In search of decent, upright, mature and responsible citizens

MUTSA MURENJE

I am not so sure why Noël Alumit reached the conclusion that “Becoming a writer is a very brave thing to do”. Somehow, I am tempted to think that he might have assumed a priori and realised the hazardous circumstances in which most writers found themselves in. This is not to suggest that all writers operate in environments that require them to wear hazmat suits. Far from it. There are those who have become integral to the survival of brutal regimes and while those opposed to the establishment are having it rough, the former enjoy a limousine, opulent and sybaritic lifestyle and in most cases, live in considerable comfort to the detriment of the populace. These sort of writers are found all over the world and we have them in Zimbabwe too. These have forgotten or have chosen to ignore Jeanette Winterson’s advice that “Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job”. We are constantly in search of decent, upright, mature, and responsible citizens.

It is a public secret that the world is littered with dotards who are in charge of their various countries. Our own dotard, President Robert Mugabe, stood up to the United States dotard, President Donald Trump, a few weeks ago when he reminded him of how much the world needed peace and security instead of threatening the extinction of sovereign nations. The diplomatic and political tiff between the United States and the rogue state of North Korea is understandable. We have all seen how belligerent the North Korean regime is and to an extent the regime does so in a manner that appears to be really suicidal as Trump rightly deduced. But, despite the patently suicidal manner in which Kim Jong Un does it, the world leaders need to respond in a manner that doesn’t worsen the situation. Being an African, I happen to have witnessed enough suffering in my own continent and I wouldn’t want a situation that will worsen the condition of people who have nothing to do with the hostilities. It must be quite a challenge to be a tweeting president. The extensive use of twitter is one thing but belittling other nation-states is another and the consequences might be unbearable.

The North Korean regime believes the United States has declared war against it and that an irreversible mistake has been made which calls for an inevitable war. This doesn’t help anybody. Our focus should be on the situation of the Palestinians who remain stateless, the Rohingya muslims who are being persecuted in Myanmar and the oppressed people of Western Sahara who remain under foreign occupation. Although I hardly agree with Mugabe on a number of issues, I do when he addresses these issues afflicting the Palestinians and the people of Western Sahara. However, I wish he could facilitate a return to the rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights, good governance and democracy in Zimbabwe. Charity begins at home and we can only be worried about what happens outside our borders when domestic issues have been adequately taken care of. Although some have accused him of liking publicity, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demonstrated the kind of leadership that we want for ourselves. His speech at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly focused largely on the human rights abuses suffered by the Aboriginals. We expect Mugabe to be talking about how he has authored our sufferings and how he hopes to change our situation.

On a serious note, Mugabe has grown really tired and must now rest. By this I don’t mean that he ought to die, I mean rest as in rest. God alone decides how long a person must live and we bear witness to the fact Mugabe has been blessed with long life. However, this has come at a cost to millions of Zimbabweans at home and abroad. There are some Zimbabweans who still believe that the Mugabe regime can change their situation. I am not that optimistic especially considering the so-called cabinet reshuffle that was effected on 9 October. The said changes do not by themselves change or improve our situation. The same people are appointed by an individual whose legitimacy continues to be challenged by Zimbabwean citizens. There is therefore nothing to expect from the regime. If anything, it’s the worsening of our situation that we should expect.

I have noted that we have a newly-created ministry responsible for cybersecurity, threat detection and mitigation under the former minister of finance Patrick Chinamasa. I don’t claim to be more knowledgeable on issues of state security but I sincerely thought that we had a ministry responsible for such issues unless otherwise the newly-created ministry has a nefarious agenda that seeks to undermine our freedoms. We have a bloated cabinet and a bloated parliament. Why do we keep creating unnecessary positions?

I am not his fan because of his crocodilian characteristics, but I bet my last cent that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa never thought that he would go through the same experience that former VP Joice Mujuru went through. Unfortunately for him, he has already been poisoned. Whether or not it’s food poisoning is immaterial.

The fact remains that he was poisoned. But who cares? First Lady Grace Mugabe is our de facto president. She challenges ZANU PF officials like she is talking to her own children (it has been suggested that she has difficulties disciplining her own children!). She must remember though that Zimbabwe isn’t a Mugabe Pvt Ltd. This is our country too and our say in the manner in which the country is governed must be listened to.

I don’t think though that Jonathan Moyo deserves the attention we are giving him. We are creating mountains out of his molehills. Remember that he is singing for his supper after betraying the opposition. However, I am a bit worried about the recurrent disintegration of opposition parties. Is it really difficult for us to unite on such principles as unity and the common good?

The recent differences in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change and the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party are unnecessary and costly to our struggle against tyranny.

We need to find a common ground to fight from and come up with a common national vision that unites all of us. In the final analysis, “I understand that people make mistakes, but a real man, a mensch, shoulders his responsibilities and faces people and at least explains” (Francesca Segal, The Innocents, 2012). May God help Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!