Whither Zimbabwe: What’s holding back our desire for change?

With winter almost over, there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be no “winter of discontent”. Streets across the country are devoid of the anticipatory buzz that is a mundane precursor to any significant upheava. With the grizzly attack on Trudy Stevenson, theHarare North MP the main faction of the MDC pounded in the last nail on their coffin. And with this failure to deliver, Morgan Tsvangirai and his cronies have unwittingly failed to distinguish themselves as authentic politicians apart from the legacy of false prophets and self-aggrandizing impostures that have dominated Zimbabwe’s political landscape over the years.

Since (thankfully) the MDC does not represent the entirety of Zimbabweans who feel ZANU-PF is long past its’ due, I get asked why someone else hasn’t stepped into the void and galvanized the masses in a Nepal-style uproar. To be frank with you, on days like this I catch myself wondering what it is going to take for us, the laity in Zimbabwe, to take our destinty from the hands of fate and render our influence on what the future holds for us. In short, whither Zimbabwe; what is holding back our desire for change.

Eddie Cross thinks it’s the leadership not only in Zimbabwe but across the continent. That’s fine, I still refuse to lump an entire nation’s culpability on one single function in political machinary that makes up a succesfull country. Posterity manifestly bears out the fact that even more important than political leaders the world over, so called “followers” have consistently risen to the occasion when the leadership has failed, Nepal being the latest example.

So why not in Zimbabwe? We’ve already endure seven hears of a hellish economic meltdown. Parents have found themselves haplessly observing has the bread has been taken from their families plates, tables, and homes as inflation has roared out of control.

The answer might surprisingly simple if you were expecting a long political philosophical harangue.

It is fear.

There is no truth that has manifestedbetter itself than this; that we have a marked reticence for the unknown. From antiquity, we have always gotten by with making do with the situation that has been dealt us by fate. Zimbabweans developed a rare muster for survival during the imperial age when our means of production where taken from us. Later on when the colonialists refused to accord black Zimbabweans access to the economy and political power, we resourcefully got by. This precedent prevailed unchanged even after independence when the entire population learned to brace themselves during Mugabe’s numerous political philosophy oscillations. One moment it was socialism, the next it was capitalism: today there was ESAP, tomorrow it was NEPAD. Through all this Zimbabweans managed to survive.

It is this that ability that has kept us from pouring out onto the streets. If you come to Zimbabwe today you will be taken aback by the sheer genious that is enabling people to make ends meets.

But that ability has morphed into a thin vale for our fear a true change in the status quo. We refuse to let go of the familiar chosing instead to endure suffering with the miscreants we know. This is why talks of a post Mugabe Zimbabwe have failed to take off. We just can’t be brought to conceive of a Zimbabwe without Mugabe.

I am acutely aware that a large part of reticence of the public to step up the pressure on government stems from the fact that we have never done so in the past. We can’t handle the thought ourselves in the drivers seat of our own future. We are afraid of political self determination because we never really enjoyed this privilege.

Until the laity in Zimbabwe get over that little big fear, democracy will, sadly remain a distant dream in the distant future. But things can change so I remain hopeful.

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