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Perspective, Stephen Mpofu
Alleged sexual abuse of female students by their charges at educational institutions in this country — with legal punitive measures against offenders now underway — marks a point of departure for this discourse.
Last week, when officiating at a graduation ceremony at Gweru’s Mkoba Teachers’ College, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, charged lecturers and teachers at universities and colleges as well as in public and private schools with rampant abuse of students and warned that Government was crafting drastic, legal sanctions against anyone found guilty of perpetrating the reported victimisation of students.
The official warning is all very well. But in the absence of any documented cases being made public is there no real possibility that some among the publics might be swayed by a belief, wrongly or rightfully, that this whole issue revolves around willful givers in response to academic favours touted by their teachers?
This pen believes that such a possibility should not willy-nilly be ruled out since, if we are dealing with coerced or rape cases, the courts should have been inundated with cases of such offences and with the offenders obviously not getting away with murder as it were.
That Zimbabwe boasts the highest literacy, or educational, rating on the African continent also suggests that the Girl Child, especially at higher learning institutions, is sufficiently grounded on her legal rights to the extent of not being cowed down by fear of any reprisal for reporting cases of sexual exploitation to their parents or directly to the police.
If little girls who have not reached a seasoned age of reasoning are known to report to their parents or other relatives those members of their families who sexually molest them, should not girls at higher learning institutions be brave and sufficiently guided by the knowledge of their rights to report to higher authorities or to the courts teaching staff for any sexual abuse to which they are subjected?
Or is the country’s high rate of literacy or education merely a synonym of a paper-tiger?
Be that as it may, this pen humbly but strongly is of the opinion that those who ought already to have faced the firing squad include inverted chefs who brazenly poke their dirty fingers in the eyes of the law to blind it so that they might continue with their corrupt acts with carte blanche freedom.
Recently, the Anti-Corruption Commission said it was receiving threats from Cabinet ministers and political interference from high profile individuals, which hampered investigations of cases of corruption in line with its constitutional mandate.
The Commission no doubt has the names of those who thumb their noses at its work intended to cleanse society of crippling worms hibernating in its midst to enable the State to bear down hard on the offenders.
But if the powers that be turn a blind eye, instead of bearing red eyes, on the audaciously pugnacious alleged offenders the selfless efforts of the gallant sons and daughters of the soil alive today and those who remain interred in unmarked graves in foreign terrain along with povo who anchored the armed struggle here at home to bring about independence and freedom, law and order, will have been in vain.
After the Commissions damning report, law-abiding Zimbabweans obviously wait with their fingers crossed to see what action the powers that be will take against those whose lives are steeped in corruption, obviously to swell their bellies at the expense of the nation as a whole.
According to Dr Gandawa, the law being drafted will have the power to cancel certificates and degrees of leaders and lecturers caught on the wrong thus relegating them to the dustbin of history.
Those erecting roadblocks in the way of the Anti-Corruption Commission carrying out its legal duty deserve to be weeded out of any official duty in which they are engaged in our society and be consigned to the dustbin of history because they are a danger to Zimbabwean society.
Also, newspaper columns have been replete with loud reports about some leaders helping themselves to state as well as to private company coffers, with the criminals in the former category not being made to sing the blues when, the public should have sneered and jeered at the convicts in prison garb picking trash or digging trenches at designated places under the supervision of no-nonsense, armed prison guards.
Money in the coffers of the state is contributed in tax by members of the public who sweat for it in hopes that the Government will use the finance for the betterment of lives of the general public.
Obviously the general public will want to see thieves languishing behind bars as a warning to potential thieves of state money to change their mind or else.
If such high profile thieves have qualifications both academic and professional cancelled, a warning will cascade down to every employee thief that state or private company funds are no-go areas for deft money pilfering fingers.
