By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
Change for the sake of change is the most dangerous thing!
It could all be because they are always focused on doing away with the current spouse – on account of his unacceptable, possibly irresponsible, uncaring, and even abusive behavior.
Yet, never placing more emphasis on carefully scrutinizing and analyzing any potential ‘replacement’ – thereby, missing any telltale signs of this other person’s unsuitability – maybe even being just as terrible, if not worse, than the current spouse.
Only to be shocked once she has remarried to find out that the hell on earth continues – leading to another torrid divorce.
…and the cycle repeats itself – over and over again!
In most of these cases, the problem is not really the choice of a ‘wrong partner’ per se – but rather, the poor judgment, or total lack of, on the part of the divorcing spouse, in how she chooses a new partner.
The major weakness is in focusing too much on the ‘bad spouse’ and the desire to ‘get rid of him’ – than also paying special attention on the potential ‘replacement’, so as to ensure that he is actually better than the current partner.
The greatest mistake anyone can make is becoming monomaniac about the whole process – by overly obsessing over ‘getting rid off’ the wronging spouse – without any careful due diligence which also places emphasis on the ‘new lover’.
Let us always remember that no one is able to truly hide their true colors – and, there are always signs, whether overtly or covertly – which, when studied meticulously, can be revealing about the type of person one is involved, or contemplating getting involved with, in a relationship.
Yes, the signs are always there – no matter how small and seemingly insignificant.
The problem is that people allow themselves to trivialize, minimize or even totally ignore these telltale signs – most likely due to being blinded by love – which is the biggest mistake one can ever make.
This is not, however, a lecture on love, romance and relationships – although, what I am really getting to can be described in the same mold.
My discourse is on politics and the political direction our country of Zimbabwe is taking.
It always breaks my heart when I notice how Zimbabweans behave exactly as described above – in their dealings with political parties and leaders – thereby, prone to making flawed decisions, of which they regret later.
As the country swiftly heads towards the crucial 2023 harmonized elections, one can not help watching in utter dismay, as various political party followers jostle to garner support, and hopefully votes, for their ward, parliamentary, and more importantly, presidential candidates.
One of the loudest and most repeated chants, mostly by the main opposition CCC party, has been that we all need to focus on removing the incumbent Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU PF party.
In so doing, everyone’s main priority should be in galvanizing the entire nation to rally behind only one candidate believed to possess a real chance of achieving this goal – being none other than CCC leader Nelson Chamisa.
Well, that may be a very good proposition on paper – as there is a greater prospect of unseating the clueless, incompetent and kleptomaniac Mnangagwa regime by uniting behind one opposition party and leader.
However, as already highlighted, the nation needs to look far beyond merely the removal of Mnangagwa and ZANU PF, or solely throwing their weight behind any candidate with the ability to achieve this goal.
Such an approach can be characterized not only as foolish, but also dangerous.
Two of the greatest weaknesses that have led to the downfall of mankind, since the beginning of time, have been obsession and desperation – as that is when people are bound to make their worst decisions, which they will likely regret later.
What is more dumbfounding, especially about Zimbabweans is that, we never learn from our past mistakes.
We should be very wary of repeating the mistakes of both 1980 and 2017.
In 1980 – as a result of an obsession and blinkered goal of removing colonial rule – we dismally failed to meticulously study the man and party we were to later elect into power.
All we wanted was someone with the support and clout to finally free Zimbabwe from the shackles of colonialism.
Instead of carefully scrutinizing exactly what Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) party were truly all about – the people of Zimbabwe settled on the simplistic goal of removing Ian Douglas Smith and his Rhodesia regime.
In our excitement in the real prospects of finally ending nearly a century of minority rule, we never bothered closely questioning those who portrayed themselves as our liberators.
No one (at least, very few) ever took their time to read through this narrative of ‘liberators’ – because, they would have seen the brutal power-hungry corrupt elitist clique, which had callously and deviously hijacked the people’s noble struggle for independence, for their own self-serving power ambitions.
If Zimbabweans had bothered taking a deep breath, and stood back for a moment, to look closely at these leaders – they would have easily realized that there was no way those who had brutally killed and sacrificed their own fellow nationalists (such as, Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo and General Josiah Magama Tongogara), on the altar of power – would be, in any way, good for our country.
Is It not so tragic and regrettable hearing, some 43 years down the lines, Zimbabweans of all walks of life saying those painful heartbreaking words, ‘Smith was better’?
Yet, whose fault was it that we ended up with a government – which, in its 43 years in power, only managed to destroy a once vibrant continental giant, labelled the ‘Jewel of Africa’ by the late Tanzanian founder Mwalimu Julius Nyerere – reducing it into a shameful basket case, and turning its citizenry into a global laughing stock?
Are we not entirely to blame for never bothering to carefully analyze – with all emotions and independence fervor put aside for a while – whether the people seeking to remove the nine-decade-long yoke of colonial rule were our saviors and good for us, or were actually worse than those we branded ‘oppressors’?
Why were we to be shocked, barely two years into our supposed independent rule – when the same ‘liberators’ turned their guns on their fellow black compatriots, whom they had ostensibly ‘liberated’ – by savagely massacring, in cold blood, over 30,000 innocent unarmed civilians?
Why were we taken completely off guard, when these leaders – who hijacked a liberation struggle founded on the principles of ‘one man, one vote’ and ‘majority rule’ – went about brazenly rigging elections, as well as wantonly murdering any who sought to challenge their hold on power, and viciously clamping down on opposition parties?
