THREE years and 10 months after the signing of the Global Political Agreement, and three years and five months into the life of the inclusive government, the most dominant force affecting Zimbabweans in their daily lives is fear; fear of physical harm, fear of material privation, fear of discrimination and fear of exclusion from community or national participation.
The irony of this situation is that, even those who are responsible for dispensing this fear on the whole nation, are themselves living in fear; fear of losing power and privileges, and fear of the future.
Therefore, the single most urgent task facing the nation, particularly those of us who are working for genuine change, is to help the people overcome this fear.
The national economy is still in decline. In spite of suggestions that the economy is growing, the reality on the ground is more families cannot put enough food on their tables, fewer children are going to school, and those few are learning less. As well fewer people can afford basic health and hygiene.
It is shameful that Zimbabweans are afflicted by cholera and typhoid, diseases that had long been eliminated in the country. More people are out of formal employment, while many more are in the informal trade.
Even the communal farmers, who for years were feeding the whole country and producing maize for export, now depend on food aid.
During the liberation struggle, our leaders, notably the late Joshua Nkomo, as leader of Zapu, the late Josiah Tongogara, as commander of Zanla, the late Herbert Chitepo, as national chairman of Zanu, and even Robert Mugabe, as president of Zanu, emphasised that the struggle was against an oppressive and discriminatory system. It bears recalling this lesson, because today we face a comparable situation.
If it was wrong for the colonial system to deny others their full rights, and it was right for such a system to be overthrown, is it any different now?
While others strive to keep or take power, we seek to exercise influence. Some seek to dominate others, we seek to participate and cooperate with others. Some seek personal benefits and privileges, we seek to serve and share with others.
Some use, even abuse others, especially women and the youth to entrench their positions and status. We seek community and equity with others. While some fear the future and find comfort and refuge in the past, we seek to secure the present and shape or create the future for all, without discrimination.
We are not motivated by negatives. We are not against Zanu PF. We are not against the MDCs. We are for the people.
We do not promise to do this, or give that to the people. Instead, we promise to facilitate and enable the people to do things for themselves, for their families, for their businesses, for their communities, and indeed, for their country.
We promise that we will remove the impediments that inhibit the people of Zimbabwe from doing things for themselves.
Dr Simba Makoni,