Ladysmith; Kwazulu-Natal: Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo, Robert Muhabe, Josiah Tongogara, Enos Nkala and their cadres once individually and later on collectively came together and imagined what Zimbabwe would look like, feel like and work like beyond the obtaining system of white minority governance.
They had felt the pinch of discrimination and being treated as second class citizens in their motherland. They sought to reimagine a better society for their own, and they put into motion their vision. Most of us eligible to vote now weren’t there. My generation was imagined in the hearts and minds of our parents and forebears.
Imagination, I posit, is an exclusive function of the human mind, and as such, failure to exercise it is a betrayal of one of the most basic dictates of our humanness. It is our duty, and we owe it to ourselves and to posterity, to re-imagine Zimbabwe today and map a re-imagined way for our country.
It is my submission that we have spent too much time, in a polarised country such as ours, mudslinging and debating about the merits and demerits of this or the other party or political view at the expense of mapping exit strategies as a separate collective. The fragmentation and fundamentalism of the opposition in Zimbabwe is a testimony to this very issue.
It is not so hard to conclude that those holding the levers of power today are hell-bound to see Zimbabwe continue on this tragic trajectory. Otherwise, had there been political will, the course of our current lived history would have been altered for the better ages ago, and well before the so-called (hollow) second republic, at that.
The re-imagining I propose should by its very nature, question the status quo today. It should bring to the fire some salient issues which we are either afraid to confront, or whose answers we are afraid of implementing.
Why should Ministers and MPs receive free this and free that? Why should people in the same line of thought have dichotomies? ‘Chefs’ and povo? Why should millions be forced out of the country? Why are there thousands of Zimbabweans at Beitbridge waiting to cross into South Africa, whose unemployment is also rising? Why can we not make lemonade with the lemons the sanctions have thrown at us? The sanctions issue up to today is and has been a tired mantra that no longer arouses the sympathy it used to during Mugabe’s rule.
Now we have a regime that stifles growth – when a citizen comes up with an idea or innovation that has a Zimbabwean answer to a Zimbabwean problem, you are likely, either to be labelled an anti-revolutionary or, should your idea be significant and showing high prospects, you are likely to find a potbellied government official waiting to reap where he or she did not sow.
Why are we even allowing corruption to go unanswered? There were instances of corruption which the likes of Hopewell Chin’ono traced and tracked right to the First Citizen’s doorstep but, instead of a real probe, the Journalist was incarcerated for his troubles and unmasking of charlatans.
As a citizen, a few months adrift from April 1980, and now a father too, I find it nauseating that we have degenerated to these extents, and I am not even talking of the state of our roads, which are eyesores, I am talking about the state of the nation, which is worsening by the day whilst those in the high echelons of power carry on plundering with reckless abandon.
It is no longer enough to just vent out and point out the socio-economic ills and the political c. It’s is time to re-imagine, with a stern determination, Zimbabwe. Whether the gentlemen who have been the Directors of Zimbabwe Inc have done a bad job of it or not is apparently no longer up for discussion.
We need to re-imagine power and authority in the light of how it has been applied in Zimbabwe over the past 40 years. We need to envisage and indeed re-imagine a new narrative which posterity will use to judge our generation over and above the half-truths, perforated truths and the downright vitriol and falsehoods we have been forced to swallow as a staple over the years, towards a progressive worldview.
It can be done. The question is always around imagining, candidly and soberly, how it should be done. That it should be done is no longer a matter of conjecture it’s a real prerogative of the progressive forces and minds of this generation.
Tongai Mukarati is a Zimbabwean journalist currently based in Kwazu-Natal, South Africa. He writes in his own capacity