Thursday, June 4, 2020

Some people are about to become heroes in Zimbabwe

The rot in Zimbabwe has just got to be stopped one way or other.                                                           

The country cannot continue on this path when it is evident that innocent people are suffering and are at the mercy of an abusive, cruel, uncaring leadership with no idea what to do.

I am not prepared to accept that African leaders do not see what their counterparts are doing to their people. They visit each other and are seen grinning in front of hungry schoolchildren like hyenas surrounding a kill. They talk about “the strengthening of bi-lateral relations” between their countries while “challenging” the business community to step up and do this and that ÔÇô usually things the government should be responsible for.

There is no mention of the shooting of innocent people, nor are there any reminders to uphold human rights; they socialize at great expense to the starving citizens and none of them shows any remorse.

Born and bred in Africa, forgive me, I beg, for I cannot understand, for I have not met, within our nuclear or extended communities, a man who is ignored when he abuses people in the village at will.

We grew up fearing to disrespect and held such veneration for graves that, somewhere along the line, the respect turned into fear.

The death of a person in the village affected all and the dead were accorded much more respect than they earned in their lifetime.

Those who abused others or who did unacceptable things among us were considered to be as malevolent as “a snake that kills what it does not eat”.

I do not understand what happens to people when they walk into the tunnel of politics. How do they care little about a suffering child? Where are their paternal instincts when they see hungry children? How do they smile and laugh every day in front of women whose husbands have been killed because they supported a different political party?

Forgive me or explain to me, I insist, how an African president rewards bands of criminals who go around the country killing and maiming in his name.

So much vitriol was thrown at Robert Mugabe, complete with evidence of atrocities he committed against the people. The world did not care.                                                 

But it took a group of ignorant army generals to remove Mugabe while SADC, the AU and individual African leaders cared more about Mugabe than about the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe.

When will Africa understand that killing people does not promote their popularity; that removing political opponents does not make them safer; that using state media to lie to people does not make them better than their opponents because making someone look bad does not make us better – we must be good in our own right; we cannot be good because someone else is worse.

When will the carnage end? When will Africa rid itself of predatory, cannibalistic behavior that have killed bright young people just because they were perceived to be a danger to a sitting president.

I just cannot understand what happens to people when they find themselves in positions of authority, whether at village or national level.                                                               

It especially upsets me when I see world leaders turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by a fellow African leader.

Since the military morons got rid of Robert Mugabe, things have gotten worse on all fronts, making Mugabe actually look better. A classic example of a dog chasing a car and not knowing what to do when it catches the car.

Let me be clear, Mugabe was no saint and I will never forget the pain he caused the nation and, on a personal note, against my family.                                                

Please, bear with me. There is pain involved here.

Every time African presidents sign a new law, it means people’s freedoms have been reduced.

Hardly a day after Tanzania’s John Magufuli went to Zimbabwe and praised Mnangagwa in front of suffering Africans, Mnangagwa signed a law that prohibits demonstrations by civil servants.

The day after this, a European Union delegation, in Zimbabwe to deepen bi-lateral relations that had been suspended for years because of Mugabe and for discussions on the EU’s re-engagement with Zimbabwe, issued a statement saying how impressed the EU was with the ‘constitutional reforms’ Mnangagwa is pursuing.

Around midnight that very day, June 5th, the young National President of the militant and effective Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Obert Masaraure, was abducted from his home by eight men armed with AK rifles and pistols and taken into a forest miles away from his home where he was stripped naked, questioned, tortured, beaten up and left for dead by suspected state security agents.

He later said he was sure two of the abductors were part of a similar group that abducted him in January this year leading to his detention before being released in a case that is still pending.

And the very next day, the EU retweeted British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mary Robinson’s tweet that said: “Very concerned about the reports of the abduction and abuse of ARTUZ’s Obert Masaraure. Such extra-judicial actions are clearly inconsistent with #Zimbabwe’s constitution and the Government’s stated reform agenda.”

Dozens of Civic Society Organisation leaders, civil rights campaigners, Members of Parliament, Trade Union leaders and others have pending cases before courts and there is one constant among them: they are all accused, in one way or other, of attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government.

Mnangagwa is not sleeping well because he knows the pressure will blow off the lid any time. He knows it and it will happen.                         

With army trucks and soldiers maintaining high visibility in Harare, Mnangagwa is wary of what is happening elsewhere in Africa, where people in peaceful protests against the military government are dying at the hands of soldiers, forcing the lethargic African Union to announce, again on Thursday, that it was suspending Sudan from the AU until a civilian government takes the reins of government in Sudan.

There are no bigger morons out there than those who spend time robbing people of their freedoms. Reduced freedoms add more determination to fights.                                          Reduced freedoms are the stuff heroes are made of; defying stupid dictators to gain freedom becomes a mission with no time limits.

Mnangagwa has been cornered and he will not escape. He has been cornered, not by the people but by his own ignorance and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. He has no leadership qualities. He finds himself in a place he knows nothing about and, worse still, he cannot learn.

Some people are about to become heroes in Zimbabwe, and they will be using Mnangagwa as a steppingstone to reach the lofty pinnacle.


Read this week's paper

Cabinet caught up in a web of P240 million Covid-19 Tender

The fast-tracked procurement processes adopted by Covid-19 Presidential Task Force will come under renewed scrutiny when Botswana Government this week receives a...