By Washington Nyasha Gwarada
Last year in 2016 the largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted parliamentary by-elections citing the need for electoral reform as their primary motive; “No Reforms, No Election”, we heard them shout loudly. As a party with Democracy as its middle name, we took their word for it – it was a reasonable demand after all.
However, in 2017, the Mdc has expressed their keen interest as well as a premeditated intention to contest in the 2018 presidential elections – despite the fact that the electoral reforms they loudly demanded barely a year ago have not materialised, neither did the ruling party take them seriously. Enquires on the slogan, “No Reforms, No Election” are now being answered with yet another slogan, “2018 Save Chete Chete”.
Never mind that in 2008 the Mdc entered into a power sharing agreement with Zanu PF with electoral reform as their fundamental goal. The aftermath of the 2008 elections had taught every Zimbabwean of the importance of such reforms but alas, the Mdc managed to leave office without achieving this goal of fundamental importance – and nonetheless participated in the 2013 elections while developing a convenient collective dementia on the issue of electoral reform.
What was shocking in 2013 was not that they lost the Mdc lost elections, but that they themselves appeared to be surprised of such a blatant outcome.
But now, when Zimbabweans globally question why their nation remains stagnant economically, socially and politically, the best of us are left in utter amazement – how can a nation which has entrusted their future in the hands of leaders who lack basic cognitive abilities acquire the ability to grow?
Zimbabwe’s political leaders from both the government and the opposition are a special class of individuals without functioning brains – they keep doing the same thing, implementing the same policies and yet expecting different results. The ruling party continues ushering several economic blueprints with the same agenda under the same corrupt environment expecting change – well, in their case, pretending to expect change.
The Mdc, for fear of being outdone continues their trend of demanding reform, boycott and eventually participating in elections they confess to be rigged; in their case genuinely and yet foolishly expecting a different outcome. What comes to mind at this point is how a person of reasonable fortitude expects change from this group of people. Havana kukwana vanhu Ava!
However, what makes it worse is not the Mdc expected change from a failed system, nor indeed, is it the corrupt government officials ripping people off masquerading in loud sounding words like sovereignty, black empowerment and the liberation struggle revolutionary agenda; it is the deceived citizen in Harare right now who wears a Mdc campaign T shirt written, “2018 Save Chete Chete” much like a buffoon – honestly believing that voting for Mdc once more in 2018 will solve any of his problems.
Never mind that in the past he has devoted himself to their cause for 17 years; voting only for them when they request and boycotting from the whole electoral process when they demand. He has followed the Mdc for 17 years now and yet, in terms of real change, he has nothing to show for it. “Save Chete Chete” is usually the answer he gives to any voice of reason.
Indeed, what makes it worse is the wretched but ecstatic village illiterate who praises a millionaire minister for giving him bare land without title deeds or any evidence of ownership in exchange for his vote next year. Don’t mind that several years ago, his father, uncle or grandfather who fought in the liberation war were granted farms and yet they remain poor and wretched drinking musombodhiya on land that was once productive – only this time, they lie to themselves that they are independent and free.
They shout slogans of indigenisation in solidarity with those who seek treatment in foreign hospitals, whose families reside in thrifty foreign neighbourhoods and whose wealth is stashed away in foreign banks – these clueless dumbasses!
It never occurs to us, collectively, that change, real change, begins amongst ourselves. That freedom, to put it in the words of Dr Martin Luther King, is never freely given by the oppressor; it is taken. Instead of leaders thinking on our behalf, why not forge the mental ability to separate realistic policies from utter nonsense?
Is this not the time to be discussing other alternatives given that elections, in 17 years, have been an exercise in futility as far as the quest for freedom and change is concerned?
Is this not the era where collectively, as a nation, citizens seek social consciousness such that the nation, instead of searching for a political messiah, takes it upon itself to usher change in this exhausted country and to bring the progress that an entire generation has been deprived of?
- Washington Nyasha Gwarada is a political commentator and analyst from Zimbabwe