The Herald (Harare)

15 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Betraying Our Own Courage

opinion

Martin Luther King once said about stupidity: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity," and it is not overstretching to assert that in religion and politics stupidity is more of a virtue than a handicap, if of course we extend the meaning of stupidity to include gullibility and naivety.

Committing one's life for the realisation of a conviction is a positive step towards a revolution, and rhetoric is of course mere populism - so cheap that any fool with eloquence and a voice can pull it through. When preachers and politicians fool us we often comfort ourselves by calling them charismatic people, if only to massage our own egos.

What we see in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in periods running up to elections must never be confused with revolutionarism, and when one reads opinion pieces written by politicians in the run up to elections it becomes apparently clear elections are premised on cheap populism - itself an inseparable sibling of irrationality, gullibility, naivety and plain stupidity. It is naïve to believe that a difference can easily be made, precisely because there is probably more stupidity in the world than there is oxygen in the universe.

One can pick any of Senator Obert Gutu's opinion pieces to see the mind paradigm of a blinkered politician - so open minded to the point of having brains falling out of the skull. Gutu rants against anything ZANU-PF and vaingloriously believes that his hatred for his political opponents can be contagious. Equally, the man has this trailblazing fantasy that says his delusions of grandeur about his own political career and about the fortunes of the MDC-T are transformable into hard reality.

A revolution is about material transformation, and when we look at post -independent Zimbabwe we can note with pride the transformations of the first decade - achievements like the construction of schools, clinics, dams, building of roads and the expansion of our urbanisation drive. That of course was done by Gutu's political rivals in ZANU-PF and by definition such transformations must be silenced in run up to elections, unless those who proclaim them are against Gutu's idea of democracy.

We have to look back with shame when we take stock of the second decade after our independence; especially the amorous embracing of the IMF-prescribed ESAP in 1990 - followed by life-wrecking policies that were pushed down our throats by a coterie of imperialist wretches masquerading as economic experts. There is no need to mention that our own politicians were willing accomplices in all this. The integrity of the University of Zimbabwe was ruthlessly destroyed as privatisation of the education sector devastated student welfare and the quality of education down to destitution levels.

The country's employment sector was shrunk by 50% overnight, and we were vociferously reminded by our own politicians that we needed to tighten our belts in preparation for a milk and honey dispensation that was to follow in the wake of Western investment into our economy. Our own intellectuals pacified us with complex economic lexicon that was only meant to serve as an anaesthetic that would facilitate the raping of our people by the old vampires from the West.

The greatest irony of the 90s is that the people that mobilised against ESAP and its ruinous effects were immediately hijacked and co-opted by the same Western forces behind the suffering they were protesting - the authentic authors of ESAP itself.

The ZCTU was a bedrock of activity as workers fought against the murderous effects of the IMF's ruinous program, and in 1999 the core leadership of the labour movement stepped to take up leadership in the newly formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), with Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda occupying the presidency and the vice presidency of the party respectively. But that marked the end of what many had thought to be a people's revolution, and the beginning of quisling politics in our country.

In typical naivety, Tsvangirai and his colleagues teamed up with Rhodesians and Western imperialists all in exchange for treacherous funding, and the MDC abused its newly found popularity to shoot down a draft constitution that would have provided for the redistribution of land for the benefit of our people.

That draft contained most of what the MDC formations are crying out for today, including presidential term limits and the so-called media reforms and so on. It was purely for the logic of blocking compulsory acquisition of white-owned farms that the MDC decided to embark on a NO vote on behalf of 4 000 white commercial farmers.

Popularity if not handled responsibly can disastrously pave way for the prevailing of utter irrationality, and that is precisely what caused the NO vote win in 2000.In fact this is precisely why mediocrity has managed to dominate parliament and government, thanks to the MDC-T trademark of elevating halfwits to levels of nobility.

In politics and in religion followers can resolutely defend their naivety and gullibility to the point of declaring war, even killing for it, and this is why opposition politicians and celebrity preachers get away with what would normally pass for perfect foolishness. They can bank on the gullibility of their followers for protection.

