Elevating history to justify our mistakes by Tanonoka Joseph Whande

Tanonoka Joseph Whande

Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Monday 30 June 2014
We always consider history to be stagnant and stale just because we are looking at things that happened a long time ago; things that were sealed by history itself.

But history is the dried and dehydrated seed that appears dead while alive until moisture activates its instincts.

Thus, Cecil John Rhodes, Ian Smith and Clifford DuPont are as much part of our history as Ndabaningi Sithole, Josiah Tongogara, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo and Joshua Nkomo, among others.

Most of the people at the so-called Heroes’ Acre will never make it into our history books.

What is ZANU-PF or Robert Mugabe without Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front?

History does not discriminate; it is factual.

Take it or leave it.

Because of its ability to haunt the living, history, like that maize seed that comes back from the dead and answers to the moisture and its obviously hospitable surroundings, provides us with a life while it lies in hibernation.

History always laughs at us all on this planet because it is wiser. While it does not need to keep up with the ever changing futuristic dynamics of what we stupidly call ‘modern day life’ on this our planet, we cannot ignore its admonishing presence.

It infuriatingly always leaves us to take it or leave it.

History has no glare; we need no sun visors. There is nothing back there but clear evidence of what continues to this day as a crippling legacy of political prostitution, vagueness and indecisiveness.

The things that are happening in opposition parties in Zimbabwe cannot be of any benefit to Zimbabweans and to our country.

I am scandalized by the court battles among the MDC principals. Regardless of who is right or wrong; regardless of who wins these court cases, the outcome guarantees that Zimbabweans are the losers.

We are being deprived of leadership because our politicians cannot sit down and, together, map an agenda for the nation.

Hell, no! Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cannot do it alone. They failed for decades.

The MDC, wait a minute, MDC-T or MDC-N, or MDC-M or MDC-99 or MDC Renewal.

God have mercy!

Back to our topic…Our politicians in Zimbabwe have always tried to copy other African parties that came before them without thinking about what is best for our particular situation.

Those who gained independence before us did us a lot of damage because we looked up to them in the hope of liberating ourselves like they had just done.

I was amused when I looked at how many political parties were born out of Kenneth Kaunda’s United National Independence Party.

I was further astounded to see the number of parties that sprung out of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.

How many children and grandchildren did the Zimbabwe African People’s Union have? The Zimbabwe African National Union itself was not barren; it gave birth to its own little mites and the biggest grandchild of that party now has itself more kids and grandchildren of its own.

We saw this rubbish in ZAPU; it lost its most brilliant officials.

We saw that same stupidity in ZANU; it lost the same, who believed they were better than the man they deposed.

In the end, we got back PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF but only after both had flirted with Abel Muzorewa’s ANC.

We still remain pawns in this stupid game in which our politicians move from one party to another in the total absence of any ideology that people can understand and accept.

Like my late father said, we can travel at the speed of sound and travel into space on satellites whose abilities we will never comprehend, but in the end, because of our history as people, we will land right back here and walk on our two feet.

Our world has suffered and continues to suffer.

Zimbabwe has suffered more and has had its limbs broken, its sons, daughters, fathers and mothers killed by their own.

But the nation soldiers on, just like we should. History warned us about these developments.

When history merges with the present, then it is absolute confirmation that we are on the wrong path. Because, you see, history does not want to repeat itself. History never wants an encore of itself. History is never proud of itself. Most times, we elevate history only to justify our mistakes.

History must not and should not merge with the present. History does not want us to copy it; history wants us to improve it so that tomorrow we are also the history that inspires our future generations.

History is a teacher who has lived the life; while the present is a student keen on learning how to live that life better.

Our country is on the sacrificial alter. It has always been there.

Maybe we should ask ourselves why Zimbabwe has been stewing on this alter of sacrifice longer than most countries.

Pardon me, please, because it is not me; it is our politicians.

We have a problem and that problem is not going to go away until we put country before self.

The heart of the matter is that our history teaches us our future. Overtaking those realities of history is and must be an obligation.

The role of history is to give us a chance to open new and better chapters – not to follow in its old footsteps.

Despite a string of not so educated and very well educated politicians over the century, Zimbabweans still have to contend with mediocre politicians from amongst their ranks.

In life, parents work hard to ensure that their children are better than themselves in both education and social standing.

Such is the case even in politics, where past generations of politicians dare us to do better than they did.

We still do not know how to differ and stay together.

We still view those with an opposing viewpoint as enemies.

We get personal and kill each other over issues we should sit down and negotiate over.

We form new political parties whenever we have differences with our allies as if those differences alone are the pillar of the national philosophy.

We do not follow, adopt or create believable philosophies or doctrines anymore but we claim to refine what others did in the past to serve their times.

We bottle ourselves up in descriptions we care little about.

I am a leftist.

You are left of center.

He is a moderate.

He is a right winger.

That one is right of center.

Oh, no, look at that extremist!

Why can’t we just be Zimbabweans and negotiate with each other on issues that are of meaning to us while we make the most of those areas in which we have common ground.

I would have liked to see a maturity among our politicians; a maturity that takes advantage of our positives while at the same time working harder and thinking deeper to smooth over where we differ?

While I agree that one cannot serve both their conscience and the nation well if one is made to adopt and implement “philosophies” they do not subscribe to, I am not amused by the failure of our leaders to exploit common ground.

They are more thunderous in opposition to each other but muted in areas they agree.

They emphasize their disagreements more than areas in which they agree.

But I say that the areas in which we agree are more important than those we disagree upon.

We do not have a culture of compromise for the sake of the nation; most decisions our politicians make are based on self-interest.

We have always respected our politicians and leaders.

So many times, I have watched strong political parties breaking up; I have seen personal differences being pushed forward at the expense of national consideration.

Our politicians must cultivate a strong sense of purpose and work together. If all of them had the nation’s interests at heart, we would not be witnessing the break-up of political parties into which so many put so much faith.

Now we have to start afresh as we watch the ruling party itself sailing in stormy seas.

Take it or leave it; history never dies.

And so I refuse to despair.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, June 30th, 2014.

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