By Justice Shereni | My message is premised on the fact that our beloved country is in a mess from all angles, economically, politically, socially, spiritually, morally, you name it and on the assumption that as a people we are committed to urgently find a way of coming out of it. We have come up with so many blue prints of how we can extricate ourselves from these myriad of problems but we have not succeeded.
It is not debatable that over 90% of our problems are tied to our contested political social contract which is the elephant in our room. What it then means is that we should focus our attention on this elephant. As a people, we have been rendered powerless and insignificant by a few through state capture. All state institutions have been captured but I will dwell on the Police, the State Security Services, the Military, Correctional and Prison Service and the Judiciary. In a normal country, these are the institutions which keep citizens safe but in our country they do the opposite. They do not only fail to protect the people but are used to rape, torment and kill the citizens who try to hold the authorities to account.
In the absence of functioning institutes which can protect the people, what can the citizens do?
The answer is that, citizens stop relying on those institutions on matters in which the state is the perpetrator, like abductions, disappearances, rape, torture and beating of those in state custody.
If one of us is being arrested, we will demand those who are arresting them to properly identify themselves, if they can’t, we will not allow them to take one of us away. If there are no many people around to stop the abduction or disappearance, we will quickly organise ourselves in large numbers and demand the immediate release of our member or else they incarcerate all of us. They will release our member because they will realise that we are serious and after all, they do not have the capacity to contain all of us. I understand that this has already worked for Makomborero Haruzivishe when they tried to abduct him at night.
In order for us to reach this level of unit and organisation we need to stop being selfish. The mentality that what is happening next door does not concern me or it will not affect me has to stop. We need a total culture change. The fact of the matter is that if you allow the abductor to take away your neighbour while you watch, it will be a matter of time before they come back for you or one of your family members. The best way of stopping this from happening to you or your loved ones is to fight and stop it from happening to your neighbour. I guess to arrive at this stage of awareness and consciousness, our people need leadership direction and mass conscientisation.
I have stated that our national institutions have been captured by a few political elites. They will remain captured as long as we do not take a bold stance to free them. How do we free them? The answer again is in the masses’ numbers and unity of purpose. Together, if we show the people in those institutions that we will not accept and tolerate the partisan way in which they execute their duties, they will begin to be professional. The majority of people who are employed in these institutions are also secretly and silently yearning for a better Zimbabwe and they are ready to stand with a determined people fighting to break from the past.
People naturally find it easy to go with where power is centred. It explains why nine or ten Zanu PF provinces voted to kick out Emmerson Mnangagwa out of the party and to only vote him to take the leadership of the party two weeks later after the coup. Morgan Tsvangirayi was revered and had massive influence in the early 2000s because he had the power to mobilise the people for demonstrations and stay aways. In Malawi, the judges ended up upholding the constitution of that country and ordering a rerun of the presidential plebiscite because they realised that the masses were determined to make sure that democracy prevailed. In 2018, during the election presidential result appeal, the judges in Zimbabwe got away with passing a skewed judgement because they knew they would get away with it. They will do it again come 2023, unless the citizens say enough is enough. I agree with Simba Chikanza that instead of waiting for 2023, let us start now demanding our rights as citizens. We have lost too many people through state managed disappearances and abductions in the past and we can not continue like that. My appeal to our progressive political, church and civic society leaders is that, please mobilise and organise our people to demand the immediate release of Moreblessing Ali now or else they will have to incarcerate us all.