There is no doubt that Zimbabwe has gone through extremely difficult decades of mindless abuse caused by bad governance, corruption, ineptitude and downright inability to govern.
The mediocrity of Zimbabwean politicians, in and outside of government, has been on public display for decades.
Soon after independence, it did not take long for the ruling party, which liberated the country from colonial rule, to realise the chasm that exists between liberating a country and governing it.
Year after year, the economy was eroded without attending to the shortcomings that were being exposed as a result of corruption, ineptitude, greed and the diversion of state machinery to run the ruling party’s daily operations.
Slowly, the economy bled with no one attending to the wounds.
Laws were ignored or amended at a whim to accommodate dubious behaviors.
What was inherited from the colonials was not maintained or attended to on the farms, in the hospitals, in the mines, education, commerce and in other sectors that had kept Rhodesia running even under sanctions.
As ignorance took over and failures mounted, there had to be found scapegoats. First, it was the immediate past colonial government. Then it was the colonial master, Britain, which is still being blamed to this day.
When no one paid much attention to the idiotic mutterings of a failing government, the scapegoating was localized and, suddenly, the people, the very masses liberated by the same party were blamed. They were accused of working with former colonial masters to sabotage the revolution.
Laws prohibiting criticizing the president were established. Before we knew it, people were being tried for treason.
People’s freedoms were whittled down to levels even lower than those that people experienced under colonial rule.
Lots of energy was spent in attempts to make the country a one-party state.
The rulers and the ruled noticed that they were not friends with each other but were from opposite ends of the spectrum. Matter of fact the rulers, Zanu-PF, turned on the people for refusing to rubber-stamp or support bad policies.
Suffice it to say, for nearly forty years, Zimbabweans have been tossed around and left on their own to eke survival under circumstances that the government made difficult by the day.
To this very day, Zimbabweans are on their own and, on their weary shoulders, are carrying a wrecked nation and a lame sterile government that has absolutely no idea what to do with both the nation or the people.
This government does not even understand its role.
Having a bad leader for 37 years and then getting a worse one is just the kind of luck Zimbabweans have.
I salute the people of Zimbabwe for I do not know how they survive, if we call it that.
The country is still run by old, clueless men from the liberation days; men and women who are so ancient that they believe all they have to do is command things to be done and they will be done.
There is no doubt that the Movement for Democratic Change made the biggest ever impact on Zimbabwean politics.
The popularity of the late founding president of the MDC, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, can still be seen in the continuing popularity of both the organization and in its young leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa.
It is to him that I direct my words, hoping that having seen and heard from the suffering people that give him so much respect and support across the country, he should take a step back and think of what he needs to do and why.
For decades, Zimbabwe has not had civic-minded politicians but ones who went into politics as a shortcut to enriching themselves faster than through honest, hard work.
Mr Chamisa used sharp elbows to get to the pinnacle of the party leadership after Mr Tsvangira’s demise. And the people responded well and gave him more support than the current state president got from his followers.
It is, therefore, incumbent on Mr Chamisa to put the people first and work with Emmerson Mnangagwa for the sake of the people, who have suffered for so long.
If, indeed, Chamisa wants to liberate the people, he could tell his followers that he is going to assist Mnangagwa to the best of his ability in order to rescue the nation and, in turn, help alleviate the suffering of the people.
This is the best time to take such a step because it is clear to everyone that Mnangagwa has failed and that he and his Zanu-PF cannot resuscitate the fortunes of the state.
True, in only two years, we cannot expect miracles from Mnangagwa in reviving a nation whose decay was more than 35 years in the making.
But it is quite clear that Mnangagwa and his administration have no direction and have failed. Unless 98% of this leadership goes, there will be no revival of the country’s fortunes.
But I stray.
This is the time for Chamisa to finish off Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF by working with them and revive the fortunes of the country. The people will not forget that. They won’t.
Chamisa’s continued refusal to recognize Mnangagwa as president and his stone-walling on negotiations with Mnanagwa only cause more and deeper hardships for the people.
Mnangagwa badly needs Chamisa’s help. Bringing his supporters (more than half the country) and saying “we will work with you to get all of us out of this mess”, the opposition and its leader will have shown pure muscle and, in the process, will have indicated where the power lies.
People will not forget and things would never be the same.
However, the most distressful problem that Chamisa faces is that he has surrounded himself with so many people who want his mantle.
Two of his three vice presidents,Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, dumped Tsvangirai and Chamisa and went on to form their own political parties both of whose followers could not fill a classroom.
After realizing the popularity of the young Chamisa, Biti and Ncube came back and both ended up as vice presidents but with no justification.
These men are there for themselves. They have no following to speak of and they will not let Chamisa make decisions that might result in their roles being diminished or watered down.
Sooner or later, they will bolt again.
Mr Chamisa and his party have proved their point beyond doubt.
It is now time for Mr Chamisa to show real leadership and work with Mnangagwa for the sake of the people he says he cares about and to rescue the nation.
*Tanonoka Whande writes in his personal capacity.