Think...again of freedom

HARARE - It might not entail going back to 1980 and even further than that. But it would certainly be useful for you to recall how it was that the people of Zimbabwe, en masse, decided to rise up against foreign oppression and sacrifice their lives for their future and that of their children.

It was an awesome decision, especially when you remember that 40 000 lives were lost as a result.

On my return to the country in 1980, a friend griped constantly about his missing son, who had joined the struggle.

Where was he? He asked of no-one in particular. It seemed to him that everybody else’s son and daughter had returned alive and well from the war.

My friend tried to renew acquaintances with old friends who might have “inside” information on the whereabouts of “missing freedom fighters”.

As I write this, 30-something years after the event, there has been no news about his son. You can imagine his agony. He speaks of ulcers and a never-ending struggle against alcoholism. He is into prayer and drugs against schizophrenia.

He is not the only one enduring this agony. There are many others who have no doubts at all — they know their children died during the war. All they can do is try to endure the agony, or to believe that it was for a good cause and the Lord — or Allah — would look after them.

In these times of impending tragedy — our political crisis could degenerate into something worse — it is wise to be solid of spirit and abundantly filled with hope.

If we allow the situation to deteriorate, who else can we blame — except ourselves?

For everyone — politicians, civil servants, judges and lawyers, teachers, professors, train drivers, pilots and air hostesses and cooks and waiters — it is time to review our lives.

We won — that is an inescapable fact. We fought the enemy, tooth and nail, and came out victorious. Thousands of our own people died. But we all know it was worth it.

We fought the good fight and won. We cannot, under any circumstances, lose this war.

This is a war to prevent us from degenerating into the lazybones, the nitwits and the laggards who would not have stood up against the white settlers, with whom we duelled and, eventually, defeated.

Yes, we made mistakes, some of them of enormous proportions. Our determination this time around is not to repeat those blunders. This might mean not choosing as leaders the same buffoons who made those terrible mistakes the last time around.

In real terms, what it translates into is to swear against the temptation to be lured into a nest of corruption, which was the cause of our failure the last time around.  

What we are now fighting against is corruption — pure and simple. There will be no letting up in the fight against this curse. We have set up an anti-corruption unit, presumably with all the surefire accessories that would make it foolproof.

We know now that this has not worked before. If there had been 100 percent certainty of it all working according to plan, we would never have fallen into the same trap as before.

The tendency, as usual, is to re-examine our leadership. Does that sound like an attitude of tiredness, of going around the same merry-go-round? Let’s examine it carefully.

Why should we not re-examine the leadership anew? Is there anywhere where it is decreed that such leadership could be infallible — or endowed with such talent that it cannot be faulted?

If that is not the case, let’s go for it.

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