Posts Tagged ‘Mugabe’

Treason

So here’s the deal on treason: basically if you do anything the current government objects to but don’t have a defined law against, they pull out the treason card.

In this particular instance, the treason card is being pulled out for owning a satellite decoder for your TV. Yeah, I know: I haven’t been able to stop laughing either. In a weird way it makes sense or rather in a fear way it makes sense. The government is terrified that what’s happening in Northern Africa in regards to other presidents who refuse to step down when their people no longer trust them to be leaders, will be contagious and happen here in the Southern part of Africa.

Well their fear is justified to some extent; I mean it is a contagious movement sweeping through the top of Africa so of course it would make sense for that movement of freedom fighters to start protesting down here in the south, right? Wrong. We’re still recovering from the last surge of ‘freedom fighters’ to initiate change in our southern countries, so we’re not strong enough to fight again. It’s not that we don’t want to; we just don’t see how our country will survive another battle less than a half century after the previous.

The second reason the government needs to back off and not be so terrified is that we’ve got hope. That may sound trivial but if you still have hope, you are not as driven to fight the powers that be. However, if the government continues this fearful behaviour and start arresting people for being able to watch the SupeRugby, well then they will have a war on their hands.

Zimbabweans are being urged to turn themselves over to authorities for owning satellite TV’s. So if you watch the news, you’ll be tried for treason [or in some of our cases espionage]. It sounds absolutely ridiculous to me! But then again, when the government has no one to answer to except themselves, then this is what happens. They get power hungry and paranoid and basically act all crazy. Now if that is not the definition of a dictator then I need to go back to school!

I honestly believe that what is happening in Northern Africa is long overdue. I also believe that what this president is doing and not only trying to censor the media but now even punishing their viewers for what they may or may not have seen, is so wide of the mark that words can’t even explain. I also believe that change needs to come to this beautiful country of ours but I also believe that change will only come when we actually have someone worth fighting for!

When you fight against someone your passion tends to dwindle but when you fight for someone, your motivation simply keeps growing. Zimbabwe has a fight on their hands but they will not use the tactics of Northern Africa because it is simply not applicable here. Without the full support of the country’s military, protests will only lead to unnecessary deaths, which in return will lead to despair and less people to fight for freedom. Whatever is going to happen in Zimbabwe is still a while off and Mugabe really doesn’t need these scare tactics or any form of intimidation in order to remain in power. Honestly, he could actually win a fair election this year; no one is going to vote against him because his opponents are just as power hungry as he is. Zimbabweans don’t want this circle of suffering to continue. So until we find a leader we can trust, we would rather stick with the failed one we’ve got.

It’s sort of ironic that President Mugabe’s biggest asset is his declining health. See, if he goes out on his own, we can anticipate less violence and a smoother transition. If someone younger [even just by a few years] is being voted in, they will have even more time to wear down the people of this country and destroy their land. So we need to find a leader, unlike Tsvangari, we need to find someone willing to step up and stay true, not turn their back on the people who elected them. Someone willing to give the power back to the people. Until that happens, this government has nothing to fear, not from its people.

Removing the simple pleasures of watching Cartoon Network or international sports will just give people more time to discuss their anger. Denying people the option of celebrating their fellow Africans’ victories will only serve as a crusher of hope and that is dangerous. So to the authorities of Zimbabwe: rethink your treason trials. Don’t judge your people by the actions of others. You really should know better and if you don’t then it just proves that you are no longer in touch with your citizens and therefore not fit to lead them.

Sharing my view,

AM

Advertisements

Zimbabwe Elections

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about Zimbabwe. Mostly that’s because this country is just like any other: we have flood warnings and more summer rain than we’ve been use to in the last few dry years; we have the latest songs on iTunes and the exact same problems that come with living in the 21 century as anyone else. However, in typical African fashion, we’re a bit self-involved…

What I mean by that is that our news only includes 5min of international news and even then it’s mainly based on Africa. So the world could actually collapse and we’d probably only find out about it next week. Instead we are very focused on what’s happening here, right now. One of the major things is this year’s elections.

