It is indeed true that ‘Silence in the midst of adversity does not represent peace, but fear’. Such a ‘fear’ is carried out by members of President Mugabe’s Liberation Movement, Zimbabwe African Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Their fear to stand up against the thirty-six year ruler has reached disturbing levels. This former liberation movement is failing the people of Zimbabwe.
In Tanzania, merged former liberation movement Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) post their independence have been able to stay in power and continuous to periodically provide their people with new leaders. The same can be said about Mozambique’s Liberation Front
(FRELIMO) and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC). Perhaps
members of ZANU-PF have never heard of Zambia’s United National
Independence Party (UNIP). A former liberation movement which today seats
on opposition benches, they too allowed a leader to overstay in power.
Eventually their people got tired and spoke out. If they know about this
sad tale, what then is the problem with ZANU-PF? Why are they failing to
give the people of Zimbabwe a new leader?
When Ignatius Chombo, secretary for administration of the ZANU-PF party
says ‘Mugabe will get the endorsement at the party’s annual conference this week’, we can only wonder what members of this organization seek to achieve in their silence and fear of speaking out. Disturbing is when President Mugabe says there must be unity in the organization and that those with
interest to lead are dividing the party. The 92-year-old grandfather sounds more confused than ever. After all, with old age such is often expected!
He has ruled his people from nineteen eighty. He, like many African dictators in the continent is accused of Human Rights abuse, vote rigging and crippling his economy. What most forget to mention is that there was a period in the history of Zimbabwe where this longest African ruler developed his economy. Under ZANU-PF’s led government they provided the best education for their children, they became African’s Bread Basket.
Their economy provided a better life for his people. When his power base was shaken, he decisively acted on the land question. A correct move, an aplaudable move. However, his method of implementing the policy on land
distribution remains questionable. He is accused of taking land and giving
it to those close to him, those with no capacity to utellise the land for the benefit of the agricultural sector etc. In his shaky legacy which continues to be debated, President Mugabe is one African leader we celebrate for his continuous stunts and affirmation that Africans are no lesser beings. He is very clear about the West and their plunging of Africa’s resources. We only worry when he is unable to serve his people
well, these are his fellow Africans.
Part of his failure is his lack of trust towards his own comrades. President
Mugabe only sees himself as the only living credible person to lead Zimbabwe. An ego problem! There was a time President Mugabe was endorsed
by all and this is part of what is the problem today. He is failing to accept that unlike in their earlier years of independence, when He was viewed as the unifying leader, able to advance interest of his people, things have changed and that he is not assisting his people. The situation at the time, given the reaction of the Apartheid South African government and their own former oppressor needed a firm leader like him. Today, in this century things have since changed and ZANU-PF is unable to rise to the reality. They are failing to accept that change is inevitable, they are failing to remove their longest leader from power. He himself is
resistant and still wants to stay in power and contest the 2018 National elections.
Looking at their delegates in the recent National Conference, saddening is that young people have no voice in the politics of ZANU-PF. In majority their delegates consisted of old war veterans who half the time were falling asleep. The organization has been unable to recruit young people in majority. There has been two breakaways and in both instances there were complains that President Mugabe must step down. Those who rose against him have been booted out while others simply walked away. Those who kept quite are still remaining and silent, behaving like all is well,
fear has taken over their conscious.
They must perhaps tell us, what is unifying about president Mugabe when
his people are all over SADEC in need of a better life. His people have lost trust in his leadership, this is not unifying. When his economy is in shambles and they themselves are afraid to raise their voices, it can not be unity? What is unifying when they are unable to give the people of Zimbabwe a new leader.What is unifying when their silence is informed by fear? When there is literally no food to eat, no water and children no longer going to school. Their fear which informs their silence must come to an end! ZANU-PF must not lie to Mugabe and clap hands even when they
ought to rise and defend their country.
ZANU-PF owes the people of Zimbabwe a new leader. They must be able to look amongst themselves and tell the old man that it is time to retire. Do they know, their failure to act will eventually kill their already crippling organization. They will inherit power from opposition benches just like UNIP of Zambia. Mugabe will eventually go. They; members of ZANU-PF will remain, remain to only start speaking when it will be too late. Are they waiting for President Mugabe to die before acting
correctly? What hold does president Mugabe have on them? Do they know that their action, that of allowing President Mugabe and his wife to do as they wish is a serious political error of our time?
The unity said to be brought by President Mugabe is fake. It is informed by fear of speaking out. It is fear because of the massive patronage within the organization. The crisis in this country is so visible, neighbouring countries continue to carry the brunt of their failed ability to lead their people. We call upon ZANU-PF to stop telling us lies, we can
see what is transpiring in this Zimbabwe which we love. Please give your people a new leader. Renew your mandate, renew your leadership and save yourselves.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya, the founder of Africa Unmasked, is also an NEC member of the ANCYL. She writes in her personal capacity.