Zimbabwe: Only You can save Yourself
Neither the East nor the West will save you.
Neither the South nor the North will save you.
Neither the ground nor the sky will save you.
Don’t idle and wait for a savior.
You are responsible. Take control.
Some Look to the East.
The Look East policy adopted by the government is disastrous because it is not built on partnership foundations. This is because China’s foreign policy in Africa is expansionary and predatory. It is characterized by extraction, exploitation, corruption, and predatory loans.
The Chinese state looks out for Chinese interests. We have to elect leaders that can look out for our interests. Leaders that can get the best deals for our people.
The loans and development deals that China signs with Africa are a debt-trap. This is equivalent to neo-colonialism.
The assumption that trade with China is going to solve our problems is misguided because the format of that trade is exploitative. We export commodities for a song and they export cheap goods from their factories.
Why can't we have a deal whereby they export their technologies to us so that we can manufacture some of the goods in Africa. China is not the only country that has low wages. We have millions who earn zero wages and are willing to put in the work for low wages.
Any trade deal that does not result in the industrialization of our economy is a bad one. China does not table such deals. We have to push for those deals.
Someone has to hold China to a higher standard. In China, they have zero tolerance for corruption but when they come to Africa they bribe our corrupt politicians. It is obviously our problem. We are the stupid ones.
The East does not engage with us as equal partners. China is not a savior. She is a predator.
The East is not going to save our economy. In fact, the east is going to exacerbate our corruption levels, loot resources, and trap-us in debt through overpriced infrastructure projects.
Some Look to the West.
The West cannot be viewed as a savior. The USA and EU’s policy towards Africa has historically been as exploitative as the Chinese one. The new efforts towards re-engagement with African countries are not for the benefit of Africa but primarily for the benefit of Europe and America. African leaders have to negotiate for deals that benefit their own countries.
The West is not going to save us. They have enough troubles of their own. They might theoretically support the principles of democracy and human rights but they are not well placed to be the authors of our success. Our best interests can only be safeguarded by ourselves.
The West does not engage with us as equal partners. They do no take Africa seriously, partly due to the clownish type of leaders we have, and partly due to the historical issues around slave trade, colonization, and unfair trade.
Global capitalism in existence today, as authored by the West, theoretically emphasizes profit maximization through cost minimization and revenue maximization. The cost minimization function when imposed on production curves should have resulted in most of the global manufacturing taking place in Africa because that's where most of the supply chains start (i.e raw materials).
Manufacturing hubs have shifted from Europe to Asia (mostly China) because the cost minimization function had pronounced low wages there. But Africa has low wages too. Africa has autocratic regimes. It is very hard to do business in Africa. The same goes for China too, but manufacturing has migrated to that country nonetheless.
If it wasn't for infrastructure deficits and very high levels of corruption in Africa, the case for global manufacturing to take place in Africa would have made a lot of sense. However, for the few African countries with growing infrastructure and declining levels of corruption, we are not witnessing decent manufacturing activity for the global economy moving to those countries.
What we can deduce from this is that the western capital that migrates around the globe is not yet considering Africa as a serious option for a manufacturing hub. The West is not ready to be the savior.
In the United States and some European countries, racism is systemic and institutionalized. It is not just a phenomenon occurring at the individual and interpersonal level. It is something that is structural and state-enabled.
Having observed this, to then propose the West as the savior of Africa’s problems becomes a complex that needs to be resolved.
Some Look to the South.
South Africa and SADC are not going to save Zimbabwe. South Africa can only do so much. It can take a hard stance against authoritarian regimes in Zimbabwe, negotiate for talks or put pressure on Harare for the respect of human rights.
At best, South Africa and SADC could choose not to rubberstamp fraudulent elections, and decide not to recognize a fraudulently-elected government. They could even choose to put sanctions on a rogue Harare regime. These are all fantastic fantasies.
The reality is that SADC is an old boys club. It's an institution that is very dysfunctional. Once Zimbabwe is free and democratic, one institution to walk away from will be the SADC. It has failed dismally. It cannot be reformed. It has to be totally disbanded and a new path of regional integration has to mapped.
The reality of the ANC-ran South African government is that their interest in Zimbabwean affairs is only to the extent that hardships in Zimbabwe spillover to South Africa via economic refugees, which then creates and ferments the xenophobia problem for them to handle.
This reality limits the range of actions on what they could possibly do to get Zimbabwe on the right path. It's a neighbor who is not interested in what's going on next door unless the noise and effect spill over to his house. The neighbor just wants a good night's sleep and you cannot blame him for a limited interest.
Some Look to the North.
The North is useless. This African Union is the type of North that does not always remember. It's even more useless than the SADC. It's just a talk shop with nothing to show on the ground.