President Robert Mugabe has been in charge of Zim since their independence 30 years ago. He may be old and rumoured to be even more ill than most people believe he’s been for years but he’s not going anywhere. A lot of people are obviously opposed to him and feel that he is unfair and wrongfully giving certain people privileges they did not earn. He’s also been hugely criticized for behaviour such as going shopping in Paris while half his country can’t afford to buy a loaf of bread. And then there’s the fact that he’s been president for 30 years even though his last 3 elections were less than above board. In the last election he ran unopposed because his adversary wanted to reduce the violence in the country and with protest in mind; he withdrew from the ‘unfair elections’. This forced the world to wake up and look. They had no choice but to step in with sanctions and the Queen of England finally revoked his knighthood a few years ago.

This is all part of resent history but let’s get back to right now. You’d think that with half the country not being able to pay their bills and no municipal water [everyone has their own bore whole] and regular power cuts/ load shedding [most people now have generators] that the citizens of Zimbabwe would be thoroughly fed up and NOT vote for Mugabe again. This is not the case! Firstly there is still a lurking gloom of intimidation, if you don’t vote for dear old Uncle Bob you die… To be honest this intimidation has reduced or at least isn’t as open as it was 10years or even 5years ago. But the fact that the previous elections were surrounded by so much violence has left that threat in the back of the minds of every citizen who wishes to rebel. This knowledge of history and desire not to repeat it or end up like the ‘rebels’ of the last decade is a far more effective scare tactic than anything the current government could come up with.

You need to remember that if the current government is over thrown or loses the election then most of the ministers and party members will be subject to charges of in-humane behaviour. It’s like they are currently still under the protection of ‘post-war’ so they can get away with bending the rules and disregarding the human life but as soon as they are no longer in charge, they will be held accountable for their actions. This provides a very strong motivation for them to remain in control!

The other important factor is the opposition party. They suck. I really can’t put it any clearer than that. I’m not a news blog, so if you want to know how exactly they have managed to become more hated than the current government, you should check out The Herald or whatever news network you prefer. I’m just here to share my view; share what the people around me feel and the things I see that you on the other side of this computer screen can’t possibly know… So the opposition party has managed to disappoint everyone and through their internal power struggle, they have managed to alienate their voters.

In Africa our loyalty lies with our families. We will do anything and everything to protect them and give them the best life possible. But that is as far as our loyalty goes, we don’t have loyalty to our governments because they have proved to misuse that trust through all of the years of corruption. We obviously have loyalty to our country and the physical land, so if a war would break out all our differences would be placed on hold and we’ll be one hell of a force to reckon with but in everyday circumstances, if our government doesn’t live up to their promises, we want them out! We don’t care who our parents voted for or what this party has done for the country in the past; we only care about now and the future. If they can’t deliver, we just won’t vote for them.

In Zimbabwe the level of ‘alleged vote rigging’ is of such a high elevation that people have lost faith in the process itself. So half of the people I know are simply not going to vote. These people are absolutely NOT supporters of the current government but since they have no intention of voting, it’s 20% of the country that Mugabe’s people win by default [if they don’t vote against him it almost counts as a vote for him]. The fact that the opposition party is in a bit of chaos and having their own power struggle is not helping them gain support from the citizens of Zimbabwe. The fear being that they are headed down the same corrupt road Mugabe chose to walk. See they are fighting about power and status within their party and Zimbabweans have seen it enough to know that once you become power hungry, you don’t go back. So far the MDC has been able to portray themselves as human rights activists who want equality for all Zim citizens but as their internal power struggle started to rear its head, people realized that they are not righteous, they are just like most other African leaders: power hungry. Obviously the current government has their fair share of in-fighting but since no one really expects anything from them, we just don’t care…

If the villain in a movie steals candy from a baby it’s not that shocking but if the hero does it, you can’t help but feel betrayed. That is where most Zimbabweans currently find themselves: trapped between hating the current conditions and feeling betrayed by the people who once offered them hope. Considering their dissolution with justice, it is no surprise that most are choosing “the evil we know above the one we don’t”. The way they see it, Mugabe has unequivocally messed up this country but it’s going better than it did 5 years ago and it’s still getting better so maybe, just maybe Mugabe isn’t that bad… The hope being that the worst is over. If they allow someone younger and someone who doesn’t really have the eyes of the world on them, to gain power like those currently on the opposition party, history could repeat itself and this country could end up going through the exact same controversy 30 years from now. That is something this country and its people will not be able to survive!

