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Zim needs Zimbabweans

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By Artwell Nhemachena

HAVE we ever asked ourselves questions about the challenges that Cecil John Rhodes and other colonialists were facing back in Europe before they started colonising Africans?
Sickly and harassed by immiserating poverty in England that was facing hardships of the First Industrial Revolution, Rhodes and his fellow colonialists sought to avert the problems back home without upsetting or opposing their leaders, including the Queen of England.
In fact, Rhodes sought the Queen’s blessings when he colonised Africans as his way of solving England’s problems.
The acuteness of the suffering in England at that time is evident in Rhodes’ statement in the 1800s that:
“I was in the East End of London (a working-class quarter) yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed.
I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for ‘bread! bread!’
And on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism.
My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save the 40 000 000 inhabitants of the UK from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and mines.
The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question.
If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.” (Lenin 1974)
Interesting in the statement is the fact that Rhodes did not say the English working people must revolt against the Queen and the entire leadership of Britain.
He did not even say he would solve the problems by forming an ‘opposition party’ or by ‘strengthening opposition parties in England’.
One must concede that the current raft of sanctions by the West has been successful in turning Zimbabweans against their nation and themselves. They have been pushed right to the edge so much that they have become like the 1800 Briton who cried ‘bread! bread!’.
To add upon this misery, the nation has to deal with the scourge of Hopewell Chin’ono et al. The sly West has been quick to refute the effects of the sanctions on the ordinary people and how the effects are two pronged; to make Zimbabwean and its entities a pariah State and manipulate elections to effect regime change.
Hopewell, who is paid well enough to feed fillet to his dogs (according to his posts), at the West’s behest, pens the worst he can about how it’s all ZANU PF’s fault. It is ironic Chin’ono, an award winning acclaimed ‘investigative’ journalist, has become infamous for posting unverified pictures and barbershop hearsay.
Unfortunately many believe him and help in vilifying their country by telling the world Zimbabwe has no hope (pun intended), no reason to invest and no potential.
Rhodes’ solution, on the other hand, was to colonise other countries and continents and then ship the profits and proceeds back to England to help his country overcome the challenges that it was facing.
No wonder Rhodes is still revered as a philanthropist in England to date.
Universities, including the famous ones like Oxford University in Britain, received funding from Rhodes, which is why removing Rhodes’ statue from Oxford University has not been easy in the 21st Century – centuries after Rhodes’ death.
The argument I am making is that although Rhodes is known for all the bad reasons in Africa where he caused untold suffering to hapless Africans, it is necessary for Africans to learn a few lessons from him.
Instead of waiting stupidly for the Queen of England and the entire leadership to solve the challenges that England was facing at the time, Rhodes decided to create his own solution to help his country and his fellow countrymen and women.
In Africa, including Zimbabwe, some citizens wait for leaders to solve all problems for them.
While the Shona people say: “Chave chigondora chave chimombe kutadza kuzvifurira hurema hwacho,” we unfortunately see millions of people in Africa waiting for their leaders to do things for them.
Indeed, the Shona people advise against ‘kurara nezamu mumukanwa…’.
In all this, the idea is to encourage one another to exploit opportunities that are created and, indeed, to also create opportunities that will take Zimbabwe and Africa forward.
Zimbabwean leaders, and the rest of the African leaders, simply create opportunities and then citizens should make use of the opportunities.
Even parents also create opportunities for their children.
They do not necessarily do everything for them but they create opportunities for the children to go to school, college and university.
Indeed, even God creates opportunities for human beings to do things for themselves.
He does not necessarily do everything for human beings.
Still on Zimbabwe, former President, the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s Government created opportunities by opening up land for redistribution to indigenous Zimbabweans.
However, all that we witnessed were lamentations that white farmers had been chased out of the country.
Many did not see this as an opportunity.
Indeed, even the white farmers themselves did not see that opportunities had been created for them to become farmworkers so they would assist new indigenous farm owners with their much-vaunted expertise. Historically, Africans who were colonially dispossessed of their land became farmworkers.
The question, then, is why white farmers who lost the redistributed land could not, this time around, also become farmworkers and continue to live on the farms as such?
This was an opportunity for the white farmers to shine as diligent, patriotic and committed farmworkers.
Even Rhodes could have seen it as such — a huge opportunity.
Some Zimbabweans lamented they did not have resources to begin farming on the newly-allocated land but they failed to notice that an opportunity is itself a resource.
Still, other Zimbabweans are lamenting that the State is failing to collect garbage, in the context of economic challenges.
They fail to see that the garbage is in fact an opportunity for them to begin manufacturing organic fertilisers, generating biogas and electricity to help Zimbabwe to rejuvenate industries.
The problem is that opportunities are being seen as problems.
And this is a problem we find across contemporary Africa.
Indeed, when Africans get leaders who create and open up opportunities for them, such leaders are often perceived and condemned by the intended beneficiaries of the opportunities as problems.
Take an example of a case where God creates an opportunity for a man to propose marriage to a lady and the man sees this as a problem and quibbles that he does not have the resources to propose marriage, no words to make the proposal.
And nothing with which to consummate the marriage!
What is happening in contemporary Zimbabwe reminds me of a story which one of our motivational community leaders told us when I was in my early 20s.
It was a story of a lazy young man who could not even propose to ladies.
His father decided to help his indolent son and when he brought a lady and informed his son that he had secured a marriage partner for him, the lazy son asked his father whether the lady was already pregnant: “Atori nepamuviri kare here baba?”
He said it would make it easy for him to become a father if the lady was already pregnant.
The problem is that, often, in Africa, Zimbabwe included, we want easy things.
We have been cultured into getting easy things such that we no longer want to sweat for our own things.
This is not by mistake but by colonial, and by extension capitalist, design that killed the industrial initiative in indigenes and replaced it with donation culture.
We think it is easier and better to just get what has been produced by other people.
It is important to understand that our leaders cannot solve problems for us.
What they can only do is to create opportunities for us to solve our problems and those of our comrades.
Let us avoid the culture of blaming and condemning our leaders even when they have done all their best to create opportunities for us.
Zimbabwe needs Zimbabweans who use the opportunities created by the leadership to solve Zimbabweans’ problems while Africa needs Africans who use the opportunities created by African leaders to solve Africans’ problems.
And Zimbabwe needs leadership that continues to create opportunities for Zimbabweans while Africa also needs leadership that creates opportunities for Africans.
Leadership should create opportunities to solve problems and not opportunities for citizens to simply eat from the hands of donors that are culturing Africans into the laziness that undergirds the blame-games in Zimbabwe, and in Africa more generally.
Instead of blaming one another, let us all go to the farms and work, and let us use all the uncollected garbage to generate biogas, electricity and to produce organic fertilisers – our industries are in our hands.
Our African presidents cannot put on overalls and begin to work for us.
Opportunities are being created and they must be seen as such and not as problems.
Zimbabweans need the spirit of discernment so that they see opportunities as opportunities, and they desist from misrecognising opportunities as problems.
Problems cannot be solved by blaming one another or even by opposing one another – even Rhodes knew that; which is why he did not simply oppose his Queen and the entire leadership in England during his time.
Everybody must get to work to solve the problems in Zimbabwe and in Africa.
As Zimbabwe heads for elections, the leaders we vote for must solve the challenges faced by the nation.The problems themselves are an opportunity because they provide employment.
Employment does not have to come from abroad.
In fact, industrialists and investors from abroad are now replacing human workers with industrial robots.
They won’t provide employment for Zimbabweans, and Africans more generally, anymore.
Stay patriotic to Zimbabwe, just as Rhodes was patriotic to Britain.

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