No more excuses. Yes, sanctions are there. It is true that they are real. It is also true that they cause untold suffering but a revolutionary party should find a revolutionary way around such. If not, then what’s revolutionary about it? Corruption is a big problem; this is an area that needs some ruthless revolutionary solutions. China is showing its revolutionary spirit but a proper Zero tolerance to corruption that those that want to be greed have to wait until they come to Africa where they will face nothing but “bad press”
This week this column will just run an introspective critique of the revolutionary party. This might be an uncomfortable reading for a lot but this column is not there for its entertainment value. It is there to add value to the discourse including jolting the powerful into keeping an eye on the ball. Somebody said that writers should not play to the passions and prejudices of their leaders, for they have enough cheerleaders to do that. When leaders are looking for ululations for the10 houses they have built, writers and columnists should be able to ask why 10 when there was a potential to build 60? Many leaders do not like it. They want praise based on the nostalgia of their achievements. But the mindsets of the people do not work like that.
The way they work is, if you give them a road then fine, but we have no electricity, when electricity supply improves (as is the current situation in Zimbabwe) they will point to erratic water supply. When this is improved they will remind you that there are no jobs. This will continue until the socio-economic situation of the people is optimised. Sometimes the leadership choose not to pursue this incessantly. They conclude that people are hard to please. But development is progressive. It is an elusive destination which all well meaning politicians should pursue all the same. There are no fixed goalposts. You score on one then another pops up and you have to score on that one too and then the next and next. This is the reason why people dismissively say, “we don’t eat history”. This is because those achievements of yesteryear are deemed pointless if they cannot solve today’s problems.
Our revolutions should be about positively transforming the nation. Is Zanu PF a revolutionary party or it is a former revolutionary party. It revolutionised education. It revolutionised the land reform with all its mistakes but it was a revolution all the same. If the indigenisation effort had been done with a genuine and well-thought through non-self-serving way, it would have been a revolution. The thinking is still revolutionary. These revolutions were meant to bring about social justice. But the tolerance of corruption has turned them into what many see as a means of self-enrichment by a few. For where is the social justice in diamonds being discovered in under one’s home and instead of celebrating one shudders at the prospect of displacement and nothing more. Those villagers that celebrated an anticipated windfall they bear the bitterness of betrayal. For theirs Kwaiva kupemberera mombe dzasabhuku padhibha iwe usina kana pekuvakira danga (It was synonymous to a villager celebrating the headman’s fat herd of cows when he himself does not have even a small piece of land for a cattle kraal). No social justice either mean a betrayed revolution, a hijacked revolution or a failed revolution. The nation hopes one day to know.
Make no mistake, there are people that benefitted from each and every one of the revolutions and swear by it. But equally there many who scoff at the revolution because all they see and experience is poverty which they attribute to that revolution. Last week this column was about the Agrarian Revolution taking place in Zambia where peasants are producing maize in excess. It is such revolutions with socio-economic benefits which make people proud and of a revolution and find it easy to defend.
Our revolution is not a system that enriches a few and leaves the rest in abject poverty needing hand outs from the powerful thus making them have more power over them. That is not what the revolution is about. That is a description of a self-serving revolution. Our revolution is not influence peddling. That again makes the powerful more powerful and the poor weaker. A poor and disempowered populace celebrate mediocrity. Anyone that that challenges insipid leadership is considered a counter-revolutionary. No comrades counter-revolutionaries are those that turn against a revolution by personalising it and its benefits.
In the past this column has said the rich and powerful elite are treating workers worse than the former colonisers. This is the lot that cannot make a distinction between their family estate and the company in which they are directors. They can’t distinguish what’s national and what’s personal. This columnist refuses to be part of any class that want to describe anyone scrounging to eke a living as “informally employed”. To call someone weaving between cars on Samora Machel Avenue selling trinkets that netting them $1.37 profit plus a bottle of water from a motorist employed is an insult. People cannot change the unemployment definition just to fit a political rhetoric. The revolution needs to be reconstructed if it is to move from political declamatory into real socio-economic transformation for our people.
The revolution is not about educated people with poor sanitation, unclean water, no jobs, impoverished urban folks exercising peasantry in urban areas and equally impoverished rural folks relying on food for work for survival. This is a sign of a revolution that has lost its way. A revolution is about personal pride and feel good factor because of the dignity which is brought about by an enabling and facilitative environment. When that personal feel good factor translates into a national feel good factor, that is patriotism.
It is good hundreds of thousands were given land. That was empowering. It was equally good that mines should exercise enforced Corporate Social Responsibility in hosting and adjacent communities. That is a revolutionary way of thinking. But there is nothing revolutionary about calling camera, lights, and action when these companies will never convert a symbolical dummy cheque into real cash in the bank. That is a sign of a cheated revolution.
This is because revolutions change people’s lives positively and in a sustained way. Restorative justice is revolutionary. But reverse racism is bigotry. If children are taught hate all they will know is bitterness all their lives. That is not revolutionary. Revolutions frown on all kinds of injustice. They are or at least they should be blind to who the perpetrator is. This is why those that fought Colonialism and Imperialism are are called revolutionaries because they brought a new social order.
The new social order should not be full of its own injustices. Independence that came through conscious revolutions should reflect a glaring contrasting social behaviour. Not the aloofness that has been known to be a common post-revolution trait. Not the imperviousness to grievances accusations that are beginning to ring true. Let the aftermath of a revolution deal with the people transparently.