The current government has its issues but at least the people of Zim are use to their issues and can anticipate what is coming. If a new government that’s proved to be equally power hungry, steps in now, they will have new strategies and unpredictable game plans that will cause far more stress and concern to the voters. So here’s the line I’ve been dreading to write all the way through: Zanu PF can win a fair election come June. Yes, you heard me: Robert Mugabe’s government won’t have to cheat or even make threats to win this year’s election.

There really aren’t that many people left in Zimbabwe [I could give you numbers from a census done a year ago but they would be incredibly inaccurate as so many un-happy Zimbabweans have left the country already]. Those people who should be voting for the opposition because they are truly unsatisfied with the current government has left the country; those who are left and not a fan of the sitting president have spent the last 15 years being threatened or their families murdered so they’re not willing to risk their livelihood for someone less than honourable to come take his place. Most of them agree that voting for the party who threatened you is immoral but simply abstaining from voting is the closest to a protest they can reach. Basically this election the current leaders will once again run unopposed: not because their opposition is protesting but because their voters are.

It’s terribly depressing realizing that your leaders aren’t fit to lead. Whatever you’re reasons may be, not voting is not the most effective way to bring about change. But change is scary and unpredictable and unfortunately in this case, change appears to be for the worse so in an effort to reduce the usual violence that accompanies Zim elections, not voting seems to be the smartest choice…

Just sharing my view,

AM

The Power Is Yours

I’ve been watching a lot of old Captain Planet episodes lately. That program was truly ahead of its time: environmental hazards and global warning, 20 years ago… But as a kid the phrase that got stuck in my head was always: “The power is yours!”

I was raised to believe that I can do absolutely anything and that I can change the world in whatever way I choose. Now I’m sitting here in Zim talking to guys my age or even guys 30years older than me and they are only just realizing that the power is theirs. Something I’ve known since I was 3years old it has taken them an entire lifetime to figure out…

Yes, I have always been very fortunate and my parents seemed to have done everything right when it came to raising me but even if we don’t compare these guys to me and my perfect little life, only realizing that the choice is yours when you are 45 is pretty rough! It’s definitely not like these guys are thick or something, it’s just part of their culture. You can say a lot of bad things about Robert Mugabe but one thing you have to credit him with is the fact that he has given a lot of young farmers their power back. Actually he’s given a lot of career farmers a choice for the first time in their 60year existence…

See, when you’re born as a farmer’s son, it is expected of you to take over the farm. If you were of the female persuasion, you were expected to marry a farmer who could take over the family farm and continue the tradition. Even if you have older brothers the farm is still ultimately your responsibility too and that’s it. That is your whole life planned out before you even learn how to say your own name. No choice; no options and no power… The strangest thing is that most of these farmers never even realized just how trapped they were until the government took their farm and all of a sudden they had options and a chance to do whatever they wanted.

Yeah, they have absolutely nothing in the monetary compartment and the home they’ve grown up with is no longer theirs but for the first time in most of their lives, the power is actually theirs. This land redistribution bill has a lot of downsides but nothing is without a silver lining! Zimbabweans who would never have considered leaving their country before have managed to scrape up the courage to go explore the rest of the world, something they would never have done if it wasn’t for the unintended push from their government… A quarter of this countries office workers and IT admins would have stayed on a farm even though they knew deep in their hearts that it wasn’t meant for them simply because they had no choice in the matter. No power to say no!

Having your entire life planned out before you’ve learned how to walk isn’t always a bad thing but when you can’t say no to the plan and you are powerless in your own life, it’s not much of a life. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely NOT defending the hectically enforced redistribution bill but I’m not blind to the accidental upside that came as a consequence either. It’s amazing to see a 50year old who has been struggling on a farm with very little resources and practically no rain his entire life, wake up the morning after his farm has been repossessed and actually breathe a sigh of relief because for once he doesn’t have the weight of his entire family heritage on his shoulders. To see a man who has been conformed to walk in his father’s footsteps realize that he has the right to walk on a different path. When you no longer have a farm to be responsible for or an entire legacy to uphold, you get a shot at freedom and a shot at dreaming again. Actually having the power to say: “I’d like to be a doctor” or “I’d like to live in Brazil” or “I want to manage a mine” or whatever!

