CONVERSATIONS WITH MAWERE
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- Mutumwa Mawere -
Africa 2012 – When minds meet – Zimbabwe @ 32
Posted on April 17th 2012
Time is the only undisputed variable in life for with each minute that is consumed history is made.
Nation states only exist to the extent that human beings allow them to and when a nation celebrates its birth, an opportunity exists to pause and reflect on the journey travelled by the human beings whose experiences during the relevant period define and shape the character of the nation state.
On 18 April, Zimbabwe will turn 32 years old and the question that must be posed is whether the promise of a prosperous and equal life for all its citizens has been delivered.
Some will argue rightly or wrongly that Zimbabwe is better principally for the benevolence of the state and the genius of state actors in defending the country's sovereignty and independence.
Zimbabwe is a geographical fact that existed long before 18 April 1980 to suggest that it would be wrong to hold the view that this creation of God could be only 32 years.
The significance of this special day of 1980 was that henceforth the future belonged to all who chose to be Zimbabwean in the words of the new constitution.
When the new flag was raised, freedom, equality and justice were expected to be natural outcomes for no one expected that the new journey would be characterized by hypocrisy, sloganeering, limitation imposed on human freedom, poverty, and inequality.
The fight for a better and equal Zimbabwe was protracted precisely because the stakes were higher and yet the post-colonial period introduced a new language of power and indispensability of the part of the lucky ones who assumed state positions.
Some would argue that only the fighters of liberation have and should have a better claim on the right to protect the nation's sovereignty.
The fact that even the mighty succumb to the age-old law of nature is easily lost to the proponents of this kind of thinking.
The name-calling and point scoring tactics of political actors often distorts the true story of nation state building.
To what extent is national growth and development a result of the decisions, choices and actions of state actors?
Human beings are the most complex instruments created by God for they are not only self centered but are capable of undermining the spirit of humanity that inspires people to rise up the opportunity mountain in the knowledge that they are mortal and, therefore, not permanent creatures capable of perpetually protecting their legacies.
To the extent that human beings are not capable of being permanently attached to any of their creations or wealth, the importance of freedom in creating a society that inspires all cannot be overstated.
It is on the question of freedom that Zimbabweans have to ask themselves whether they are freer in 2012 than they were in 1980.
It must be accepted that even the President of the Republic is after all human and, therefore, cannot pretend to have a better claim on life than any other person.
It is remarkable that a week before the independence anniversary, the state of President Mugabe's health was an issue that occupied the minds of people who have not understood the true construction of the republic.
Many people believe that the absence of one individual will materially change the fate of the nation state forgetting that nation states only reflect the story of all the people that choose to be part of the nation.
To the mischievous, the story of Zimbabwe is the story of President Mugabe.
To the informed, the story of Zimbabwe can never be resident in the mind of one individual. In fact, no single individual is capable of rising above others.
The fact that President Mugabe's health is an issue of concern exposes continuing presence of the problem that independence was expected to eliminate.
Ian Smith was also a strong man who was also mischievously credited with superior intelligence to the extent that his demise was supposed to eliminate poverty and inequality.
After 32 years of independence, is it not ironic that the question of succession is resident in the minds of many.
Ultimately, leaders come and go but the people are the true authors of the story of any nation for it is in their lives that progress is registered.
When the story is told in the people's language and stories, it becomes contradictory that when sick, foreign doctors are trusted suggesting that independence has failed to produce institutions and individuals that can secure even the life of the President.
Some would wish to make the point that economic freedom for the majority has been elusive because of the machinations of nameless and faceless imperialists forgetting that concentration of power in a few hands has its own corrosive effect on nation state building.
The last 32 years have seen the brain trust being converted into a brain drain. The externalization of knowledge prosecuted by the very people who will on independence day ask others to believe in the idea of Zimbabwe when their actions and choices suggest otherwise.
The people who propagate the ideology of sovereignty and independence are the very people who dispatch with ease their children to foreign addresses to acquire knowledge.
The lifestyle of state actors after 32 years of independence tells of another story.
What can be said of the appetites of the few state actors who are in control of the business model?
If one were to visit their refrigerators, for example, one would be surprised what is preserved let alone what is in their wardrobes.
Independence has brought with it experiences for the few that were unthinkable in 1979.
The state has been good to the few and the people who have and continue to pay for the largesse are the majority.
It has been suggested that Zimbabwe has made great strides in education, health and other social investments.
After 32 years of independence, we are compelled to imagine, for example, what could be in the mind of a person who worked for the last 32 years and is retiring this year.
It must concern us that opportunities that 32 years can open for citizens in nation states that are founded on principles that capture the human spirit were squandered and many have nothing to show for the elapsed time.
There is no doubt that people would be asked to embrace patriotism, unity and development when the behavior of the state's office bearers would suggest otherwise.
When people ask for change they risk being labeled as puppets notwithstanding the promise of the post-colonial constitutional order.
It is significant that the theme for this year has been dubbed: "Indigenisation and Empowerment for Social and Economic Transformation" as if to suggest that a 32 year old person needs to be reminded about what time it is.
Many 32-year olds have stories to tell and are indeed independent of their parents.
When you get a 32-year old person talking about the pre-birth period then one must know that something is fundamentally wrong in the idea of nation state building.
A 32-year old country must account for the years rather than attempting to inspire people on ideas that were relevant before the nation was born.
It would be wrong to hold the view that the experience of independence has been defined and shaped by imperialists.
If this argument is accepted then one has to ask critical questions about the state of mind of the authors of this kind of logic.
The custodians of liberation have a lot to explain about their commitment to freedom for freedom is the only guarantor of the success, peace and stability of any nation.
As Zimbabweans celebrate the independence anniversary there is not better time to ask whether the promise of freedom has been delivered and, if not, what needs to be done to deliver the promise.
The resources that a future is now premised on are not new to suggest that salvation has to be founded on the creativity and innovation of citizens and less on the benevolence and brilliance of state actors.