Time nowto stand up and be counted in Zimbabwe

2013-09-02 00:00

THE silly season of free cellphone vouchers, gallons of scarce cooking oil and free goats is over. Promises were made and now they must be kept.

Although it took very little to convince those in Muzarabani [a rural district situated along the Mozambique and Zimbabwe border] to vote for Zanu-PF and act illiterate, some of us in the urban areas are now waiting with much expectation after our disappointment and utter shock.

His Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe must now deliver to us to soothe the pain. That is the least he can do.

We have all mourned and I think now is the time for us to accept those things that we cannot change and rather focus on those that we can. We can, indeed, change how we feel about the future and how we must engage the coming government.

We can shape the future, yes we can! We must make the best of the worst.

We must now choose to stand up and be counted as we shape our country in the next five years with Zanu-PF in charge, whether we like it or not.

It is now evident that the challenges we are facing can never be captured in a popular political manifesto, nor can they be fathomed by a politburo of yesteryear. Despite our downheartedness, we dare not revert to our past behaviours as passive participants in our country of birth. The quality of leadership we get will define who we become, but more important will be the quality of followers we become.

After listening to the president’s inauguration speech, I am convinced that he is aware of what has to happen, but I wonder whether he has available to him the resources required, and the character of men and women who must assist him.

Time will tell. It cannot be business as usual. It is my view that, despite the fact that our country has so many talented people, politics has a tendency of shutting out people based on their political loyalties.

Because of that, we have tended to operate at a less than optimum level.

However, as ordinary citizens we must now reject this and ensure that we all contribute positively to the future and apply our skills.

The revival of agriculture cannot happen when the majority of our farmers expect seed hand-outs each year from the government, and operate their businesses like tuck shops. It cannot happen when we shut out farmers who have the necessary experience and expertise, simply because they were born white. We must feed the nation.

The revival of our mining sector will not help to feed us until participation in this industry is broadened so that it is not only the “chiefs” who benefit. We expect the government to account for resource earnings, while removing political barriers to allow entry for all.

The delivery of services to citizens through local government will not happen as long as we have a minister who manages by decree.

We must refuse to comply.

Indigenisation will result in the concentration of wealth in a few hands as long as it remains a political process and not one that is driven by the private sector.

Our ideas must be implemented to our benefit.

Zimbabwe will not have adequate skills available to it as long as we shut out those in the diaspora, and those whose world views differ from that of our politicians.

We are tired of party politics and the disregard of skilled Zimbabweans because of their race or political affiliation. We must expose this.

Zimbabweans not only want peace — for them, Morgan Tsvangirai offered a new chapter, a new beginning, and the challenge is now for Zanu-PF to prove us wrong.

Despite our president’s intentions, as long as we have dark streets in Highfields, clinics with no medicine and the stress of finding clean drinking water; as long as we have graduates selling airtime vouchers, and uncollected rubbish in Mbare, we shall forever wonder how things could have been.

Perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt, but in my mind if, in a little while, nothing has changed fundamentally, then we shall know that the promises made to us by the president were empty.

The only exciting thing about the future is that we can shape it.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, it is time to wipe away our tears and to stand up and be counted.

Now is not the time to hope and wait; it is time for concerted effort by all of us to create a new democracy, and, if necessary, force matters so that we ensure that Mugabe delivers.

I am ready, are you? — Politicsweb.

• Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. Contact him at


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