Are we still a nation?


IN the wake of the seemingly insurmountable problems that have been affecting our economy in recent weeks, my attention has been drawn to a compelling observation by an anonymous writer.
The year is 1805 and this thinker is making an analysis of what nationhood is and should be about.
Let us hear what this thinker has to say:
“There cannot be a firmly established political state unless there is a teaching body with definitely recognised principles. If the child is not taught from infancy that he ought to be a republican or a monarchist, a Catholic or a free-thinker, the state will not constitute a nation; it will rest on uncertain and shifting foundations; and it will be constantly exposed to disorder and change.”
What this means is that, for a nation in which unity, peace and development are the anchor, children must be imbued with ideals, ideas and values of the same.
This, they must be taught at a tender age.
And they must be seized with these lessons till eternity.
Most liberation struggles were anchored on the principles of unity, peace and development while most of the people who took part in those struggles were young.
These young men and women were inspired by the need for freedom.
They had insatiable appetite for economic empowerment and development.
Crucially, they were driven by patriotism, a word that many in our beloved nation resent for one reason or another.
There has been a disturbing trend in Zimbabwe where some wish their country ill.
We spoke about it at length in our previous instalments but this is a nagging ailment that seems not to be leaving us anytime soon.
We have to be careful about the direction that we are taking as a nation.
And there are some brutal truths that we have to tell each other without fear or favour.
We have to locate the source of our problems.
In the first instance is the compelling fact that what we call our education has never been one that gives prominence to what is important to us as a people and as a nation.
But before we even go there, let us tell each other straight in the face that we have yet to really define and decide what our values are.
When we complete that process of defining and deciding those values, we should then decide what to do with them.
Our education system comes as a result of deciding what we want as a people and as a nation.
I am trying, as a writer and as a citizen of this country, to understand how one finds glory in the death of his/her economy.
I am still to come to terms with how unjustified price increases bring value to any sane people.
How a people are divided along political lines over an economy whose performance or lack thereof has a significant bearing on everyone boggles the mind.
Because of our lack of values, our chronic lack of the national interest, we have a certain group that wishes for their country to fail and subsequently find ‘value and glory’ in that.
Zimbabwe is not about to fall.
We are going through a rough patch whose wounds will heal, one way or the other.
With what is going on in our country — the fuel shortages, the artificial shortages of basic commodities and the panic buying — one gets the feeling that somewhere, somehow, someone is playing with a calculator to manipulate our economy.
One gets the feeling there are some political demands that have to be met before our economy can be steered back on track.
This writer suggests that the time for those political discussions has come and gone and that the country has to move forward.
We cannot continue to be held to ransom by political egos of sore losers who believe they have the ‘keys’ to this country’s prosperity.
They do not have those purported keys.
They do not hold our future in their leaky hands.
They do not hold this country’s destiny in their hands.
We have our fate in our own hands.
We hold the keys to our prosperity in our own hands.
We have the roadmap to our future as a people, without undue influence or threats.
We will rise from the ashes to thrive.
We will build our Zimbabwe far away from the madness of saboteurs.
We know what we want as a people and our destiny beckons while the future could not be any brighter.
Let me again draw from another thinker so we can drive home our discussion for this week.
In 1990, Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm, historian, social theorist and author, told us about how to make nations stronger.
Says this thinker:
“States would use the increasingly powerful machinery for communicating with their inhabitants, above all the primary schools, to spread the image and heritage of the ‘nation’ and to inculcate attachment to it,” and that “the official or culture language of rulers and elites usually came to be the actual language of modern states via public education and other administrative mechanisms.”
This analysis is as a clear as daylight.
We have to come up with mechanisms that ensure that we unite our nation.
We will not be distracted by Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti’s infantile sideshows — we have President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on our side.
Time will deal with the hollow noises that are being made by insipid critics.
We will become a nation when we learn to give time a chance.
Let those with ears listen.


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