In religion there are a few visionary people who see God through great achievements like owning huge businesses, and many who are so poor that God has to appear to them through a loaf of bread, and of course there is yet a group of people so naïve that God has to appear to them through a prophetic word telling them the number of their mobile phone or even their own names, and merely for that they will believe there is a God in Heaven. These too will almost kill to defend their naivety.

Logically speaking there is nothing miraculous about hearing your own name or being told what your mobile number is, especially if that happens to be the beginning and end of the miracle. It does not matter who does the telling; it is still your name and your number - nothing else.

However you risk being reminded of how unpalatable the wrath of God is if you dare question the logic behind the mushrooming of these prophets of naivety - precisely because the show prophets are immensely popular with the multitudes that are mesmerised by the powers. This writer has been told that the mobile phone number prophets are actually "the apple of God's eye," and that touching these fellows is quite lethal. Of course we are expected to be very afraid.

Sometimes you go to a political rally and you get this feeling that stupidity is not a handicap in politics; that it is actually a virtue. When a busted womanising Morgan Tsvangirai chooses a political rally to shamelessly defend his philandering ways as normal practice - and actually gets applauses for his utterances, then you are convinced that it is naïve to expect the prevailing of sense in politics.

The third decade after our independence began with an impressive material transformation of the lives of our indigenous people through the revolutionary reclamation of our colonially stolen farmlands. No longer does the agrarian wealth of our country belong to a white minority, just like power is no longer a monopoly of a minority after political independence. We have transferred the agrarian wealth of our country into the hands of a majority that decided to speak its mind and to reclaim its heritage - in total disregard to outrage from Western countries.

The way land reclamation took place was certainly not too pleasant for others, and that is understandable. We needed to indulge in radicalism to transform the mentality of the colonially privileged - and that was an important aspect of our revolution.

Today South Africa is ready for a radical revolution that will transform the apartheid mentality of white minorities in that country. No amount of legal reforms or negotiation can ever transform the thinking of these people, and South Africans need to do them a favour by doing exactly as Zimbabweans did - forcefully reclaiming what belongs to the indigenous people.

The greatest challenge we have in our revolution is the betrayal of our own courage. We have a crippling neo-colonial spirit that makes us addicts to certain colonial habits. We were colonised by the British and that left us with certain inhibiting habits so entrenched in our lives.

We have a tragedy where for most of our people success is defined by the standard of the former coloniser - and we have people who view governance from a mimicking point of view, poignantly convinced that democracy is a Western idea that can only be copied from white people.

We have to wedge a struggle against our own people who are uncompromising custodians of white hegemony - against our own intellectuals who occupy the preponderant place in shaping public opinion.

In Zimbabwe these are the people that have smuggled homosexuality rights in the current draft constitution, the people who are fighting against the economic empowerment policies of the country and advancing preposterous Western philosophies about job creation. Numerically the elite that torments us with colonial tendencies means next to nothing, but the group is powerful enough to scream to all of our ears, to poison our minds and to defame our true revolutionaries.

The decade beginning 2000 taught Zimbabweans a very comprehensive lesson about imperialism, especially the year 2008. Zimbabweans know in full now that imperialism is a monster with claws, horns and fangs. It is a merciless creature with deadly venom. It kills and it destroys with lethal precision.

This monster brought down our economy, massacred our poor masses through murderous economic sanctions from the imperial West, and ZANU-PF politicians vainly tried to talk away the scourge by highlighting the evil behind sanctions. But speeches, however eloquent; do not make imperialism tremble.

Imperialism is not humane and has no conscience whatsoever. It has no heart and it has no soul, and that is why sanctions will only be removed by economic force and not by pleading and negotiation. It is absolutely naïve to plead or negotiate with a heartless monster.

We must render the Western sanctions useless by simply substituting Western capital with local capital and capital from other sources like China and India.

We must make success of our mining industry without capitalisation from the West, and we must determine to shrug off the inertia that comes with the legacy of colonialism - the amnesia that has crippled us to the point that we do not believe in ourselves any more than we believe in foreign people in faraway Western countries. We must seize ourselves with the burden to destroy the culture of aid and dependency.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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