The AU is one type of institution that Zimbabwe should walk away from once free. In place of the AU charter and agreements, Zimbabwe can craft bilateral trade agreements, specifically centered around free trade with the other 54 nations. The 54 separate agreements will be way more efficient than the free trade promised by AU.
The AU is spineless, it does not stand for anything, it has no principles or character. It is just an organization that exists on paper and has no impact whatsoever in real life.
Looking up to the north for redemption is wasting time. The redemption will never come. It's a toothless bulldog. It has no capacity to intervene whatsoever. It cannot guarantee peace on the continent. It cannot guarantee free and fair elections in a country. Violating its code of conduct and agreements has no real consequences.
What do we really benefit from being part of the AU Whatsapp Group? What’s in it for us? We don't benefit as an individual country and the AU is largely ignored by the world; the collectivism is all for nothing.
The North is not going to save us. If we save ourselves, we might be able to save the north in due course, one country at a time, from one region to another, until all of Africa is integrated.
Some Look Under-the-Groud.
There is a cabal of those that emphasize the need to return to our ancestors for guidance in order to overcome the great tribulations that engulf our nation. These ones are as misguided as misguided can be in their quest for seeking guidance.
Ancestors (spiritual or physical) are just people that died earlier than us. If they have any influence over our lives on earth, that influence is very limited. Looking up to them for deliverance is borderline stupid.
Ancestors, spirit mediums, occultists, and a whole range of traditional religionists cannot save us. They cannot help us in any meaningful way. Life is for the living, not the dead. Those above the ground matter than those under the ground.
Remember autocrats like Robert Mugabe that troubled us when they were living on earth also become ancestors when they die, based on the traditional beliefs. Would you consult or seek guidance and redemption from that lot?
And all those that enabled Mugabe's reign of terror by choosing not to stand up whilst they were alive also become ancestors. If they did not redeem the country when they were alive, how are they going to redeem it when they are dead?
Some Look to the Skies.
Far beyond the sky lies heaven, the home of God. He is going to redeem us from the evil regime just like how he delivered the children of Israel from the land of Egypt. This is the standard belief for most Christians.
Criticizing this belief set is considered blasphemy. But it is not. It is facing reality. Why do vast amounts of people who were given the earth to live in with their brothers look up to the sky for redemption from their brothers?
Why should God intervene in the management and governance of Zimbabwe? If he should intervene at the country level, should he also intervene and the company level and select the Board of Directors.
The relationship between man and God is personal. That is the basis for almost all religions. How far do we want God to intervene at the micro-level? Do we really want him to micro-manage our affairs?
Do we really want God to choose presidents, ministers, enact laws, and run our parastatals? Do we want him to take back the power of choice that he gave us so that he can turn us into mini-robots instead of the mini-gods we are?
When are we going to take responsibility for our actions and inactions? The country is in a mess because of us. We, the people of Zimbabwe, are responsible for what the country is today. We are collectively responsible for the corruption, maladministration, looting, collapse of the justice system, the collapse of the healthcare system, and the collapse of property law.
The persons running down the country are Zimbabweans too. The persons that are silent amidst the malaise are Zimbabweans too. The country is ours and only we can save it.
Gazing into the sky waiting for an angel to redeem us is simply wasting time. It is escapism and it is irresponsible. It is cowardice. It is refusing to do what needs to be done by us, the people living here on the earth.
Only You Can Save Us.
The power lies with you. The power is in your hands. The power is in your mouth, your feet, your body. It's in your power of persuasion and negotiation. It's in your strength to fight. It's in your wisdom for collaboration.
The savior is you. You are the savior.
The East, the West, the North, the South, the Underground, and the Sky are not going to save you. You are your own savior.
Zimbabweans have to sort things out amongst themselves. The police and soldiers that are used to squash protests are neither Chinese nor British. They are not South Africans, neither are they from the AU. They are not demons from the underground. They are your Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. They are as Zimbabweans as you are. They live, eat, drink and piss in Zimbabwe.
The men and women who fought for liberation from the colonial regime were not angels from above. They were Zimbabweans.
The men and women who are pushing for a just, democratic and progressive Zimbabwe are not angels falling from the sky. They are Zimbabweans.
It's hard to build a just, democratic and progressive nation but you have to do it. External support is a “nice-to-have” but it is not a substitute for your actions. You have to do what it takes. You have to carry your cross. You have to do what needs to be done.
You have to talk to your brother. You have to save yourself from your monster father. It's only you who have the power to sculpture Zimbabwe into your own image. You are responsible for creating the Zimbabwe you have, either by your action or inaction.
Only you can create the Zimbabwe you deserve.