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Zimbabweans sit on fence while country burns
Isaac Dziya, Nehanda Radio
June 24, 2007

On many journeys to Zimbabwe over the past six years I was saddened to note that some of my Zimbabwean compatriots continue to sit on the fence on matters of the state politics while Zimbabwe burns.

They chat away about their beliefs that things will change. Yes the political situation will either change for the worst or the best, but in the meantime it takes good people to do nothing for evil to triumph.

However, in this day and age, it takes courage not to be cowed into a corner by the oppressive regime. Sitting on the fence on issues that affect us and renders us vulnerable to more oppression from the ZANU (PF) government.

The current situation in our beloved motherland is shameful, hopeless, or as the old saying goes, the country has gone to the dogs, but it is still worsening - engendering anger, desperation and uncertainty at the hands of the 27 year-old autocracy, sadly sustained by a brutal army, police force and a moribund intelligence service.

Standards continued to elude most of the country's public systems, while leadership is imprisoned in its own self-made dilemma and caring only about their political positions or their own survival at the expense of one and all.

I therefore would like to add my voice to those against complacency about the politics of Zimbabwe. It still amazes me that the brutality of the ZANU (PF) cows many of us; the fear of persecution hounding people into obscurity, unable to conjure up enough resistance to boot out the current regime.

How can we honestly sit back and do nothing when we see the current hardships being faced by our people; walking to work on an empty stomach for wages insufficient to pay rent - and just accept that the situation beyond redemption?

As the Zimbabwean dollar continues to tumble, should we all have to leave our beloved country and stay in exile in neighbouring countries like South Africa or countries as far as away UK, USA and Australia?

The current government overlooks its bad governance and attributes its woes to sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe's ministers by the West, yet what is required is increased productivity, more production oriented employment creation and improved foreign currency, fuel and electricity supplies.

Professionals like doctors have gone back on strike where they were three months ago to bring to the attention of the Harare authorities the untenable situation on the ground.

The health sector itself is collapsing, yet doctors and nurses have come out into the open to express their rights; that these highly qualified people cannot afford to work anymore for salaries that are not commensurate with their work and qualifications, and forced to work without essential drugs and equipment.

Winter is the worst time of the year to be cold and hungry, and have no prospects of what tomorrow brings; no wonder some of our people just give up working and cross legally or illegally to the nearest bordering country in search of greener pastures, frequently ending up in more destitution, crime, and prostitution in an HIV-infected environment.

The conditions are disastrous with lives being lost needlessly, yet the propensity of oppression of the black bourgeoisie government of Matibili aka Mugabe continues increasingly, with no remorse at all as they go about in their latest imported cars into houses built with imported marble.

The crisis in our country requires the involvement of everyone voicing dissent in clear and unequivocal terms. What I am on about is the restoration of rights, and not privileges. We need to vote without being intimidated, without the ballots being rigged. We need also to ensure that some of us in the Diaspora are granted our right to vote as enshrined in the Constitution. Let us vote with all we have to ensure that we boot this tyranny out of office.

Enos Nkala, Mugabe's minister of Home Affairs from 1985 to 1987, in an interview with SW Radio two weeks ago, confirmed what some of us (as a former Police Officer) knew, that the rigging of ballots was rife, and the system that has been in place where the Police guard ballot boxes over night gave them an opportunity to stuff them.

Nkala has done the right thing to come out in the open. There is nothing further to lose. This evil must be exposed. As Nkala says, Matibili aka Mugabe is running scared, which explains his wanting to double the Police Force ahead of the next year's elections. Nkala can no longer be intimidated.

We need more of that to give a push to a government whose "sell buy date" has long passed; unable to provide basics like electricity and water, living burst pipes running; sewage water mixing with drinking water; hospitals without water and electricity for essential operations. Come on guys, this cannot go on any longer.

Having been an Assistant Commissioner of Police in the same regime until 1986, I know how brutal the regime is and I take my hat off for the brave men and women who are meeting its brunt head on, on the political battleground. Need we remind you or need we say more about this brutal and desperate regime?

Only in Zimbabwe can we have High Court Orders ignored, lawyers denied access to their clients at Police stations, threatened and beaten. A threat to lawyers is a direct threat to the human rights of the person needing their services. It is a systematic way of actually instilling fear in one and all in Zimbabwe. Lawyers can no longer practice freely; the judicial system has been compromised, and the legal profession is under a barbaric and extraordinary siege!

Wherever you are reading this, the sense of duty to stand up to this oppression against our own people, especially now when there is so much suffering, must come naturally. We can restore Zimbabwe.

Let us stand up and be counted on the side of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. The time for silence and sitting on the fence is now gone. Join others in the fight for democracy and justice. You and I possess the political power and all we need to do is exercise it. Pass on this message to friends and colleagues.

Isaac Dziya, is a former assistant commissioner with the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

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