By Fadzayi Mahere I am a politician but I am not writing this letter to you in that capacity.
I am writing to you as a young woman, as a citizen and as part of a generation to whom a debt is due. When we were little, we were told we were “born free” but for reasons caused by this government we go everywhere in chains. We are demanding our freedom because this great nation feels like prison. We were told that a war of liberation was fought on our behalf and that a world of opportunity had been opened. However, with each passing day, it is becoming evident that the oppressor only changed name, face and colour but his methods, laws and operations have remained exactly the same.
The social contract between the state and the people has been broken and replaced by threats of arrest, persecution and underhand punishment for those who dare challenge the torn fabric of a once promising dream. Why must a nation with all the ingredients for success be a graveyard for aspiration? Why must the rich fly in private jets while the poor get stuffed like sardines in rickety buses? Why must the many toil and sweat but starve so that the few can live like royalty?
Why is it a crime to want a better society?
Why is a crime to want funding for public health and schools? Why is it a crime to demand jobs or modern infrastructure? Why is it a crime to seek accountability for the money that we pay in taxes? Why is it a crime to protest against hunger? Why are the police who are meant to protect and secure the lives of citizens mimicking the behaviour of the Special Branch by breaking into the homes of journalists who speak out against corruption? Why do those who are innocent get treated like criminals yet criminals go Scot free?
Imagine if all the young people who are arrested on spurious charges of subversion were included in the economy and spending all those wasted court hours contributing towards the economy through innovation and productivity? Imagine if all the lawyers who waste time arguing bail applications for the pro-democracy activists that are continuously arrested on bogus charges spent their time working on mergers and acquisitions that would grow and develop the economy? Imagine if the property rights framework of the nation enabled more of that to happen? Imagine if people were so inspired by the national vision that they were not planning endless strikes and protests but they were knuckling down to work and they were rewarded in a meaningful currency for their hard work?
The people deserve better and more. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. There is a generation that is ready to pick up the broken pieces and re-write the contract that you repeatedly breach through violations of the Constitution and fundamental freedoms. People deserve hope. People deserve an ecosystem that allows them to work hard and reap the rewards of their hard work. People deserve to be free and secure in their homes. People deserve a government that they can trust. We will never stop believing in the beauty of this nation regardless of the madness. But the madness must stop.
When people unite and find their collective voice to fight injustice, a nation is reborn.
A citizen who wants a better society, Fadzayi Mahere