HARARE – Only an outsider will talk of taking back an economy but one would not expect, for example, a tenant, in the house of the people, to talk of taking back something that they have possession of already.
If I give my car to someone, for instance, it is not up to the beneficiary driver to hallucinate about where true ownership lies.
The people of Zimbabwe are the true owners of the nation-State called Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a democracy whose leaders are elected by the people.
Even President Robert Mugabe, the incumbent knows truly well who the boss is otherwise he would not bother campaigning for votes.
One of the most precious rights in the Constitution is the right set out in Section 67(3)(a) that provides that every Zimbabwean citizen who is of or over 18 years of age has the right to vote in all elections to which the Constitution or any other law applies, and to do so in secret.
Even in democracies like Zimbabwe, the government controls the press, and there is very little opportunity, or none, for genuine free speech.
Although Section 61 provides for the freedom of expression and freedom of the media, writing like I do has the tendency of being misunderstood and, therefore, deterring many would be commentators.
The last 33 years have produced absurd occurrences including violence where citizens sought to express their views openly.
As a result, citizens have taken the view that silence secures a peaceful life than asserting a right that other democracies confer on citizens.
We have seen people attending rallies in record numbers but what is in the minds of such people will remain a secret until the decision day.
Mugabe may not know why people are attending his rallies as there are people paid by the State to keep him permanently ignorant of the true state of affairs.
Citizens of Zimbabwe, generally feel that their voices do not count and, therefore, choose to reserve their rights.
The absence of an open market place of ideas on how the country should move forward is an indictment on the incumbents for they have an obligation in terms of the constitution to ensure that the rights enshrined in it are respected and obeyed.
In terms of Section 67(1)(a), every Zimbabwean has the right to a free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office but in reality the last 33 years have exposed a strange phenomenon where this right presumably without the knowledge of President Mugabe has been subjected to partisan politics.
I am persuaded by Mugabe’s recent statements on vote rigging when he said: “We are a mature people. We are not having elections for the first time. Some people elsewhere thought we were starters, we are not political starters.
“We have held elections before, good elections. We have never rigged elections. MDC people say we are rigging; but that’s politics. They know for certain we don’t rig elections. Never ever.”
Notwithstanding Mugabe’s world view on election rigging, there are people who believe that he is the chief rigger of elections yet no concrete evidence exists that he would be so stupid to allow the voluntary emergence of an inclusive government.
Even enlightened people choose Mugabe’s sincerity when he proclaims that he has never been an election cheat.
The last 33 years have seen regular elections but as to their fairness and freeness, this will always be a debatable issue depending on which side one is.
To Zanu PF, elections have with the exception of the last two, been free and fair.
However, to people who seek change, they have been unfair and not so free.
Among African democracies, Zimbabwe has a good record of holding regular elections but it is generally the case that people who believe elections do not matter may have done more damage than the people they accuse of rigging.
One of the basic rights enshrined in all the post-colonial constitutions is the right to vote yet many people do not take this seriously.
The record number of registered voters suggests that Zimbabweans in general understand and appreciate the power of the vote to change the direction of the country.
The vote of the poorest of the poor is just as important as Mugabe. On election day, Mugabe will collapse to the level of this marginal hypothetical man and woman.
If people want to take back their economy from the blind drivers, there is no better and less violent manner than to use pen and paper to express one’s true will.
Even Mugabe needs to know the genuine feelings about his performance as a driver of the car of independence.
Should he be trusted to drive for even one marginal kilometre?
If people vote for Zanu PF, they have no one to blame for what will happen.
It will be utter irresponsibility for people to blame a winner when forewarned.
Mugabe’s party is campaigning on the basis that they want to take back the economy when they should be telling the people what they have done to damage the very car they wish to steal from themselves.
Mugabe has been a glorified prisoner who has been exposed to professional liars dressed as patriotic Zimbabweans some of whom have been permanent faces in his cabinet because they are now experts at knowing what the Chief Magistrate wants to hear.
On election day, it is the time of voters to take their voices and power back. Without the consent of the voting public, Mugabe is just another Zimbabwean pulling his or her wagon of life.
If people vote, and there is no doubt that they will in record numbers, they must know that their vote is a secret.
Throughout the history of mankind, sustainable changes have been made by those who organised, networked, joined forces, and expressed opinions openly as I attempt to do.
Violence has no place for what needs to happen.
Some continue to argue that Mugabe will not be prepared to vacate office if he were to lose the elections.
However, for people who know him well, they will tell you that he is a genuine but misunderstood man.
His history provides no evidence that he will defy the outcome of a process that he has always voluntarily participated in.
His competitors must now invest in knowing the man and what he stands for.
Even in defeat, there is no doubt that he will assist any transition that is necessary but one has to cross the bridge first before speaking about reforms that may be irrelevant if Zanu PF wins the elections.
Even the Civil Rights Movement for African-Americans met seemingly invincible and vicious opposition, yet the justice of their cause prevailed.
Battles for social and political change are generally won when a few decide to get involved, to speak up as I do, and even risk their lives as many have done in the quest for a just and inclusive society.
After the liberation struggle that we are constantly reminded about, it will not be necessary to risk one’s life to participate in making the change that Zimbabwe urgently needs and deserves.
Voting is one reliable way to raise one’s voice and is an important part of being a Zimbabwean citizen.
Mugabe deserves to know what people feel about being passengers in a car going nowhere slowly.
Zimbabwe at 33 should be somewhere closer to a destination that independence promised.
The fact that Mugabe is campaigning on the back of events and circumstances that are older than 33 years must be a cause of concern to anyone who is 33 years old and younger.
Mugabe’s children have been waiting for an inclusive message yet find themselves communicating with their father on events that occurred before they were born.
This message disconnect can only be remedied effectively when people are able to see through propaganda and cheap slogans like “taking back our economy” as if anyone had stolen an economy of sovereign people.
The racism inherent in the statement “taking back our economy” must also be a source of concern to the men and women from the East who are told during the day that by investing in Zimbabwe today they are safe when the underlying message is that a Chinese, for example, will never be an authentic son or daughter of the soil, and, therefore, what may be his on paper belongs to the politically anointed few who must share by virtue of the operation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment laws.
The people must look at July 31 as the day of taking back their house called Statehouse and also the assets under the control and administration of the State so that a new occupant who respects the people can assume office and be the servant that the Constitution compels him to be.