if The People are not ready
st = ("We deserve what we have")
if It all does not matter
st = ("We deserve what we have")
It’s not meant to be an executable code. It’s just an illustration of the conditional logic behind my posit. The situation is more complex than what can be accommodated by IF statements. The conditional statements simplify things by reducing the complexity.
Many times, people go through horrors in life for no fault of their own. Rape victims come to mind. Regardless of the circumstances, no one deserves to be raped, abused or violated in any manner. The massacre of Jews by Hitler was atrocious and happened for no reason besides Hitler’s twisted mind. Slavery and racism also come to mind. People are hated, discriminated against, and viewed as inferior for simply being black.
When it comes to the situation in Zimbabwe, it is easy to classify the bad state of the country in the category of those bad things that happen to good people. The overarching view is that bad things in Zimbabwe happen to people who don't deserve such. A common citation is that Zimbabwe is a good country with bad leadership.
I would like to argue otherwise and say that Zimbabweans are mostly responsible for the state of the country. Barring gross human rights abuses, such as murders, rapes, torture, beatings et cetera, the rest of what happens in Zimbabwe is actually due to our own passive contribution to society.
We are not some helpless, hapless victims of bad governance. We are the primary contributors and enablers of bad governance. We are not solely victims “in” this thing. We are the villains as well. We are part of the problem. Each and every one of us. It’s not just the leadership that is wrong. It is the underlying society that is also wrong.
We are not ready to create a better society. We don't think it matters. So, by deduction, we deserve what we have.
IF: The People are not ready
AND: It all doesn't matter
THEN: We Deserve what we Have.
What makes us think we deserve a better society? Is it a God-given right that we should have a better country? Maybe it’s not that automatic. The state of a nation-state is a direct function of its people.
The country we have is a direct result of our actions and inactions. The essence of leadership is followership. It’s not just about what they (the leaders) have done, it’s also about what we (the people) haven’t done. We are responsible.
We are not passive outputs in this equation. We are active ingredients. Our actions and inactions matter. They feed into the equation that gives us the country we have as an output. In other words, what we have is due to what we inputted. We deserve what we have.
We cannot blame the equation. It is a mathematical function. There is nothing wrong with the equation. It's a universal truth. How do we blame the equation? By pointing fingers at everything else other than us, especially God. Zimbabweans are very fond of blaming God for the woes that the country has. We wonder why God has forsaken us. “The gods must have forgotten about us”. But the equation is fair, and God is fair. Whatever a man plants is what he reaps. Your input determines your output. God has not forsaken us; we have forsaken our duty to take care of our own affairs. We actually deserve what we have.
We are also good at blaming the other inputs into the equation. The public blames the government. The private sector blames the public sector. The government blames the people and the external powers. When people blame the leaders, they act as if they do not deserve the type of leaders they have, when in fact the type of leaders they have is a direct result of their actions and inactions.
3x + 2y = 10
The “3x” part of the equation is blaming the “2y” part for giving us a result of 10 as if the “3x” itself is not partly responsible for the result set. Moreover, we get to find out later that the “2y” part is actually derived from the x part, such that we can substitute y for x. The people elect their leaders. In a dictatorship, where elections are rigged, the people also elect their leaders by choosing to do nothing regarding the rigging of the elections.
- The leaders that we have, we actually deserve them
- The poor infrastructure that we have, we deserve it
- The shambolic healthcare system that we have is exactly what we deserve
- The horrendous Monetary Policies we have had for the past two decades are a function of our passivity. We deserve them.
- The Fiscal Policies we have had, which range from corruptively expansionary to cruelly contractionary, are the types of policies that a population like ours deserves.
- The Home Affairs department we have, the one that fails to produce passports in time, even when citizens have paid hard cash for it, is exactly the type of a home affairs ministry that is deserving to a corrupt citizenry that has abandoned its citizenry duties.
- The non-existent Industrial Policy we have is precisely what should happen to a population that is 95% economically illiterate.
Whilst there can be many reasons to explain why we deserve what we have, the basic reason is that if we did not deserve the system, we would have found ways to change it by now. It's been so long.
IF: We do not deserve the system
THEN: We would have gotten rid of the system by now
ELSE: What have we done about it so far?
ELSIF: Not much
THEN: We actually deserve what we have.
Of course, it is hard to get rid of an oppressive system. It's never easy. But what have we done so far to try and change our situation? This is an open question. Many would say we have done much; we have tried all we can but to no avail. Contrary to our feelings and opinions, the evidence shows that we haven't done much, especially in the 2010 to 2020 decade. Even in the prior decades, the nation has not done much to create better systems.
Some would mention a few demos organized here and there. But change needs more than demos. The efforts towards creating a better society need to be holistic and all-encompassing. There is no real ideological framework for the struggle. The struggle lacks identity. Millions are still in mental captivity. Millions still don't even know what they deserve. The ones who know don't know how to organize and push for what they deserve. The point here is that the groundwork for a systemic revolution has not been laid.