In other words, the people of Zimbabwe need to move away from this tunnel vision of simply focusing on removing an undesirable leader and ruling party – as if that was the only panacea to our four decades of misery and suffering – without also honestly critiquing and evaluating those who may offer themselves as the alternative.
If we neglect to do that – believe me, five or ten years down the line, we will be crying, ‘ZANU PF or ED was better’!
In fact, we need not necessarily go all the way back to 1980 to learn this critical life lesson.
How many of us today are saying, ‘Mugabe was better’, or ‘Mnangagwa is worse than Mugabe’?
Not that these leaders we are calling ‘better’ were any good – but, simply that, we seem to be on a retrogressive path as Zimbabwe – always celebrating individuals, who end up actually being far more destructive and incompetent than the previous.
Did Zimbabweans not flock onto the streets of the capital Harare in their tens of thousands, in November 2017, cheering the military coup d’état against Mugabe – despite knowing fully well who was most likely to take over, his character, and checkered history?
Why, then, were we crying on 1 August 2018 – when bodies of unarmed protestors lay strewn the very same streets of Harare – gunned to death, in cold blood, by the same leader whose ascendancy to power we had foolishly celebrated only nine months earlier?
I always wonder if some of these innocent civilians callously shot down were actually not part of those thousands who flocked onto the streets in November 2017, in wild jubilation to welcome a junta that would eventually kill them, in the most savage manner, only a few months later.
In fact, was this coup d’état not even supported by all of Zimbabwe’s major political parties, including then MDC-T leader, the late Morgan Richard Tsvangirai – whose image still haunts me today, as I watched him, sick to the bone, having abruptly flown all the way from his hospital bed in South Africa – to be part and parcel of this madness.
I remember feeling so sad and dejected during this time – possibly the lowest I have ever been – in my shock at what was unfolding.
I wrote a number of articles warning Zimbabweans not to support this nonsense – regardless of how much we wanted Mugabe to go – as we all knew who would likely be his replacement, and his dark past.
Needless to say, just as with this article, I was dismissed, outright, as a madman.
That is a glaring weakness the people of this country seem not too eager to shake off.
We appear intent on this obsession with removing a sitting leader, whom we legitimately no longer want – yet, totally disregarding any meticulous scrutiny of the leaders who want to take over.
We are too focused on meaningless, and quite frankly dangerously flawed slogans such as, ‘Mugabe must go’, ‘ED must fall’, or even ‘ZANU PF must go’ – without going beyond that, and soberly analyzing the ones to take over, and their suitability.
We allow ourselves to simply be carried away by emotions.
Well, as I always tell those close to me – a person led by emotions is no different from someone inebriated by alcohol – since both of their senses of judgement would be severely hampered and distorted.
This is what we, unfortunately, witness today – as history appears on the verge of repeating itself…again.
These were the thoughts spinning in my head as I come across all those comments to the effect that Zimbabweans should only rally behind a particular opposition party and leader.
Everyone else is labeled a ‘disrupter’, or even accused of working with the ruling ZANU PF party to divide the opposition vote.
My question is always – what makes anyone believe that only a certain opposition party and leader are eligible to form the next government of Zimbabwe?
Should we not, rather, be focusing more on measuring whether these parties and leaders are even suitable to take this country to the next level?
Zimbabwe desperately needs a new leadership – which, this time around, places the will of the people ahead of its own – as well as possessing the ability to successfully implement economic, political and social policies that truly uplift our lives and livelihoods.
We are thoroughly fed up with leaders who are in the sickening habit of always making excuses for their failures to deliver on their mandates, or who expect us to celebrate the mediocrity they are offering.
The people of Zimbabwe need a functioning economy – that provides decent jobs, with good salaries that can afford the best the world has to offer – as well as a conducive environment for successful business operations for those with the entrepreneurial spirit.
Residents of towns and cities have a right to reliable potable water in their homes, whilst streets are well-lit and in good shape, and rubbish is collected regularly.
Rural areas need to be developed to the same standards expected in modern urban areas around the world – as opposed to the backward and marginalized state they have been kept in since independence.
This country is richly endowed with vast wealth, envied all across the globe – as such, there is absolutely no reason why we should still be celebrating the opening of one or two companies, or sinking of boreholes, or the construction of an airport.
We should, by now, have gone past thinking that having a parliament building donated to us, or constructing a traffic interchange, or giving people handouts and free inputs is an outstanding achievement.
We are a rich country – whose wealth should be reflected in the daily lives and livelihoods of the general populace.
Yet, that is not the case – with millions of Zimbabweans living in extreme poverty, a workforce earning below the poverty datum line, and university graduates forced into street vending due to a lack of meaningful opportunities.
We have suffered enough, and can no longer afford foolish experiments in choosing both our local and national government leaders.
It is time that Zimbabweans put aside this myopic desire to simply get rid of a failed leadership – but, need to also take an honest close look at those seeking to take over.
Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of always hearing all this ‘so and so was better’ – as such statements are an indictment on our own poor judgment and flawed decision-making – since, at one point, we actually celebrated these failed leaders as the answer to our problems.
We cannot keep repeating the same mistake.
Let us judge any potential leader of our country on his merit – not, simply because he is the most popular, and thus, has a better chance of unseating the one we no longer want.
Remember, in 1980, even Mugabe was the most popular, and managed to unseat Smith…
…but, as they say, ‘the rest is history’!
Change for the sake of change is the most dangerous thing for Zimbabwe!
● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: email@example.com