Then there are those political leaders accused of creating parallel structures at their workplace so that they have one foot in their party or government that feed them and the other foot in a structure for a government that they nicodemusly work to establish in the future when they think the time is ripe to ditch, or shove in the shade a mother who carried them on their back, feeding and cleaning them when they messed themselves up as they grew to be what they now are with visions different from those that guided them all through their political childhood.
Leaders in this category must be likened to hyenas in sheepskin and are probably more dangerous than the leaders at educational institutions who allegedly molest female students sexually.
They seem to go about their errant ways prepared that should any of their establishment superior or superiors say pwe — which they will regard as an air gun shot at them — they will respond with fusillade upon fusillade of bazookas and cause a political Armageddon in the country on the back of which they then hope to consummate their wishes to form a new political party and a new government with these characters at its helm.
So then, the longer these Machiavellians are allowed to hibernate, unexposed, in a political party, especially one in power, the more dangerously they will gnaw at political unity, peace and national stability in the country.
Perhaps, or so this student of politics, sociology and international relations believes, political parties that waged the armed struggle to bring the independence and freedom of which political mischief-makers take advantage, made a cardinal blunder by not continuing relentlessly, and ceaselessly, after independence with the politicisation of adults and born-frees for the revolution to stay on course.
That way, those who fled from the warfront or were secret sellouts of the struggle as it gained momentum would have been made to continue to support the revolution by resisting temptations or money offered by imperialists to our people to support contemporary imperialism with hegemony as its target.
No Zimbabwean — or any other African elsewhere on the continent either should live under an illusion that imperialists we fought and defeated, losing the lives of many young men and women, conceded defeat once and for all. Never ever.
Nor should any black believe that those imperialists who give opposition political parties money to carry out their activities against incumbent governments love black people and treat them as equal human beings.
The opposite happens to be the case. Contemporary imperialists – a new breed from the old colonial masters, want to use black people anywhere and everywhere on earth as cats’ paws to get what they lack in their own native countries, which include the mineral or other, rich natural resources with which God endowed our people and which former colonial states lack.
Former colonial powers use their money in the form of aid for strategic gain which is the perpetuation of contemporary imperialism.
If African opposition political parties funded by former colonial powers get into power themselves and resist directives from their financial benefactors, arguing that they and not the foreigners are now in charge of their own affairs, they step on slippery ground.
Angered by the rebuff the financiers are wont to groom another opposition political party by funding it to take over power from the “stubborn beneficiaries of our money” or something like that.
A vicious cycle is put on course as long as new opposition governments refuse to continue as running dogs of imperialism.
What this suggests to our fellow African people is that whatever money is given as aid to Africans from foreign powers it should come on terms agreed by both givers and recipients.
That means the amounts provided and the interests on repayments should be the sole conditions for the deals and nothing more.
That puts financial aid and repayments with interest good business. Any additional conditions by the financial giver become exploitative.
What this then suggests is that ruling political parties in Africa and their opposition counterparts should sit around the table and agree a social, economic and political agenda for the development of their country.
Any party that falls asleep on the agreed national, developmental formula should then wake up to discover that the rug has been pulled away from underneath its feet for the other party to continue with a more rigorous pursuit of the agreed agenda.
That way peace, stability, political maturation and national development will achieve its desired goals.
So what does the above suggest?
The answer can only be: A aluta continua.
But, of course, the struggle will continue at full-throttle and to its desired goals only if Zimbabweans, all of our people, demonstrate the fear of God, not of demons or political gurus or of men of the cloth because neither of these will ever become parallels of God, the Most High.
The fear of God means that He alone, our Creator and Creator of the universe should receive complete pre-eminence from all of our people in order for us to consummate our desires and goals.
In this regard the fear of God and not the fear of demons or of political heavy weights or of preachers as human beings as these are never parallels of our Creator and the Creator of the universe.
But guess what?
Educated fools, like the ones critiqued above — people behest of the knowledge of God, of what the Lord loathes and what he commends — are the root causes of most of the upheavals rocking the global village today.