ONE of the hardest qualities to possess in life is learning who to trust. Itâ€™s a sign of maturity when individuals and nations acquire the judgement to know who to trust and who to be wary of.
Slowly, with experience we discover the people who will not let us down; we know they will be there when we need them and do what is right for us, the people who trust them. Elections are occasions when we get the chance to exercise that judgement on a national level.
At Independence in 1980 we trusted Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF to do what was right for us as a nation. We, the people, gave Mugabe the power that he has enjoyed for 28 years.
One of the hardest truths for Zimbabweans to accept is that our trust was misplaced. We look around and see a nation tearing itself apart. We no longer know who to trust; Mugabe has succeeded in turning what was once a trusting â€” some would say naÃ¯ve â€” and united people into a fractured collection of individuals who are no longer sure who to trust. We have lost faith in each other and in our leaders (traditional, political and even religious). Mugabe and Zanu PF have almost destroyed the moral fibre of our society.
We have repeatedly been told by Mugabe and his followers that the only thing that counts is loyalty to the ruling party, anything less is betrayal. MDC supporters and anyone else who dares to think differently are branded traitors. According to the ruling party, liberation credentials are still the only criteria of the true patriot. That is the Zanu PF mantra, the very basis of their belief that only they are entitled to rule Zimbabwe through whatever crooked means they choose.
Enter one Simba Makoni. Where was Makoni during Murambatsvina? Where was he when MDC leaders were being beaten to a pulp? Where was Makoni when the brave women of Woza were arrested and beaten for handing out roses on Valentineâ€™s Day or when the police repeatedly misused their powers against the NCA to prohibit any form of demonstration? Where was he when our economy was diving into free fall, when education and healthcare were being destroyed? Where was Makoni when the press was being muzzled and all dissent was being crushed?
The answer to all these questions is that Makoni was nowhere to be seen. Not once did he raise his voice in protest. Instead he was there at the heart of the ruling party, part of the machinery of a government that sanctioned all the repressive legislation designed to keep Zanu PF in power. All his political life, Makoni has been an integral part of the ruling party and now he tells us that he will bring about change through “national re-engagement” â€” whatever that means!
Zimbabweans are amazingly prepared to put their trust in a man like Makoni, who states quite categorically that he is not against Zanu PF, not against Robert Mugabe. Have they forgotten why they are in the mess they are in? Zimbabweans have short memories it seems.