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dictatorship to democracy
October 10, 2013
A tyranny does not necessarily
have to be violent. Ask Zimbabweans. Actually, a non-violent one
is more pervasive, more real as citizens begin to believe that there
is no outside.
In Zimbabwe, it has created
a persuasive and repetitive myth that only one man can be President
for life; that only Zanu-PF members can have access to new opportunities
and lead a better life than most; that only those who are politically
connected through birth, association or sheer audacity must have
an advantage and be entitled unbridled access to the wealth of Zimbabwe.
That only our “freedom” fighters can be heroes.
It will not be easy to
change our circumstances or move our country into a modern democracy
because we have been psychologically complicit in creating a social
system that does not respect our own needs and aspirations. Our
tyranny is manufactured by the people of Zimbabwe, for the people
of Zimbabwe - that is the hardest fact to accept.
You see, dictatorships
can only arise and flourish where very specific conditions are met.
Critical to an effective dictatorship are people with a low self-esteem
and who have a victim mentality. People who believe it is outside
them that change can emanate. In such instances, the political leadership
must also meet these same conditions; they must have a destructive
and incessant low self-esteem and must, therefore, put to good use
all tools and forms of oppression to shield their egos and vulnerability.
They must continually
claim all that is good in society, and blame all that is bad on
others. This works in arresting potential, stifling growth, spreading
poverty and hopelessness so that citizens may remain complainants
to a system that they abhor.
Dictators mirror their
low self-esteem on the society which they seek to oppress and in
that society, must be those individuals who are willing to support
that low self-esteem with theirs.
A dictator must surround
himself with praise singers and charlatans whose only interest is
to see how they can benefit from the dictator. The dictator will
then reward those who praise and fear him and incarcerate or injure
those who refuse to do so.
He will bring close those
he fears so that he may decimate their individuality and independent
thought. This psychology of victim mentality slowly and thoroughly
spreads itself in every sphere of society and becomes the DNA of
that society. Everything is designed and manipulated to extend and
fortify the lie that there is no outside.
You must agree with me
that this is a formidable force to dismantle. Societies change slowly;
a day at a time and that is our task here in Zimbabwe. It will take
new conversations about an alternative to be repeatedly discussed
and shared with all. It will take years of reconditioning the minds
of our citizens so that they can begin to believe that they are
the source of the fuel to our dictatorship; that they must actually
shut down that supply if things are to change for the better. That
is where we must go as a society.
We will face harsh resistance
from those who are to benefit from retaining the status quo and
a lukewarm response from those who could benefit from the any changed
circumstances. It is a protracted battle of ideas that is lonely,
difficult and unpredictable.
In my view regardless
of what some are saying now, the MDC began 13 years ago to try and
take us there and we must have the foresight and the courage to
continue on that road despite how bleak our future may look now.
The difficult task is
how we lead our communities so that their quality of life cannot
be negatively impacted upon by bad politics. How do we create a
society that is not driven by fear of loss of income or assets if
they choose an outside? How do we prevent a dictatorship from using
economics to imprison us?
In my books, corporate
Zimbabwe is guilty of perpetuating this dictatorship. The middle
class, who join the Central Intelligence Organisation, for example,
in droves to buttress the oppression of Zimbabweans, are guilty.
The greedy businesspersons, small traders and economic chancers
we hear about every day who continue to seek political favour to
gain an unfair advantage are also guilty of perpetuating a system
that oppresses them.
We have also seen how
those that are in opposition politics and claim to represent the
interests of those who want an outside have become persuaded and
are now complicit in strengthening this tyranny. Most of us have,
therefore, played a decisive role and in part created the very conditions
that we continue to complain against and blame.
Can a dictatorship such
as this be dislodged through free and fair elections? Can our society
destroy this pervasive and evil foundation from within?
My answer to the first
question is no, unless the international community aggressively
intervenes because change can only be fuelled from outside our society.
Those Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can indeed assist and stop complaining
why things have not changed.
My answer to the second
question is yes, but this will take a while.
That is the journey we
must take now; to destroy in our minds the myth that there is no
outside. To accept that yes, we have been the fuel to this dictatorship
and we can indeed change our circumstances through a deliberate
albeit slow effort of changing our minds.
Believe me, it will not
be easy or profitable in the short-term, but in my opinion, we can
indeed move Zimbabwe from a dictatorship to a democracy if we choose
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