For the last 34 years we have waited for a better and more responsible political leadership that pursues our national objectives to the benefit of all Zimbabweans without destroying value and marginalising citizens who happen to differ with them. Mugabe has failed to unite Zimbabweans under a compelling grand vision. It has been estimated that he has possibly destroyed an estimated USD96Billion worth of value since 2000 through his acts of commission and omission. Add humanitarian suffering to this and the cost in unimaginable. Slogans and racist rhetoric have dominated his language and the country has nothing to show for it. It’s a fantastic failure of a country with so much potential.
For the last 15 years we have also been waiting for change from the MDC-T. We have dreamed of a better Zimbabwe; a society characterized by freedom, equality, fairness and justice; the very things that our “liberators” failed to deliver to us. To this day, we must still be attending conferences about change.
We have been asked to wait until 2018, another five years as unemployment and poverty increase with most of our people reduced to traders on the pavement of Harare in order to survive. We have seen how our leaders and their cronies continue to live as if in another country, where those in the top echelons of our public institutions pay themselves better that those in America. Excuses of no delivery dominate our language. That’s unacceptable.
All this has happened despite the GNU and national elections that were meant to bring change. Clearly Tsvangirai failed to ensure that reforms are put in place as he enjoyed the false comforts of office, while Mugabe prevaricated to our detriment. They have both let us down.
I am highly annoyed when I hear praise singers now claiming that God has ordained Tsvangirai to lead us into democracy, despite his obvious shortcomings which pose a significant threat to the Zimbabwe we want to create. This has been said before with regard to Mugabe. If God be for us he must now surely hear our cries.
I am no longer convinced that those that are in politics in Zimbabwe are the best brains we have to take our country forward. Mass popularity does not necessarily deliver good leadership. We will ever learn?
Zimbabwe needs to open a new political chapter. A new era that learns from the past that politics based on personality cults and entitlement to leadership position will not deliver to the people.
We must fashion an era where the people come first and our leaders are subject to continuous renewal and challenge. Only then can we begin to move from the politics of entitlement and patronage to politics of accountability and delivery.
We, the new generation of leaders, are sick and tired of the old stories and old men who can hardly project their minds into the future which we want. We are tired of the abuse of position, the scourge of patronage and old struggle politics. We don’t want leaders who are unwilling to continuously learn and be challenged. We want to create a new system in Zimbabwe that rewards hard work and creativity and not blind loyalty and bootlicking. We want leaders who add value to the quality of life of all Zimbabweans and who are not a cost to our society and potential.
This requires that we all step up to the challenge. I do not think that we can still afford to sit by the side-lines and just comment or analyse what is wrong with Zimbabwe. We must now apply our education dividend to create a better and more prosperous society.
I therefore support Tendai Biti’s call for a new united front for democracy. However this front must no longer wait but must create urgency for fundamental change. It must indeed be inclusive and seek to reform our political landscape and achieve what the GNU failed to achieve. We must mobilise our own resources and be the change we want to see. Nobody must claim that they created it and are therefore entitled to lead it. That formula will not get us anywhere. All Zimbabweans must now step up and contribute to this movement. This is not time for cheap talk on social media , clever analysis or unnecessary divisions.
Let us for once be united for change. We have become so divided and so selfish it’s sickening. We have become so used to abuse and substandard lives and continue to feed it by our negative talk. It’s time for us to change our language and expectations.
I live you with a quote by Allan David Bloom that always reminds me where we are;
“The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside”.
That is where we have been as a country and we must now reject that and create an outside more profound, more inclusive and more vibrant than what ZANU (PF) or MDC-T can ever imagine.
The fact of the matter is that our country is failing as the economy worsens. Both our leaders have failed and must now go; that is the least that they can now do for us.
The people come first!
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org