Tanonoka Joseph Whande
We have now entered 2012, a brand new year.
As has always been the case since way back when, every New Year comes with expectations for better outcomes, better situations and greater possibilities.
A New Year is somehow expected to wash away our failures and shortcomings of the previous year and open the door wide for our new possibilities.
In free God-fearing societies, New Year never comes with restrictions but with endless opportunities and wide possibilities.
Because of its sad existence over the years, Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans enter 2012 with yet another show of hope. In spite of the brutality of life experienced at the hands of politicians, Zimbabweans never at any time gave up hope and, instead, renewed their hopes every time a new year dawned on the troubled nation.
Chaos, hunger, violence, intolerance and a host of many other man-made problems clog our daily lives but still Zimbabweans maintain hope with a momentum only found among those whose fortunes appear to be picking up speed.
We are, once again, faced with the possibility of harmonised elections sometime during this year.
We are aware that both the quality of our presidency and parliamentarians are way below standard.
How we have come so far with such dull, uninspiring and anti-people parliamentarians is a mystery never meant to be solved.
Making matters worse is the fact that all political parties are led by people who are embarrassingly not worthy of the Zimbabwean peoples’ vote.
Zimbabweans clearly deserve better than the whole lot we have in parliament, in the executive and in the judiciary.
I am seriously worried about the calibre of leadership at the helm of every political party in our country.
Zimbabwe has remained stagnant for more than a decade. We are still trying to solve problems that afflicted us from as far back as 2000 and we are still dealing with the same culprits who started all our miseries that far back.
We are short-changed by the quality of leadership in our political parties, in our government, and in cabinet. These three areas are dangerously staffed with mediocrity and the trend should be arrested right now.
While most Zimbabweans live in fear of violence, others are safe and free.
While many are in need of food handouts, a few have more than they need.
ZANU-PF has to give Zimbabweans a better leadership and come down to respecting people.
ZANU-PF, as a founding ruling party in Zimbabwe, should stimulate interest in the people, not by clinging to power but by opening the doors to all party members.
It should not preach freedom and democracy; it should show us freedom and democracy.
A graveyard is livelier than the top 20 people in the leadership of ZANU-PF. It is a moribund political party, kept alive not by its supporters’ enthusiasm and beliefs but kept alive by its supporters’ violence against dissenters.
ZANU-PF’s only pulse of life is stimulated by greed, violence, intolerance and by all those things it should be fighting to eradicate from amongst us.
It is a party without a horizon.
ZANU-PF is in such a state because it has not had proper leadership for decades.
What is ZANU-PF without Robert Mugabe and who is Robert Mugabe without ZANU-PF? Both have become synonymous with each other yet the party says its members vote freely for party leadership.
Any potential leader is viewed as a challenger to the incumbent and is deemed an enemy who wants to destroy the party, not as someone with better and more progressive ideas beneficial to both their party and the nation.
On the other hand, the MDC is, unfortunately, trying to imitate ZANU-PF ways because ZANU-PF ways are the easiest route to take because ZANU-PF excludes the people’s wishes and intentions.
As in ZANU-PF, there are no visible alternatives to Morgan Tsvangirai. I do not like to see that in the MDC.
I don’t like to see that better people are being oppressed and are shunted to the side so that Tsvangirai can appear to be the lightning rod of the party.
I do not like to see that in the MDC, a party full of so many brilliant fresh minds. Tsvangirai appears to be the only possible leader when, in fact, he has failed to show leadership and is surviving on respect given him on account of being the founding president of the original MDC.
I do not like to see that, like Mugabe, Tsvangirai can ignore or temper with his own party’s constitution just so as to remain in charge.
I have witnessed all these political misdemeanours and they hurt my conscience.
We are to blame in most ways because we allow it to happen. Although our elections are rigged, we allow the ascendancy of vultures into positions of authority.
A cursory glimpse at our parliamentarians shows the kind of people we are.
Our parliamentarians are a joke. We elect them based on violence and when they get into positions of authority, they perpetuate that violence to remain there.
Of what use are people like Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and most parliamentarians? Really.
They got into parliament through the use of violence and are determined to remain there with the use of violence.
Weak leaders get people killed; weak leaders kill people in the hope of consolidating their power to abuse people.
I have no sympathy for such trash.
It is my hope that as our political parties are gearing up for another election, we take a deep breath and remember what we can do.
We, the people, must realise that as long as elections, faulty as they might be, are part of our process, we retain some semblance of authority to change things.
And we can start on the road to changing things by scrutinising everyone who seeks our vote on whatever level.
People of Zimbabwe are one people; it is the politicians who are dividing us. A ZANU-PF supporter in Chisumbanje is affected by what those morons in parliament decree as much as an MDC supporter in Muzarabani.
We must realise that we are collectively allowing Zimbabwe to disintegrate right before our eyes.
My hope is that starting this very year, Zimbabweans, whether MDC or ZANU-PF supporters, recognise that they have the power to change things. Zimbabweans ought to understand that emancipation that comes from outside, like that which was brought onto Libya, is not the right type of emancipation.
We must liberate ourselves so that we own the liberty.
We must send a clear message to the politicians, especially the young aspiring breed of politicians.
We must value our vote and use it ruthlessly and with such finality that there should never be any doubt of our intentions.
Both ZANU-PF and the MDC have failed us and both parties must renew themselves right away, starting with the type of people they vote for to lead individual political parties.
Otherwise we, the people, must throw the rascals out. We have had enough of the violence and maladministration. The lack of leadership over the years has even caused some dreamers to start ranting about a separate republic within our republic. This is madness and utter stupidity. Zimbabwe will never be parcelled out to tiny tribal groups, reminiscent of Bantustans.
Our effort should be to identify and get rid of dictators not to destroy Zimbabwe.
The heart of the matter is that we are our own liberators, as a late nationalist leader said decades and decades ago. We must raise our heads and start taking charge of our lives. We must not wait for outsiders to do that for us.
Whether you are ZANU-PF or MDC or something else in between, hold on to your vote and only let go when you are satisfied with the person for whom you cast that vote.
We have experienced violence in the extreme; we have been abused to depths that would shame even the devil; and we have lost innocent relatives who only wanted to be left alone to care for their families.
We have watched and allowed one civil servant turning the whole nation into a forced labour camp, even withholding food from our people as he ravaged national coffers.
We can change things if we want to.
I hope that 2012 brings to us a little more wisdom and awareness. I hope this year empowers us with the gift of choice at the polls and I hope 2012 rekindles in us the knowledge of our own invincibility because, like I have always said, we are more than conquerors.
Let this be our year full of positive change, a year when we will be busy carting old and new political trash to the dustbins of history.
I am hopeful that 2012 will bring us relief in one form or other.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Thursday, January 5, 2012.