Zimbabwe, it’s time for an overhaul

Zimbabwe’s decades’ long, embedded and complex challenges have no easy fix. 

Unfortunately, none of the current politicians – across the political spectrum – have the leadership capacity and depth to address Zimbabwe’s challenges.  For far too long nothing seems to work in government.  The economy is in free fall; the health sector is non-existent for the majority who have to rely on government hospitals that have no medicine, machinery, suitable number of medical personnel; transport system is not always reliable; and electricity and water shortages continue.

How did we get here?

There are passionate explanations, justifications, and accusations.  The fact is we’re here and aren’t moving in a positive direction.  There are failures at all levels, governmental (led by ZANU PF) as well as urban councils (led by the MDC).  These failures predictably also extend to these political parties’ own internal politics.

Be that as it may, each has something significant to its name, one freed us from the evil clutches of colonialism and the other was formed to try to liberate us from a ruthless dictator.  Both objectives were successful to a point and for that we’re grateful. Nevertheless, it has now become apparent that outside of the confines of liberating, both  parties are ineffective. Their main political preoccupation is being more concerned with keeping the other out of power.  Most heartbreaking about this relationship is that there is no empathy.  We are at a point of no return, standing at the crossroads between a dreadful past and a future we deserve and have been promised for far too long. Neither party seems concerned by the dire state of affairs. Their callous behaviour continues.

An overhaul of the current order is needed to enable us to achieve a climate that is not bound by political traditions borne of antagonism.  For this to be realised we have accept that it is not just the politicians who need to change but we the people as ultimately, all politicians are inextricably cut from the same cloth and woven into different garments. It’s imperative that a mind-set shift happens to allow us to get to a point where it’s not about ‘our side’ winning but achieving much needed comprehensive change.  Slovakia has just voted for their first female president, Zuzana Caputova, an environmental lawyer with no political or government experience.  She campaigned on an anti-corruption platform.  Ukraine is at the verge of electing a TV star comedian also with no political or government experience. In February el Salvador elected Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez as president, an outsider who did not belong to the country’s two main traditional parties.

This is proof that when people are deeply disillusioned and disappointed in the political elite’s ineffectiveness in bringing about promised tangible change they have the power to say enough is enough.

Serbia, France, Algeria have been rocked by demonstrations for months.  These protests are people-driven, they haven’t been organised by political parties or trade unions, it’s the masses, united, letting their anger and frustration be heard.  The respective governments have tried to placate the protestors by offering a variety of concessions, but for now the people have not budged on their demands.  Dangerous polarisation serves only the self-absorbed interests of politicians and perpetuates their introspective agendas.  We the people should not be blinded and distracted by their schemes but must be united in overcoming this to achieve the goal of emancipation.

Letting go of an entrenched system is difficult, one needs to be steadfast especially when nostalgia is weaponised and the promise of better things to come fervently dangled.  However, we have come to a point where change is long overdue.

A system overhaul is what Zimbabwe needs. Now.

Thando Khumalo 

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