When even shame could not save us . . .

The election madness hung over our heads for some time, until the Constitutional Court made a ruling with regards to who had won the presidency.

guest column: Garikai Tunhira

Garikai Tunhira
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was finally declared winner, despite contestations by the opposition MDC Alliance.

He is now the country’s chief executive officer, accountable for every action or inaction.

Soon after elections, there were reports of intimidation, abductions and threats to lives of opposition activists.

Citizens hoped that Mnangagwa would shame the perpetrators.

There was hope that investors would pour their money into Zimbabwe, despite the country being a bottomless pit.

And there was hope that the invested money would not be chewed by the “usual suspects”.

The nation hoped companies would warm up to the “open for business” mantra and that jobs would be created.

Now, that Mnangagwa is the President is a fact.

That the ruling party won majority votes in the National Assembly is also indisputable.

The journey has begun. And it would seem some old traits have started springing back to life.

The fear of a return to former President Robert Mugabe’s ruinous populist policies has long tackled the country.

At first, the nation spoke in hushed tones, but seeing that the Second Republic is only, but a mirage, the murmurings have grown louder.

Today, one can see the despair in everyone’s eyes. Already, it’s a bumpy ride, and there is still five more years ahead of us.

The unease started on August 1, before announcement of the presidential results.

The authorities unleashed armed soldiers on the defenceless, protesting citizens.

What came out was carnage — seven lives were lost, several others were left nursing injuries.

The worst was it happened right in the glare of international election observers, with some foreign journalists even falling victim.

Those allegedly behind the shootings are denying it. The blame game is in full swing.

The military bosses say it’s either that a businessman or a militant arm of the opposition MDC Alliance killed the civilians on the fateful day.

Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and political activist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) once said: “Old men are dangerous; it does no matter to them what is going to happen to the world.”

That statement rings true in our minds.

Even where pictorial and video evidence is available for all to see, the army still claims soldiers fired warning shots only. I suppose those in high offices need to learn from South Africa.

Our neighbours south of the Limpopo managed to move on and heal because the perpetrators of apartheid quickly admitted their wrongs and resolved to work with the black populace.

Zimbabwe needs something of that sort. Without change, progress is impossible. It’s an axiom that “those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything”.

Today, we will try and say let us put the past behind us and chart a new path forward, but it may not be easy for victims of the government’s perennial ineptitude.

Surely, what is Zimbabwe when close to 90% of the citizens are suffering; when unarmed protesters are shot dead in the streets; when divergent views are crudely crushed in the face of democracy and when the Second Republic touts are failing the economy, indicating left and turning right?

Well, who are we? After all, Zimbabwe belongs to a minority, the ones who take up all contracts, those who dictate the direction with regards to natural resources sales, ones who dictate what currencies to use, and the ones who dictate supply and market chains.

Many a Zimbabwean has resigned themselves to fate. Said Henry W Longfellow: “For, after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”

But it’s wrong to fool ourselves into believing that it’s raining when in actual fact it’s the minority which is busy peeing on our heads.

Sooner or later, the risk to remain tight in a bud will be more painful than to burst out; blossom or wilt will be another thing.

My call to Zimbabweans is that we can never hit the target with our eyes closed. First, we should know exactly what we want, concentrate on those things and keep our eyes open until the next election. That way, we will get to where we want.

We should never ever lie to ourselves that those in power will make things better for us.

We are being sold false hope. We are being “stupid”. One way or the other, we are being sold lies. We are not going anywhere.

If anything, we are regressing. It only shows that even shame will not save us, not our shame, but their shame.

The truth of it all is that we are alone in this.

Last November had presented an opportunity for Mnangagwa and Morgan Tsvangirai (Nelson Chamisa) to carve a new path and bury the past evils, but that opportunity has eluded us all, it’s gone.

Politicking has taken centre stage. It’s suffer continue for us the masses.

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