Yesterday amidst the euphoria one question was universal across all social media, it simply asked, what is next for Zimbabwe. Many people avoided it by saying do not ask me now let me first enjoy this moment without the weight of thought. I'm reminded of the animation Finding Nemo, a dentist had fish he kept in a tank. His practice was next to the Sydney Harbour so they could hear the ocean rumbling, their true home. By the inspiration of Nemo and help of a pelican they escaped in plastic bags full of air. When they got to the ocean it was surreal, they kept quiet and one who could muster something said, "what next?" Luckily for them we saw them swimming freely but not sure how they popped their plastic bags. My daughter would say the blow fish burst his bubble and then tore the others' bags. So as a Zimbabwean I have often wondered if Mugabe goes then what next, I tried to imagine a great picture. What follows are my thoughts, my wishful thinking for the next 5-10 years.
Reforming The System of Governance
It is expedient that we move with speed, in the euphoria many are seeing heroes but I am questioning the system. I am looking at a constitution that was trampled on so much within a week I am wondering if this great document has any chance of being supreme. If Zapiro had to draw a cartoon of it he would probably go for gang rape. We need to fix this problem otherwise we leave our children a legacy of poverty. Many Zimbabweans are of the idea that we don't need anyone but I think that is selfish pride which can sink us quickly. Let us get SADC, UN and AU to look at our system and help level the electoral playing field. As a nation with a history of violence I wish we would implement a system of proportional representation, the winner takes all system has many graves and wounds. We evaluate candidates based on how much 50+1 votes they can get. If we are to make the voices of minorities heard then we must not belittle their contribution.
Clean Up the Closets
Thirty seven years is a long time, it doesn't help that the government of Mugabe was putting things in the closet, consider the following:
- Gukurahundi Commission findings were never made public.
- A host of other commissions are somewhere buried.
- Elections tampering and violence has become a culture.
- Money was looted from national coffers
- Abduction and disappearance of citizens is rife.
These issues need to be addressed and brought to closure. Doing it is not an easy thing but it must be done. If we are to banish the culture of impunity that is expunged with a handshake, we must be willing to dig up graves and re-bury them after post-mortem. Mr. Mugabe is now able to be sued, we can either address his failures once and for all or one case at a time.
Let's Buy a New Broom & Sweep Clean
I know this is not what many people want because we don't want to embarass our leaders or heroes. But it is foolhardy to think a person can preside over their own case and lose. Zimbabwe needs a new government, a coalition of democrats is a good start. The reason being we need someone to check what Mugabe regime was doing without fear, discomfort or favour. Expecting our new heroes to do that is asking for too much. It is given that questions are going to be asked and most likely assets are going to be seized and brought back to state. Zimbabwe has been plundered and if we do not fix this we are going to have bigger problems than Mugabe. At least Mr. Mugabe could play the crowd, he was a divisive figure because his crimes were cleverly masked behind some for of adherence to legality. The events of the past week were brazen and open defiance of the law. The generals must now vacate office on account of what they did to the constitution. Politics might be their next stop but it is time to bring up the young brigadiers to make the army flourish in professionalism, we have not forgotten how generals always gathered pre-election and say we don't salute anyone without liberation war credentials, we must Bury that attitude of entitlement.
Healing of the Wounded
There are many wounds that need healing in our nation, in fact all Zimbabweans are wounded in one way or the other, young adults grieve over having no jobs, families grieve over property destroyed for supporting opposition parties, many grieve over their loved ones who died because the health care system could not afford them antibiotics, a lot grieve disruption to life, education et al. We must have a Truth Commission where people can open up and allow their grieving to stop. I look forward to the closure for the family of Itai Dzamara, the man who stood alone in a park demanding Mugabe to go. The same park people gathered on the day Mugabe said he is resigning. I've always told people that if we are to move as a nation then we must collectively own up to Gukurahundi and if need be pay reparations. The money recovered from looting state coffers can go a long way in settling these reparations.
Let Us Unite, Genuine Unity
Robert Mugabe thrived on dividing people, tribes do not get along that much, political opponents treat each other as enemies. Those at home see those abroad as people who are not part of Zimbabwe. Within hours of Mugabe resigning there was a joke saying all Zimbabweans in diaspora must wait to come back, we must give jobs to those who are at home first. It is a joke but for someone in UK or South Africa whose asylum faces revocation it is horrendous to imagine, not welcomed home and abroad. Zimbabwe has great tribes but most have been drowned by Shona hegemony, the Ndebele fight for their space but it is not so easy. The minority are hardly known, in South Africa I know their tribes because they are given space. I remember someone saying I only hear of Ndebele from Mpumalanga but I have never met one. Curious I asked how did you know about them? She said I see them on TV and their culture being celebrated. In Zimbabwe many people don't know how many tribes we have, it is only Ndebele and Shona even in education curricula.
Let Us Rebuild, Put Zimbabwe First
I know right now the plan is to fly to London and New York, meet IMF and World Bank asking for money to do this and that. We never trust ourselves enough that we have something, that we are capable. Why would a nation with Strive Masiyiwa as a citizen need IMF to raise funds for it? He is the most connected Zimbabwean whom we can use to chair an investment forum. With more than 3 million citizens abroad we can use them as a conduit to access liquidity giving them shares in return. Why not make general hospitals semi-private by calling diaspora to buy shares? They can approach a bank, get a loan of $2000 and if it is 50,000 citizens then you have $100 million dollars with no interest and repayment, it will generate own dividends. This process repeated can result in billions flowing into the country.
These are my thoughts, my wishful thinking of how things must proceed for our nation. I am praying that we will do the right thing even though in the midst of euphoria I am seeing a lot saying it is time to rest but I think the hardest work of our lives begins today. I was born exactly a year after independence of Zimbabwe and now an adult, if I do not see myself as part of the solution then we leave it to these old men who should be going into the sunset. I am certainly not leaving things to chance. I am sober and considering the issues ahead, crossing the bridge when you get there is never a good option for you might have left behind a log that will help you cross.