The next point is that the action layer of a systemic change for the better has not been done. The little efforts have been poorly organized and poorly executed. The efforts have largely been insignificant.
The bottom line is that we have not done much to prove that we do not deserve the system we have. We have not done what we are supposed to do. We have not done what ought to be done. We have not done all that is required of us. We haven't done much.
If we fear the system so much and fear death, don't we deserve the system that makes us live in fear? Let's say there is another Zimbabwe existing in a parallel universe and that Zimbabweans in that Zimbabwe are brave. Don’t you think those Zimbabweans deserve a better Zimbabwe? I think they do, and I think because of their bravery they will be able to free themselves from tyranny and create a better parallel Zimbabwe.
6 Reasons why we Deserve what we Have
- Dereliction of duty
- National Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD)
- Ignorance and Illiteracy — political, legal, economical
- Naivety and Negativity
- Corruption — we are corrupt
Dereliction of duty
What is your duty as a citizen? The usually cited mandatory duties are that you have to obey the law, pay taxes, serving on a jury when summoned, and turning up for the military draft when called.
The commonly cited voluntary duties are voting, staying informed, community involvement, and passing on a good society and values to the next generation. The list can be broadened.
A citizen has a right and a responsibility to vote. Voting is both a right and a responsibility. It's a duty. So many Zimbabweans don't register to vote. There is no greater dereliction of duty than this. It is a willful dereliction of duty, driven by ignorance, indifference, and general lack of care towards your own affairs.
The voter registration process in Zimbabwe is purposefully designed to frustrate, but that's the beginning of the struggle. Zimbabweans have to overcome that. Those in the diaspora should continue pushing for legislative changes to make sure they can vote from abroad or at the embassies. It's part of the struggle. Giving up is not an option. The people have to overcome. When you decide not to register to vote because the lines were too long, and the system was frustrating you have effectively given up without putting up a fight. Registering to vote is the first point of mounting resistance, defending your country, and protecting the constitution. Yes, the election results can be rigged, but that's round 2, lets first get into the fight.
For those who register to vote, there is a big portion that does not turn up on the voting day. This is a dereliction of duty as well. It's choosing to give up the fight too soon, in round 2. Even though the queues are long, you must have perseverance. The mountain is too steep, but we still have to climb. It's part of the struggle.
For those who vote, there is an overwhelming majority that does not protect their votes. This is a dereliction of duty as well. If you know there are chances that the counting can be rigged, why not be organized as a society, and have thousands of volunteers at all the polling stations ready to ensure no funny business during the counting.
All night vigils protecting the ballot boxes should be held. When ballot boxes are being transported, convoys of vehicles from the communities should move along with the ballots like a funeral procession just to secure the ballot boxes. Vigils at the tallying offices too. Voters should demand free, fair, and transparent tallying. They should be ready to defend it to the end. Protecting and defending your vote is the duty of a responsible citizen. If you cannot defend your vote, then you deserve the country that you get for the next 5 years after the election.
Other than voting, there are plenty of areas in life where Zimbabweans have totally neglected their duties as citizens. It's like Zimbabweans don't really want to be Zimbabwean.
National Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This is an unofficial diagnosis of an entire nation. The nation suffers from a chronic case of ADHD. This description is not meant to stigmatize persons suffering from ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD may also have trouble focusing their attention on a single task or sitting still for long periods of time. It's the part where people cannot focus their attention on a single task that is very relevant.
If you are to characterize Zimbabweans, especially in the age of social media you would definitely pivot your description around the hyperactivity of jumping from one trending issue to another, mostly silly issues.
The nation cannot focus on one thing. From business to education to gossip, this phenomenon is prevalent. The whole country onboards one ship plays there for a while, gets bored, and then quickly jumps into another ship.
The nation gets hyperactive on one thing and quickly gets bored. We can't focus on any task. We cannot control our attention. It makes it very difficult to complete any national project like fighting for a cause. Our national attention lifespans are so short.
Politics and the struggle for a better Zimbabwe only heats up a few days before and after the election. A month after the election, the nation has totally lost interest. Chamisa and the MDC are left alone fighting the rest of the battle. The rest of the nation would have moved on, gripped by the next popular thing or sensation. All attention is completely taken away from political and electoral issues.
The nation finds it so hard to still and focus on one thing. We are easily distracted. Our oppressors are aware of this. It is suspected that they purposefully create distractions whenever the nation is focusing on real issues. We impulsively jump onto the distraction, because we have ADHD. They manipulate our weaknesses.
What's our most important goal as a nation? Whatever the goal is, we should collectively focus on getting stuff done that will lead us to attain that goal.
