of even the most basic drugs like painkillers were starved of funds.
Sanctions! Yeah right! How come sanctions stopped government buying painkillers for hospitals but did not stop Mugabe build the US$2 billion Blue Roof, Zimbabwe’s Parthenon temple to corruption and greed.
It was the noble prize physicist Albert Einstein who said “Insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result!”
The people of Zimbabwe do not believe the West are holding back the country’s development much less that Zanu PF has solutions to mitigate the sanctions, contrary to the repeated claims saying otherwise. The people know these are all hen’s teeth tales.
After 40 years of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF misrule and being dragged deeper and deeper into this hell-on-earth; the people are not expecting the regime to be competent and just and to deliver economic prosperity. They are not insane!
“So, why have the people of Zimbabwe done nothing to end the Zanu PF dictatorship and end their oppression and economic suffering?” you might well ask.
The answer is the people have indeed risked life and limb in electing Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friend into power these last 20 years on the understanding they would implement the democratic reforms the nation was dying for.
MDC leaders have had many golden opportunities to implement the reforms, notably during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. Sadly, the MDC leaders have proven to be corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent.
Mugabe bribed Tsvangirai and company with the trappings of high office and the MDC leaders, just as the Zanu PF cronies had done in 1980, betrayed the people’s trust and commonwealth interests.
The people of Zimbabwe trusted Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies, they viewed them as national liberation heroes and heroines only to be knock down as the liberators turned into the corrupt and ruthless tyrants. They people turned to MDC believing they would deliver the democratic changes the nation was dying for, only to be betrayed again.
The people of Zimbabwe have been knocked down again and again and after each fall it is very hard to get up again! Before they get up again the people are desperate for some assurance their hopes and dreams of freedom, justice, peace and economic prosperity will finally be honoured and fulfilled. It is not too much to ask!
Mnangagwa, just like Mugabe before him is blaming the sanctions for the nation’s problems only because he is the one rigging the elections and responsibility for the looting and will never blame himself. Zimbabwe is a pariah state and it is only the dictator’s voice that is heard but that is set to change.
Zimbabwe’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections is the root cause of the country’s economic and political problems. MDC failed to implement the reforms; there are competent men and women who will do it. – SOURCE: zimbabwelight.blogspot.com