Time to invent the future

Reason Wafawarova on Thursday

The under 50 runners fronting the cause of the party today must be reminded that the party to which they belong is a lot more than a mere political party. It is a lasting legacy of historical achievement – something that no amount of present day challenges can ever erase.

FOR people like President Mugabe and the rest of his generation of nationalists, the comparison can be made to someone who has survived a perilous disease, and then devotes all his energies and life to vaccine research.

The anti-imperialism and anti-neocolonialism policies advocated and implemented under the administration of President Mugabe are in no doubt a response to immense colonial injustices of our past, itself certainly shaping our present in large part.

The conviction in the founding nationalists from whose efforts Zanu-PF emerged can hardly ever be doubted. In pushing for the economic empowerment of the independent Zimbabwean, Zanu-PF is not inventing any new ground. Rather, the party is merely pursuing and extending the founding principles that birthed it in 1963, even pre-dated to the formation of Zapu.

The under 50 runners fronting the cause of the party today must be reminded that the party to which they belong is a lot more than a mere political party. It is a lasting legacy of historical achievement – something that no amount of present-day challenges can ever erase.

Zanu-PF is a statement of unyielding conviction and a testimony of social justice, and I am writing here about the founding identity of the party. I am fully aware of today’s lack of conviction among some within the party, just like I am alive to a lot of the injustices afflicting the revolutionary outfit today.

As opposed to being guided by the reality for which Zanu-PF stands, many of the leaders fronting the party today derive their happiness from delusion, and in all reality many of these people practically live in their own heads.

The reality of Zimbabwe’s economic situation does not need much of vanguard defence rhetoric at the moment. Zanu-PF has more than enough control of the political space as things stand, and its political opponents can only grin with envy.

What is needed at the moment are practical ways of alleviating the deadly economic monster facing the country. Sadly, the panacea cannot be a political one. It is time for pragmatic economic realities, and these rarely come in the form of the feel good factor that comes with political rhetoric.

For one to be successful in a revolution, two very important aspects have to be observed. Firstly, one has to understand fully the things they are fighting about, not only to understand the things they are fighting against.

There are many people within the Zanu-PF leadership who posture as gallant fighters against imperialism when they have no idea what the concept of imperialism is all about. These are the people who believe imperialism can be scared away by vociferous sloganeering.

The glaring contrast between the well-articulated principles of President Mugabe and the hopeless implementation efforts of those principles by his lieutenants is a product of engaging well-meaning patriots driven by blissful ignorance.

In fact many, if not most of the young middle class cadres in Zanu-PF, hardly see anything fundamentally evil about the practical realities of imperialism. They only vilify the -ism because they know that is the way to be seen to be politically correct.

One needs to be convinced that they are fighting for a just cause. We know a lot of middle class people trudge along with Zanu-PF’s people-oriented policies in doubt, just getting along in the name of political correctness. These are the same people that secretly vilified land occupations in 2000, only to front the queue when it came to the distribution of land offer letters, grabbing for themselves the most developed of the reclaimed farms.

Today we have the indigenisation policy facing spoilation by people who have no understanding of the mischief the policy is supposed to correct. They have no understanding of the justice cause behind the principle. All they see in this policy is a massive opportunity to accumulate. There are others who do not see anything in the policy beyond a vote mobilising tool targeted at the young gener- ation.

We did not make good use of the support resources we had as a nation when we embarked on the land reform programme in 2000. People with no commitment to the cause collected and wasted the support resources across the country. Some sold inputs for quick cash, some just hoarded the free inputs beyond their use expiry dates, and yet others just abandoned their land midway the farming season, purely motivated by lack of interest.

It is futile to wage a struggle as a pretext, as a lever, or as a weapon to acquire power. The mask cannot last, and its demise is unavoidable. The time we are living in is not the time for Zanu-PF to seek what it already has – power.

The national outcry to Zanu-PF is not to relinquish power, but to use its power to better the lives of Zimbabweans.

Justice is not defined by vindictive actions against former colonisers. It is defined by the benefits of emancipation for the ordinary person.

Moving forward, Zimbabwe must abandon this rather dogmatic approach where all political meaning is drawn in stark shades of black and white, or far left and far right. International relations are far more complex than that.

It is time we define our policy standing between realism and idealism, diplomacy versus confrontation, compromise versus absolutism, and prudence versus plunging.

