No hope under Mugabe

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HARARE – A state of mind that promotes the belief in good outcomes related to events and circumstances in one or the nation’s life, for example elections, is generally described as hope.

It is in reality a feeling which is wanted is a better and prosperous life that can be obtained or events will turn out for the best.

As the landmark election draws closer, I have no doubt that the generality of the Zimbabwean public is looking forward to something good with desire and confidence.

However, on election day, the power to deliver the change and hope that people have been waiting for vests with the very people whose future has hitherto been surrendered to a few wise minds in state offices.

If Robert Mugabe is re-elected as president, this will mark a continuation of the status quo ante as this can be hardly considered as representing the kind of change that will give direction to the future of the country.

He is after all a tried and tested leader whose world view does not require any interpretation.

The people of Zimbabwe have heard him so many times and yet remain poor and hopeless.

If his ideas on sovereignty, independence and patriotism had any traction with the majority of the people, the results of the constitutional referendum would have confirmed it.

The future that independence promised was hijacked in the name of the revolution and after 33 years of independence, it is clear the majority of citizens are less confident about the future than they were at independence.

In the faces and voices of the majority even those that wear Zanu PF regalia at rallies, it is self-evident that no one except the beneficiaries from the gravy train of independence is confident that if Mugabe is re-elected he will provide the economic salvation that they have been waiting for.

The turnout at Zanu PF rallies may be misleading but comforting for people who are not prepared to run on their record but on competitors’ presumed shortcomings.

The future that the people justifiably now expect with confidence can easily be stolen again by the use of money and hypocritical propaganda.

The fact that Zimbabweans need to turn a page in their history into a new one which can only be better is fairly self-evident.

Even Mugabe would agree that he has nothing new to offer and age is not on his side.

In Tanzania, President Julius Nyerere voluntarily retired and the same can be said of presidents Nujoma, Masire, Mogae, Chissano, and others in the Sadc region.

However, Mugabe does not trust that the country will be in safe hands if he were to retire.

In many cases, people who are confident in themselves invariably also have confidence in others.

Regrettably, within Zanu PF, there appears to be no one who has been able to convince Mugabe that the country belongs to the very people whose future has been compromised by his monopolisation of power.

The only saving grace is that Mugabe’s hegemony on party and State power has been frequently validated by the people through elections.

Who then is capable of changing Zimbabwe and giving it a new condition and a new destiny?

Can Zanu PF and Mugabe be trusted to deliver the hope and future that independence promised?

There is no doubt that the vote on July 31 will be the most important one since 1980 as the future is at stake. Can Mugabe re-invent himself?

Napoleon Bonaparte aptly said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” However, an experienced leader like Mugabe no longer has the luxury to deal in hope.

Hope can be a dangerous thing for it can lead one to believe that all things are possible when they may not be.

The people of Zimbabwe at this defining moment in the history of the country have to just believe in something otherwise the future really seems hopeless and full of confusion.

The people whose future is at stake have been there and have seen it all.

To hold out hope against hypocrisy and bankruptcy is the ultimate sign of stupidity.

To trust a person to do what they have repeatedly failed to do in the past will not advance any national interest.

It is clear that the people of Zimbabwe need the conviction to do what is needed to be done; despite the consequences that may visit them because I believe that in everyone’s heart this will be the best thing to do for the sake of the current and future generations.

The squandered opportunities that independence provided have been eroded not by the actions of other remote persons but by the dogmatic approach to life that is characteristic of people who believe that they are indispensable and dependable dealers in hope.

History has shown that a leader who does the right things will leave the legacy of greatness and effectiveness.

It is true that Zimbabwe would not find itself where it is now if the incumbents were effective leaders.

To the extent that Mugabe is a candidate for the post of president, it is important that the focus should be on his leadership style and experience to establish if this is what the country needs.

The fact that the international community led by the West has refused to remove the remaining sanctions until after the elections, speaks volumes about the causal link between the removal of sanctions and regime change.

If the West trusted Mugabe, there would hardly be any need of linking the removal of sanctions to the holding of a free and fair election.

If one were to imagine the state of Zanu PF outside the four walls of the state, one can understand why the countries that have imposed sanctions would seem to be more apprehensive about Zimbabwe’s future.

It is common cause that the source of Zanu PF’s election funds is not from member dues but from opaque and undisclosed sources.

Everything that Mugabe says and does is treated as national news and is reported as such principally in the State media.

After 33 years in office, the image of what it means to be president has regrettably been personalised and, therefore, a wrong person may very well be re-elected precisely because citizens of Zimbabwe have been denied the opportunity to know differently.

What is clear is that if Mugabe is re-elected, it is unlikely that the West will openly embrace the outcome.

Even Mugabe knows that the country needs the goodwill and support of the West as was the case at independence.

Such support is unlikely to be forthcoming unless he loses the election and this prospect instils fear in any incumbent.

I have chosen to add my voice and face to the battle of ideas that needs to be prosecuted in the hope that the people in whose name the holding of elections is important can pause and reflect on what will advance the cause of progress and development.

Zanu PF now claims that it will use resources from indigenisation and mineral assets to recapitalise some State-owned financial institutions should it win the harmonised elections set to be held on July 31.

Such claims are contained in the party’s manifesto titled “Indigenise, Develop and Create Employment.”

It is proposed that the party will miraculously capacitate largely bankrupt State-owned financial institutions as follows: IDBZ to the tune of $5 billion, Agribank — $2 billion and Sedco, a financing vehicle for small to medium-sized businesses, to the tune of $300 million.

Dreams are usually a precursor to great things but when dreams are underpinned by wrong ideas, a nightmare is predictably always the outcome.

It is common cause that Zimbabwe is a failed State and the institutions that were formed to assist financially in the development process find themselves in 2013 broke.

The so-called indigenisation and empowerment programme is now proposed as the source of funds to be applied towards the recapitalisation of failed institutions forgetting that any asset transfer process does not create new wealth and for such funds to be deployed towards the intended objectives they must be in existence in the first place.

For a country that has struggled to mobilise election funds to the dream of possessing substantial funds for development after the event of voting escapes my mind especially when the currency is the green buck.

Can anyone take a party that believes in voodoo economics seriously?

Having taken people for granted for too long, it is clear that there will be no end to the abuse.

Indigenisation has nothing to do with development and employment creation.

The policy is derived from a serious misunderstanding of the relationship between the colonial state and the settlers.

A future that is premised on robbing X to empower Y is doomed to fail.

Switzerland, for example, is where it is — not because of minerals and land — but due to the creativity and resourcefulness of its people.

The State can only play a part in the enterprise of poverty reduction, employment generation and reduction of income inequality but it cannot be a substitute of what is required to make countries move forward i.e free people underpinned by the respect of the rule of law and human and property rights.

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