I HAVE come across a number of people who believe that the situation in Zimbabwe can only improve when Robert Mugabe is dead. But I constantly remind them that we do not have to wait for him to die first for us to be free. We can be free even in his presence.
My assertion is that I don’t wish him dead but I want him to retire peacefully and leave Zimbabwe’s politics! It is an undeniable fact that Mugabe has dismally failed in his tenure as president and it is highly unlikely that Mugabe will restore Zimbabwe to where she was 10 or so years ago. My only hope, therefore, lies in a new Zimbabwe, a new Zimbabwe in which Mugabe or anyone else do not hold us back.
If the truth be told I don’t hate Mugabe the person but his actions and policies. I was in Form 3 in 1999 when the MDC was formed but to be frank with you, I don’t remember being forced to attend their meetings or buying a membership card. I have attended their meetings and have bought my membership card out of my own volition. The same does not, however, apply to Mugabe’s party. I was forced to attend their meetings from the year 2000 up until 2004.
In January 2002 as we were nearing the presidential plebiscite the Zanu PF-sponsored youth militia was moving door-to-door asking us to produce a party membership card and also forcing us to chant that party’s slogan. My brother bought a card for my safety.
There were also roadblocks along major roadsÂ from Bindura to Harare as well as from Bindura to Mt Darwin. These were even found in other remote areas like Madziva and Shamva. We were not free and it was difficult for us to register our anger against this regime.
Ruthless oppression in our post-colonial struggle for Independence and democracy has produced great men and women of courage, of commitment to the people who want Mugabe to retire and allow them to have a government of their choice, a government that respects and fulfills the expectations and aspirations of its people. In the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “All that the downtrodden can do is go on hoping. After every disappointment, they must find fresh reason for hope.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in a hard labour camp just for making a casual criticism of Stalin in a letter to a friend!
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government” (Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the American Declaration of Independence).Â British Prime Minister William Ewart GladstoneÂ had this to say: “The proper function of a government is to make it easy for the people to do good and difficult for them to do evil”.Â