by Terrence Muvoti
AS a new chapter of our country’s political landscape is slowly unfolding; it is also a time for self-introspection.
There comes a time as a people where we need to be honest with ourselves, be responsible and accountable to our actions; both at leadership level and at citizenry level.
The coming in of a new leadership, new faces and fresh minds from councillors, Members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers and the Presidium getting a new mandate should also come with a different and new narrative to national affairs.
The issue of external forces, culpability or complicity in causing Zimbabwe’s woes evokes such intense emotionalism that it often clouds rational analysis of our problems as a country. It is imperative to strip the issue of its emotionalism and examine it rationally.
Our leadership has for long subscribed the causes of our crises to external factors at the expense of internal dynamics. In fact, almost every Zimbabwean malaise has allegedly been caused by the operation or conspiracy of extrinsic agents. Frankly, this externalist card has been so overplayed that it has lost its relevance and credence. This doctrine had totally absolved the leadership of any responsibility.
While it is true that Western imperialism and sanctions did harm to our country and continues to do so, Zimbabwe’s condition has been made immeasurably worse by such internal factors as misguided leadership, misgovernance, systemic corruption and capital flight, economic mismanagement, declining investment, collapsed infrastructure, decayed institutions, political tyranny and flagrant violations of human rights.
Albert Einstein once said: “The significant problems we face can only be solved at the level higher than we were, when we created them”. With the new team coming in, it is critical that Zimbabwe moves from being a “vampire State”, where the government is hijacked by a phalanx of unrepentant bandits and crooks, who use State machinery to enrich themselves, their cronies and tribesmen, while excluding everyone else (the politics of exclusion and “homeboyism”).
Political failure and economic crisis cannot entirely be blamed on Americans or anything outside ourselves. Leaders should not use these external factors as convenient alibis to conceal incompetence and mismanagement. Prop or no prop, leaders must be held accountable and the reform process must not be stalled through vexatious chicanery, strong-arm tactics, deception and vaunted acrobatics.
As a nation we have let ourselves down, but we can correct it. Sanctions were and are real. The wish for regime change was and is real. Nevertheless, the reality is that probably sanctions and regime change strategies account for only 20% of Zimbabwe’s political and economic failures.
If we are to progress as a society, we need to be honest with ourselves — we are a disorganised lot, corrupt, inefficient (at everything), not law-abiding citizens, the cities are filthy, bad governance and irresponsible. Only then can we start dealing with these issues head-on. Everything that we keep telling each other diverts the attention from reality.
We vaunt of being educated, but we still are not showing it on the ground. Our towns are congested not because we have many cars, but because we are disorganised. It makes no sense for a police officer to have to man a robot-controlled intersection because we can’t follow the rules that exist to protect us and others. It is uncivilised and not a reflection of an informed population. For progress’ sake, we are going to have to muster the ability to self-govern as citizens.
If we don’t understand that fact and if we don’t understand that our nation was virtually torn apart by our behaviour and attitudes — we don’t understand our nation. If we fail to face the real nation we live in; no story of some ancestor we never knew, no matter how brave, is worth that cost of being dishonest to ourselves and to coming generations.
The inevitable march of the social democratic movement needs to be nurtured and tolerated as an essential pre-requisite for social peace and human security in the 21st century.
Politics must be liberated from its present perception of warfare; society must be saved from its current divisions and the security of the State must cease to be privileged over other forms of security such as human security, social security and security from arbitrary power.
As a country, we desperately require a courageous and bold adjustment of the existing inflexible nationalist ideology of blame-game to the adoption of a new flexible people-driven, visionary and pragmatic ideology consistent with global developments, while at the same time not sacrificing local needs and demands of Zimbabweans.
It is none but ourselves who can liberate ourselves from this quagmire.
Terrence Muvoti writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @muvoti_terrence.