When I was six, my mother bought me a cup that was emblazoned with the Zimbabwean Flag on one side. It was a white cup from Kango. I didn’t allow anyone to drink from that cup.
There was hell to pay for anyone who dared put his/her lips — no matter how shapely — on its precious rim. And being the last born in a family of six, I always got my way after each tantrum.
I, however, forgot to pack my cup when I transferred to start my Grade Five in the city, at Kurai
Primary School in Kambuzuma to be specific. The excitement of the bus ride to the city and the prospect of all that the bright lights of the city promised made me forget my precious cup.
I never saw it again as I later heard that its disappearance had coincided with the visit of an aunt whose fingers were reputed to be as long as her skinny limbs.
I believe we should all approach our National Flag, Coat of Arms, National Anthem, finite and infinite resources, in fact everything to do with our beautiful country with the same possessive jealousy.
This is my point of departure with some people perspiring for national leadership who approach matters of State with the lackadaisical attitude of the Tragedy of the Commons.
That dilemma, captured in an article titled “The Tragedy of the Commons” that was first published in the journal Science in 1968, arising from the situation in which several individuals, acting independently and rationally but in their own self-interest, ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.
It appears to MDC-T leader — Morgan Tsvangirai — our country is such a commons, he seems to mistake it for a medieval pasture where all are free to graze. The MDC-T leader was quoted in the Western and local media as telling his Western handlers to “insist on the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections.’’ A euphemism for illegal regime change.
News flash, Mr Prime Minister; the only acceptable regime change will be one effected by Zimbabweans.
“My call to the world is, ‘You must insist on the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections and a lasting solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.’ Zimbabwe can’t afford isolation and continued vilification by the world. Above all we don’t want to be treated like a pariah state. We need the international community to ensure that the will of the people is respected.”
Tsvangirai, who was in London to address an African business summit, said on Monday.
Quite surprising sentiments from a man who signed the so-called GPA that, in Article IX that deals with external interference, abhors foreign meddling in our domestic affairs.
All three parties to the inclusive Government concurred in section 9.2 (a) that ‘‘the responsibility of effecting change of Government in Zimbabwe vests exclusively on and is the sole prerogative of the people of Zimbabwe through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means.’’ And in subsection (c) that ‘‘no outsiders have a right to call or campaign for regime change in Zimbabwe’’.
So where does Tsvangirai see Westerners fitting in, in this scheme of things? For a man who claims the GPA is his Bible, Tsvangirai seemed blissfully ignorant that he was speaking ultra vires provisions of the same GPA he claims to uphold and defend.
A GPA that was signed and implemented with the express objective of “fostering an environment of socio-economic and political stability in readiness for fresh elections.’’
A responsibility Tsvangirai seeks to outsource to outsiders as if they have a stake in our politics. Which African country has ever been invited to “ensure that the will of the people is respected’’ in any Western plebiscite? Why does Tsvangirai seek to perpetuate the myth of the so-called White Man’s Burden?
It is high time the MDC-T leader realised that even though he is a willing cat’s paw for Western interests, quisling politics should start and end at Harvest House, they have no place in the wider nation. Outsiders have no role to play in our domestic affairs let alone elections even if they sponsor, illegally at that, one or more of the contestants.
If he dreams of ever presiding over this country as Head of State and Government, the MDC-T leader must uphold the sanctity of our independence and sovereignty.
Not surprisingly, Tsvangirai took the opportunity to swipe at the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme that has already hit the grassroots through community share ownership schemes.
It does not pay, politically, to slam such pro-people policies in favour of jobs. Any sane or knowledgeable person knows that to develop to the levels attained by Western countries that grew on the back of exploiting the developing world, African countries and others in the developing world need genuine, wealth-creating middle classes, and these only come from owning the means of production.
This is where Zanu-PF got it right through the land reform program and the indigenisation and economic empowerment policies. While one invites polite applause by slamming these policies in western capitals, among the progressive, such utterances invite ridicule.
The jobs the MDC-T harps about create “middle income earners” or comprador bourgeoisies who front multinational corporations not the middle class we envisage and which is emerging in Zimbabwe.
A real middle class does not draw salaries, it pays them. It does not create wealth for other nations but its own motherland. And this will not come from a “jobs policy” but from indigenisation and economic empowerment.
A progressive leader would also have taken the platform like the one Tsvangirai was given in London to slam the ruinous economic sanctions that, in fact militate against the attainment of an environment conducive for the holding of free and fair elections.
London offered Tsvangirai a perfect opportunity to call for the lifting of sanctions in light of the impending re-engagement talks set for Brussels.
But that would have been expecting too much from a man whose brain seems to become foggy, the moment he sets foot on the foggy Isles where his biggest gaffes have always manifested.
‘‘Zimbabwe can’t afford isolation and continued vilification by the world. Above all we don’t want to be treated like a pariah state.
“We need the international community to ensure that the will of the people is respected,” Tsvangirai quipped without a sense of irony.
Of course, I am under no illusion that by “international community’’ Tsvangirai will be visualising the Anglo-Saxon alliance.
How can the outside world take us seriously when you take every opportunity to badmouth your homeland Mr Tsvangirai?
And you harp about security forces not being amenable to your kind of politics, how can they be amenable when everytime you open your mouth, you vindicate their assertion that you pose a security threat.
Our country is not a commons, we own it and we alone have the right to decide its destiny. If you have grievances Mr Tsvangirai, or if there are loopholes you see in guaranteeing an environment conducive to the holding of free and fair elections, that is why you are in government.
Fix the problems along with the other principals. You have your partners in the GPA, internal mechanisms like Jomic, guarantors in Sadc and the African Union to call upon if you have issues.
Outsiders, Westerners to be specific, are not stakeholders in our politics. They do not have a “burden’’ to “civilise’’ us in the virtues of neo-liberal democracy.
We had to fight protracted wars just to win the right to vote.
Wars you had no stomach for. And to take the food from the mouths of their kith and kin to feed our impoverished people, we have to brace for gruelling fights even against our own brothers if they are willing to be used against their own.
Do not give a black face to neo-colonial designs.