POLITICAL oppression and foolishness brought the Rhodesian Front down. Instead of managing change through a controlled hand-over of power, Ian Smith precipitated a civil war.
Thankfully, he was forced to the negotiating table before many more young Zimbabweans were killed.
Similarly, a failed philosophy that led to economic mismanagement and corruption is bringing Zanu PF down.
Instead of allowing for a transition to new ideas and leadership within the ruling party (contrast China), Zanu PF opted for business as usual in the 90s — demagoguery under the same old leadership and persecution of voices within its ranks calling for change.
When real opposition inevitably arose at the beginning of the millennium, Zanu PF opted to ignore history and fought change by any means necessary.
To break the link between white commercial farmers and the opposition, they were prepared to virtually destroy commercial agriculture using the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, the Green Bombers and war veterans.
On the media they successfully used Jonathan Moyo with near-similar devastation for the independent media.
To control industry, banking and financial fields, they have turned to Gideon Gono using the central bank.
For the urban population and civil servants, the ZRP, army and CIO are used against their paymasters — the people.
In all this, both Smith and President Mugabe initially achieved their objectives and managed to hold onto power for some years. But they did not address the underlying problems.
Smith belatedly tried to use Abel Muzorewa and the late Ndabaningi Sithole to deliver “majority rule”.
And Mugabe and Zanu PF are trying it with their own “false economic prophet”. Yet, where is Smith and the RF today?
In these dark times when all seems bleak, it is worth reminding each other — be it again and again — that the only certainty in this life is change, and that it will not take a thousand years this time either.
* Rwendo is a pen name for an author writing from Borrowdale.