None but ourselves


THERE is a failure to grasp the fundamentals about this country, sometimes from extremely educated people, that makes one angry. You could forgive the cartoonist at Newsday the other day because he may not have the ruthless precision required for these things.
A few days ago, he drew a cartoon of President Mugabe driving a ramshackled vehicle on a long and winding road into a future that led back to 2008.
The symbolism is simplistic and straight forward — we will go nowhere until we go back to 2008: another series of political negotiations with what remains of the MDC, another election, another unity government, another future.
The group senior associate editor, whatever that is, at Alpha Holdings, Iden Wetherell, last week quoted at length some survey by some Western funded institution that claimed Zimbabweans were the poorest people in Africa.
He suggested we go back to 2008 to find our bearings to a future that will make us rich.
You could forgive him because he is white and there is no way he can see Zimbabwe from a black man’s point of view.
For example, he wouldn’t have taken up arms to fight Ian Smith to improve our lot, would he?
The truth is he is part of the people that came and colonised us and he cannot deny it.
Then you have the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) threatening government that workers might go on strike.
It’s reminiscent of the stay-aways of the late 90s.
What the ZCTU doesn’t realise is that the situation has changed.
The indigenisation programme has changed the fundamentals in industry.
The ownership structure is changing.
The possibility of owning shares in a company that one works for has altered industrial relations.
Today, the ZCTU cannot call for a general strike the way they did a decade ago and people heeded them.
They are not speaking to the same worker they spoke to a decade ago. How can someone stay-away from their own business?
If the situation on the ground hasn’t got to that point where workers are thinking like that, that is where the indigenisation programme is taking them to.
And if anyone thinks it’s too complicated for the ordinary person in the street to comprehend, they must look back at the results of the elections on July 31 where ZANU PF whitewashed the MDC.
The people understand the changing fundamentals.
When President Robert Mugabe received a standing ovation from South Africans at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg last November with Barrack Obama and David Cameron sitting across the terraces, someone remarked with amusement that was the man they claimed stole the elections in his own backyard!
The problem with whites in general and some foolish blacks is that they will continue to deny the truthfulness of the standing ovation in the FNB Stadium and the landslide victory on July 31 2013.
They will say President Mugabe planted his CIO in the stadium to trigger the ovation and that he rigged the elections.
They desperately want to believe their own lies.
That is part of the prevailing obstinacy to refuse to accept that the fundamentals of the country have changed.
We don’t expect Wetherell to understand how the Land Reform Programme has changed our lives.
He will quote statistics from surveys done by some organisation that claims we are the poorest people on the continent, but the truth is all the 50 small-holder recipients of land on the farm next to ours in Centenary now drive cars and one or two even bought a tractor.
When they came around 2002, most did not own a cow that mooed; now they all have.
This is the truth I live with outside Wetherell’s intimidating surveys.
A decade ago when the likes of Wetherell told the Zimbabwe story to the outside world, they claimed all those recipients were related to President Mugabe or linked to him one way or the other.
They still carry that delusion; that is why they continue to deny the July 31 2013 ZANU PF landslide victory.
There is a respected Zimbabwean intellectual, whose analysis and prediction of the outcome of the July 31 elections caught us all by surprise, including the former South African president, an undisputed intellectual himself, Thabo Mbeki.
Ibbo Mandaza claimed ZANU PF had alienated itself from the rural people and would lose the elections there.
It was puzzling because basic analysis pointed the opposite direction; the biggest beneficiaries of the land reform programme, in terms of numbers, were the rural people, about 400 000 households.
How that empowerment programme, driven by ZANU PF and resisted by the MDC so virulently would translate into reduced popularity for ZANU PF and endearment to the MDC was bizarre to comprehend.
That is why we persistently argue that some surveys are not driven by science, but by politics.
In some cases, surveys are done to deliberately determine outcomes.
How could Mandaza come out with such an obviously flawed, almost weird assessment?
What still remains of the MDC is calling on Zimbabweans to brace themselves for the tough times ahead, according to their shadow minister of labour, Paurina Mpariwa.
Douglas Mwonzora is calling for fresh elections as the solution to the country’s ‘crisis’.
What crisis?
Ordinarily, we would laugh them off, but their utterances affect the fate of our country and the lives of the people.
They didn’t learn anything at all from the horrible experience of sanctions that they called on the West to impose.
If they had any heart, they would have been moved by the tragedy and havoc the sanctions wreaked on the people whose welfare they purport they want to improve.
Last Tuesday we buried the mother of a fellow comrade in Gutu.
We went through Chivhu, Serima, Mpandawana, Magombedze, Chitsa and came back through Nyazvidzi, Murambinda, Nerutanga and Nharira.
Then a colleague summoned enough courage and remarked we could be in for a bumper maize harvest this season.
Everywhere along the way especially in Buhera and Gutu, the maize crop was healthy and tasseling.
A woman at the funeral whispered, as if she was afraid to frighten away the rain, the crop was reminiscent of the bumper harvest in 1980.
There might be no tough times ahead after all that Mpariwa is warning us about, only the good times.
The current pain and discomfort is inevitable in the dynamics of an economy that is changing hands.
There is no historical record of a smooth transfer anywhere.
In most cases, the process is characterised by war.
President Robert Mugabe has taken us to the criticial river and is calling us from the other side to cross and join him in a land that is truly our own.
But there will always be people like Mwonzora and Mpariwa who will not cross until Wetherell crosses or tells them to.
Crossing is also self-liberating.
Zimbabwe’s economic and social structure has changed irreversibly. Its case will not be understood using conventional textbook models. Professor Scoones of Sussex University tries to explain it to an unbelieving Western world: the Land Reform Programme is a success story!
When the majority have crossed, many people will not mind if Robert Mugabe dies.


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