Most of us take the fact that we can dream for granted but when you have never had the power to dream, it’s like discovering a whole new spark. My friends and I have this saying we live by: “People who don’t dare to dream, scare me” It really is that simple… If you’re afraid of dreaming you don’t have much to live for. While you’re busy wasting your life too scared to dream, remember that there are people out there who simply don’t have the luxury of believing that The Power Is Yours!

Sharing my view,

AM

Packing it in

The reason I wanted to focus only on the beauty of the farm in my last post, is because I left something out… This is the last time we’ll be here for a visit.

He’s parents are moving. I’m taking forever to get these sentences out, because even though I haven’t been here before: this feels like home. It feels like I have lived here my entire life! If you’re wondering if I am the only one saddened by this move, the answer is I’m not. This is not a move they made by choice… This was made for them. By some guy who doesn’t even know them.

Anyway, we’re starting to pack and figure out where exactly everything is suppose to go but mostly I’m just standing around because I have no idea where anything should go! I’m handy at making tea though… Well, actually that’s a bit of a lie. On the farm obviously they have people who do that, they pretty much have people around the clock for everything- People who can wash laundry and make coffee without electricity. So all I have to do is hold up 5 fingers so that she knows how many people want. That’s it… not one word spoken [mostly because I feel like an idiot for speaking when she doesn’t understand what I’m saying] and presto: coffee.

As for the general packing: I have to admit that I am extremely glad that this is not my mother’s house. Yes, the house is huge and so is the rest of the farm, so this could take a while but at least there are not as many trinkets and random ornaments everywhere~ excluding the massive animal heads on the walls of course.

I started with packing the clothes. I think we did pretty well. I am the master of making space where there are none! Sitting on the suitcase until it closed didn’t hurt either… It’s been a while since I had to pack a whole house of stuff. It’s times like these you really are grateful for those old newspapers you forgot to recycle. When I think about those mirrors and all the glass things down this crazy bumpy-half-non-existent-farm-road, I cringe. We’ll just have to drive really slowly and use tons of blankets!

We took a few of JS’s brother’s old things to his grandmother’s house today when we went to town to buy cooldrinks and stuff for our electricity-free lunch. Multitasking is always useful. I think we labelled them correctly… just don’t ask me what’s in any of them because then I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear you. It was quite a long drive and we had some serious conversations and a few silly ones about ant hills and radio frequencies. I have seen millions of photos of this farm.

This huge piece of land that they have had to give up little by little until there really is no more little left. This isn’t so bad if you consider he would have to take care of all of it all by himself. The true pain comes in seeing this land in the sunlight, without the veil of darkness to protect you from the disregarded truth. These hundreds of acres that they once owned, that his grandfather owned are now being left unattended and desolated. Nothing is being grown on most of the plots; there are barely any cattle and even the few there are, really need better care.

It’s just not the same when you have it handed to you. When you have everything waiting on a silver platter for you, you don’t need to bother to fight for it. And if you never had to fight for it, it becomes really easy to walk away… To say: ‘Sorry, I tried’ and just turn your back on it.

I feel their sadness but I also see this glimpse of a smile. It’s like for the first time in their lives they no longer have ties to this place that has been sucking the life out of them. They no longer have to live up to a legacy that existed in a different century. They no longer have to fear failure or watch what they say at the risk of losing it all. It already happened and that is that. It’s like for the first time [by taking everything they have and destroying everything they believed they were] someone asked them what they wanted to do. Where they want to be in 10 years time instead of telling them what is expected of them.

Packing your entire life into a box is pretty scary and some of those boxes can be really heavy but the prospect of starting over with a clean slate has its advantages.

We have barely reached the tip of the iceberg with this whole packing thing, so I better go make myself useful.

Till later,

AM