|Beware of the opportunist!|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 21:29|
It reminds me of another axiom I heard from the then independent candidate for Harare South constituency, Margaret Dongo, in the run-up to the Harare South by-election that pitted her against Zanu-PF’s Vivian Mwashita and one Joshua Cohen another independent in 1995, the axiom of the three dogs.
Dongo, who had been expelled from Zanu-PF for standing as an independent after a dispute with the way primaries were held, said when two dogs fight for a bone, it’s the third dog that wins the fight. She was counselling on the possibility of splitting the vote with Cohen and handing victory to Mwashita.
For all that Dongo's proverbial third dog would need to do is creep over and slink away with the bone as the other two canines tore each other to pieces.
So what is my point? My point to the three main political parties in Government today is, please argue over whether the glass is half full or half empty but never argue over who owns the glass or its contents.
No party should be used as a decoy so that Mr Opportunist can come in to drink from our glass once our attention is diverted.
As we mark 32 years of independence today let us introspect what we have done for our country to abet the cause of the gallant sons and daughters of this land who paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us freedom. April 18, did not just spring from the calendar but is a culmination of the sacrifices made by the heroes and heroines of this land from the time the Pioneer Column raised the Union Jack at Fort Salisbury on September 12, 1890 till the attainment of independence on April 18, 1980.
Nine decades of struggle that some among us had no stomach for, though today we feign courage while stroking tummies distended by the erstwhile coloniser’s filthy lucre.
It is fortuitous that we celebrate 32 years of Independence at a time forces opposed to our total emancipation have ranged against us for daring to go beyond the façade of flag independence. Sadly, they have found succour in some who are willing to be used to lend black faces to patently racist, neo-colonial subversion.
Be that as it may, that should not distract us from the agenda at hand. We should today beat our chests that as a nation we chose to take the bull by the horns. We dropped the short-end of the stick the erstwhile coloniser had given us at the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference in 1979.
And over the past 32 years we have systematically worked to transform our country into a truly independent unitary State. Independence does not only mean flying our flag over our territory, neither does it mean having black faces in Government, independence means non-dependence on anyone but ourselves for our own destiny. As Bob Marley told us on April 18, 1980 “every man has a right to decide his own destiny . . . and in this judgment there is no partiality”.
And when we look at the path travelled over the past 32 years, there is every reason to celebrate the achievements scored, gains that are unparalleled by any nation that attained political independence in our generation, or even those that have been free much longer.
The gains in the social services sector are phenomenal, infrastructure development, housing, you name it.
Yes, some of these gains took a hard knock from the past decade of sanctions, but the fact that we did not become a failed state testifies to the strong foundation laid since independence. The only blight on an otherwise impeccable record was an economy dominated by foreign-owned companies, and this is what we are painstakingly changing through the land reform programme and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes.
Indeed, the fact that despite a sustained 10-year assault, our country has not gone under is testimony to the strength of the foundation laid since 1980.
Yes, there are those who point gleefully at the prevailing economic hardships as a sign of failure, I disagree with them strongly. What our nation is experiencing are the pangs of transformation, and only a fool can deny that sanctions account for the economic malaise of the past decade. Our economy has not collapsed, but that which we called our economy when it was, in fact, a white economy collapsed, and in its place an indigenous Zimbabwean economy is emerging on the back of a genuine land-owning, wealth-creating middle class.
That transformation cannot occur overnight, neither can it be cosy, as it is a duel with dark forces whose very existence hinges on continued exploitation of our resources, with us as chattel slaves.
These are the forces, along with their black minions, that we should all tell today, never again! Never again will we allow them to reverse the gains we have made, amid so much opposition.
However, for that transformation to be achieved expeditiously, we must all pull in the same direction.
This is the last phase of our struggle, and history tells us that the myopia of those who opted to abet the enemy — either as Rhodesia Front members or Selous Scouts or outright sellouts — prolonged the liberation struggle.
Today they have been resurrected to mouth meaningless neo-liberal platitudes in a bid to divert us from the path of economic independence. They will tell you investment is more important than owning the means of production, jobs more important than owning the farm, factory or mine and food more important than farming. By their language you shall know them.
This is why we need, this day, to dedicate ourselves to the ideals of the struggle, close ranks to defeat the machinations of those seeking to torpedo and reverse our independence. The sanctions imposed by the West are not for our benefit, but they are meant to benefit their kith and kin, who we dispossessed of resources that are rightfully ours.
Thus whether we are Zanu-PF, MDC-Tsvangirai or MDC, let us differ only on the modalities of governing our nation, not who should govern it. Let us differ on how we see the contents of the glass not who should drink from it. Whether it’s half-full or half-empty, it’s our glass and we are entitled to everything inside it.