By Nelson Chamisa/Frank Matandirotya
THE on-going so-called “clean-up” exercise by the Zanu PF government is shameful. Thousands have been rendered homeless and thousands more have had their sour
ces of income destroyed by the so-called “Operation Murambatsvina”.
But to us in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) there is more at stake here, and questions have arisen which need answers from Zanu PF.
Why did the government allow Siyaso in Mbare to sprout over the past 25 years? Why did Zanu PF allow flea markets to sprout during the self-glorified Third Chimurenga? Why were those aligned to Zanu PF allowed to form housing cooperatives in and around Harare and why is it illegal now?
The answer is very simple: politics was at play.
Zanu PF wanted votes and power and since the year 2000 the people in all urban areas have continuously rejected the regime.
In short this is a retribution exercise, as we know that Zanu PF is a state, regime and government moulded into a seamless whole sustained by violence. Zanu PF has been reproducing and institutionalising violence since Independence in 1980.
Poverty and powerlessness are then born out of this, with political repression and material scarcity being the order of the day. Instead of the freedom and prosperity that are the legitimate goals of citizens globally, the Zanu PF order has not been able to find legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Zimbabwe whom it has reduced to subjects.
But this malformed political order is dying because new social forces, forged in a cauldron of violence and the unremitting serfdom and scarcity that are its legacy, are now pressing against the barricades. In short this suggests that the current regime of institutionalised despotism will collapse under the weight of violence and present inequities.
As social and economic conditions worsen in Zimbabwe, politics is no longer the instrument through which contending interests are conciliated in a structured framework. For Zanu PF politics is itself a struggle for control of power, which is then used to further and consolidate political ends. If holding on to power is its primary motive, why does the Zanu PF government persist in causing so much devastation to civilians?
Events during the past two weeks have illustrated the divide between those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the methods of gangsters; between those who honour the rights of man and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.
Political parties that fight terror as if the lives of their own people depend on it will earn the favourable judgement of history. Zanu PF knows these alternatives and has made its choice.
The Zanu PF government is a sponsor and servant of terror. When confronted the regime chooses defiance. The people of Zimbabwe are meeting hardships and challenges like every nation that has set out on the path of democracy.
The MDC promises lives of dignity and freedom and that is a world away from the squalid, vicious tyranny the people of Zimbabwe have known; because free people embrace hope over resentment and choose peace over violence.
Having helped liberate Zimbabwe, the MDC will honour its pledge to build a stable and peaceful country. Millions will see that freedom, equality and material progress are possible in our country.
The people of this country will face the clearest evidence that free institutions and an open society is the only path to long-term national success and dignity. For we know that there is a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable by Zanu PF for its selfish political ends.
But we must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. We know that Soviet Communism failed precisely because it did not respect its own people, their creativity, their genius and their rights.
The day of Zanu PF tyranny is passing. Freedom has a momentum that cannot be halted. Historians will note that in many countries the advance of markets and free enterprise helped to create a middle class that was confident enough to demand their rights.
In fact, the prosperity and social vitality of a people are directly determined by the extent of their liberty. Freedom honours and unleashes human creativity and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. The progress of liberty is a powerful trend.
Yet we also know that liberty if not defended can be lost. By definition the success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples and upon their willingness to sacrifice. Today our people live in captivity fear and silence. Yet the regime cannot hold back freedom forever.
Rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand with the oppressed until the day of freedom finally arrives.
We should strengthen the people’s faith in the power of civil society. We should seek truth and integrity for our fellow citizens to avoid the country’s disintegration. We should rescue this country from its current descent because we believe in the power of ordinary people.
Our dream is to help our country develop a relationship between the state and its citizens that is not based on fear. We are still at the beginning of the road. It’s a matter of having enough faith.
*Nelson Chamisa is the MDC national youth chairman and MP for Kuwadzana. Frank Matandirotya is the MDC district secretary for Chikomba.