I have personally helped push forward Zimbabwe’s people-oriented policies, and I must confess that in doing so many times I have pushed idealism in total disregard of realism, I have promoted confrontation at the expense of diplomacy, and I have frowned upon compromise in favour of absolutism, and indeed I have cheered plunging undertaken without any regard for prudence.

This is the hardline stance that withstood the tough test of regime change politics, and indeed we managed in every way to defend the homeland politically. The regime change agents lie in tatters, but there is work to be done.

It is hard to imagine the same bullheaded approach can withstand the deadly test of a faltering economy, and my submission is that the approach has to change, and change pretty fast.

Our economic policies are sound in principle, and hardly any rational person would argue otherwise. Returning from the United Nations General Assembly recently, President Mugabe intimated that “we lack resources” to “implement some of our policies”.

That comes to me like a pragmatic assessment of the reality around us. We need solutions that will ensure that we fund adequately the people-oriented policies we have adopted, and some of these solutions might call for the accommodation of realism, compromise, diplomacy and prudence.

We cannot for colour’s sake continue to celebrate the rise of a small black capitalist elite that will take advantage of each of our policies to enjoy the benefits of our natural resources on our collective behalf, while we all languish in misery.

It is appalling for someone to get involved in a struggle alongside the masses for the sole purpose of acquiring a position of power, or for the end result of self-aggrandisement. Leadership must be defined by the ability to organise for the betterment of all, not by the capacity to annihilate political opponents.

Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party whose criterion for leadership is a straitjacket. One needs to be convinced that they are capable of fighting, that they are courageous enough to fight not only for themselves but, above all, for all others.

There has been, there is, and there will always be those people that come to the revolutionary party showing great determination to wage a fight, and they impressively show that they know how to go about it, only to falter once the personal benefits stop coming their way.

When the efforts of committed revolutionary cadres are sidelined by the pretentious dramas of masqueraders we begin to have a problem.

It is heartbreaking to see hard work and honest sacrifice being rewarded with breathtaking ungratefulness.

Zanu-PF must of necessity be wary of its internal politics. It is dangerous to allow a situation where genius is viewed as dangerous, and mediocrity is elevated to heroism.

I do not understand people who fall over each other for positions in Zanu-PF as if the party were a sea of opportunity. If we had the necessary correlation between the needs of the country and leadership, my take is that politicians would be resigning their posts in large numbers today. There is something attracting people to political positions today, and that thing is not leadership or develop- ment.

Only those leaders who have bothered to immerse with the masses know how to answer the questions that arise in a revolution. We have a dire economic crisis and the leadership seems to have no an- swers.

Harare must have answers for Zimbabwe, and it is disturbing that Munhumutapa does not seem to be speaking the same language with Mukwati, and New Government Complex is being accused of betrayal, even of “dining with the enemy”.

The Office of the President and Cabinet is at Munhumutapa, the Youth and Indigenisation Ministry is at Mukwati Building, and Treasury is at the New Government Complex, and there is just no cohesion and oneness in policy direction. The joke is not funny.

Harare cannot keep going on about its business with this unhelpful indifference. Villagers, women, children, and the elderly are all waiting for answers, and they surely are fed up with finger-pointing diversions towards far away enemies in countries whose geographical location they cannot even comprehend.

Harare frowns upon the cries of the rural MP. Harare has no room for the plight of Bulilima and Mangwe villagers, and our people have lost the great faith they used to have in the capital’s capacity to disseminate developmental benefits across the country.

Harare does not have answers for itself. Unregulated informal trading, unemployment, dilapidation of infrastructure, service delivery failure, and widespread corruption have literally taken over Harare identity.

Our leadership must come to understand that there is no one with a right to turn his or her back on the governed.

Our people are not mere voting objects at the disposal of politicians. They have entitlement to fundamental human rights, and these are inalienable rights that cannot be explained away by simply blaming foreigners.

Our political culture must promote development ahead of any other ideals. We must have economic solutions for Zimbabwe if our patriotism is to be credible.

The future of Zimbabwe is in the success of the country’s economy. The pro-people policies are well in place, but they need a serious leadership ready to make the sacrifices that come with the implementation, including compromises.

We must develop our country in spite of the sanctions, and only then can we pride ourselves as a resilient people.

If one cannot succeed in delivering in the wake of sanctions then they have no business in the Zimbabwe politics of today.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!

 Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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