WHEN I was asked to join the Zimbabwe Independent in 2016 by my brother Dumisani Muleya, I was earning tonnes of money and enjoying my craft as a freelancer after years of running the biggest newspapers in this country.
I thought hard and long about the implications of taking a massive pay cut. My idea was to come on board for only a few months, get a feel of things and make an exit. But here we are, four years down the line.
Sadly, the time to leave has now arrived. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I was given to serve my country. Journalism has changed forever — and we must change with it.
In recent days, I have been labelled a “subversive” journalist by one of the most powerful men in the Zimbabwean state. I take it as a badge of honour.
As journalists, the moment we stop speaking truth to power, we become complicit in the orgy of mindless political vandalism that has reduced the Zimbabwean people’s heroic quest for Independence into a tragic caricature of unmitigated African failure. A lapdog press does not serve the public interest.
Citizens must continue believing in their dreams, no matter what — because in the absence of hope, what else do they have? I have travelled the world and seen how simple happiness can be. A better quality of life does not necessarily come from luxuries. A square meal, access to clean drinking water, good healthcare, a decent education for children, opportunities for growth. The convulsions Zimbabweans have been experiencing since the fall of Robert Mugabe are a test of faith. Like an absolutely knackered traveller in the desert who mistakes a mirage for a pool of much-needed water, most people wrongly thought they had finally seen the Promised Land. Did we really come to terms with the ruinous nature of authoritarian kleptocracy during Mugabe’s 37 years in power or are we just a cowardly bunch of charlatans masquerading as educated people? When we have suffered enough, real change will come.
We must assert our rights as citizens of a 21st century constitutional republic and put up formidable resistance against anyone who would treat us as feudal subjects. And at some point we have to stop blaming politicians for everything that goes wrong. The citizens are ultimately responsible for the destiny of this country. But before that happens, they must overcome fear—the only obstacle that stands between the people of Zimbabwe and a better future.
Two days ago, I watched South African Broadcasting Corporation anchor Peter Ndoro interviewing Zimbabwe’s greatest living author, Tsitsi Dangarembga.
With amazing clarity, she explained how it feels to live under the shadow of a retrogressive political narrative imposed on Zimbabweans by Zanu PF. The party has desecrated the memory of African liberation. It is now the duty of every patriotic Zimbabwean — because this is the only country we call home — to rescue the republic in the national interest for posterity.