ZIMBABWE will mark its 33rd anniversary as an independent nation next Thursday.
Zimbabwe Independent Editorial
Predictably, there will be countrywide events, brightly-coloured national flags hoisted and President Robert Mugabe’s uniform speeches read by provincial governors nationwide.
Besides Mugabe’s soporific speeches, there will be many other largely symbolic events happening around the country.
Naturally there will be some official hype or at least references to the history of the liberation struggle, tirades against political rivals and Western countries, harping on Mugabe’s past heroics, and Zanu PF politicking.
The political air will be redolent with historical and hidebound stuff; not forward thinking needed beyond sterile rhetoric and justifications of misrule.
The land reform programme, indigenisation and sanctions are often used to cover up national failure.
In the process, Mugabe and his Zanu PF loyalists will briefly try to imprison our national consciousness in exhausted formalisms– the sort of gibberish people are now tired of as it does not make any material difference in their lives.
The good thing though is people are no longer fooled by this.
So instead of wasting our energies singing praises for Mugabe and his party, we need to use Independence Day to reflect on where we came from but most importantly assess where we are and think deeply about where we are going.
We cannot forever continue reminiscing about the past, ignoring current issues and our future as if Zimbabwe was the only colonised country in the world. The history of slavery and colonialism is well-documented, so we don’t need to be lectured on that. What we want are ideas, policies and programmes addressing current issues and the future.
People are certainly sick to death of vacuous rhetoric and promises. They want action and delivery. Time for rambling speeches about the past, never the present and future, is long gone.
In this age of social media, dishonest nationalist posturing and Orwellian propaganda which, together with leadership and policy failures, in the first place led us down this blind alley no longer work.
For a change, Mugabe and his party must next week take time to reflect. They must ask themselves whether this is the kind of Zimbabwe they themselves and many others, dead and alive, fought for.
Zimbabweans must take stock of the country’s successes and failures. Without being defensive, let’s ask ourselves what went wrong, why, and what is to be done going forward.
Admittedly there are many narratives to the Zimbabwean story –– a post-colonial tragedy in many respects –– but our problems are mostly self-inflicted. Let’s talk frankly about that and find a way forward.
Mugabe’s departure alone will not resolve these problems but certainly it will be a good start. At 89 and frail, Mugabe, especially given his corrupt and incompetent regime’s record of misrule, no longer has anything useful to offer. Zanu PF in particular must be honest about this.
They should stop lying about why the country is in such a mess. We all know the truth.
Instead of remaining hapless Mugabe hostages, we must all stand up and be counted. Let’s use Independence Day to reflect on issues and the future of the nation.