The first step in handling ADHD is awareness and acceptance. We should be aware that we suffer from ADHD as a nation and then accept it. Some among us despise and rebuke us, as a nation, for suffering from ADHD, but it is only a mental disorder within our collective mindset, and there is a lot we can do about it. We can adopt strategies to manage our ADHD.
The worst we can do is choosing not to accept our condition. Such defiance will mean that we keep on getting the type of society we have, and that defiance will justify what we have (a shitty society).
Ignorance and Illiteracy — political, legal, economical
Ignorance reigns supreme in Zimbabwe. Illiteracy is also very high up the scale. The majority of our people are politically illiterate. The majority of our people are legally and economically illiterate.
Zimbabwe is said to have the highest literacy rate in Africa. This literacy refers to the ability to read and write. The literacy that I am referring to pertains to the ability to read or listen and understand. Basic economics are not well understood by Zimbabweans. Basic politics and law are not understood.
The majority of people are not even aware of their rights and responsibilities. Those who know (who happen to be the type that read articles like this one) tend to think that the majority of people are politically and economically literate. That supposition is very far from reality.
The reality is our people need to be educated. They need to be schooled. They need to be emancipated. They need to be unshackled mentally so that they can be free to think. They can be free to imagine better systems.
Land ownership and land tenure systems always come to mind when we speak of illiteracy because it is a strange confluence of all three forms of illiteracy mentioned above. The rural people, who don't have title deeds to the land they occupy are the first ones to declare that rural land should not have title deeds.
Historical illiteracy prevents them from realizing that whilst they were displaced of their land and temporarily placed into reserves (reserved for future allocation), the white settlers were pegging farms for themselves and registering title and obtaining title deeds. Up to today, the system is still like that. Legal illiteracy prevents them from realizing the importance of holding a full and irrevocable title. The level of legal illiteracy is also very high among college-educated persons as well. Economic illiteracy prevents them from realizing that property rights are the basis of a developmental economy.
A classic example regarding economic illiteracy is the promotion of rural and agrarian lifestyles as the economic savior of the country. It is said to be the most practical way of alleviating poverty and lifting the nation to prosperity. We believe it because we are illiterate.
Where in the world has farming ever driven a nation to prosperity? If the whole country takes up farming as a profession, who is going to manufacture TVs for us? How many bags of maize do we need to export just to buy one TV? The role of industrialization in development is totally ignored and relegated to the sidelines by the leaders. The majority of our people accept that nonsense because we are illiterate. The mind has not been educated and freed to think otherwise.
Political illiteracy is also abundant. There is no shortage of it in rural areas. The urban areas have it too. Within the leading politicians from leading political parties, there is Political-Ideological-illiteracy.
If we are politically, economically, and legally illiterate from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder, is it not correct to conclude that we deserve what we have? If we don't deserve it, then who else deserves it?
Our levels of illiteracy justify the shambolic country we have. The burden is rightfully ours to bear. We have to carry our cross.
We are too pacific. This is an advantage because it guarantees peace at all times. It's an insurance policy. But it is also a disadvantage because it underwrites the perpetuation of injustices.
Although I personally do not attribute much to this factor as a reason why we deserve what we have, the reason has been cited a lot by Zimbabweans, and there is no reasonable basis to refute its validity, so with reluctance, I accept it as a valid reason.
The nation is peace-loving and sober. We do not have the extreme type of hotheads whose blood can boil at the smallest infraction of rights or injustice (real or perceived).
The Shona word commonly used regarding this is “takapusa”, which means anything from being foolish, stupid, unwise, and too fearful to being a coward. This is very hard to argue against. Any other nation suffering what we have endured would have gone to war, a long time ago. I am not sure if going to war is being wise, but the point is if we were not too passive we would have done more to unchain ourselves from the autocracy. We have not done what needs to be done, so we deserve to be what we currently have.
We passively accept to be dominated in the most outrageous ways without putting up resistance.
Naivety and Negativity
This might come across as disrespect. The context here is that Zimbabweans in general (including the leadership) exhibit a lack of experience and sophistication required to get rid of the oppressive system.
We are too naive, too fearful, too trustful. We can easily be misled. We are quick to buy into narratives and programs that are designed to fail.
The ones who are not naive are too negative. They cannot buy into anything. They believe everything will fail. They are trapped in the captivity of negativity.
Thus, we are presented with two extremes: the extremely naive the extremely negative. A middle ground of rational citizens with positive mindsets is needed. The absence of such a societal stabilizing force contributes immensely to the quagmire we are currently in. Because as a society, we have collectively pushed each other into extreme naivety and negativity, we, in a way, deserve what we have.
We demonize sound minds. We demonize those who are neither naive nor negative. We erode the intellectual stabilizing force. Critical thinking is not allowed. Intellectuals are viewed as academics and theoreticians. When economists speak, they are viewed as madmen who are bookish. We say bookish economics don't work in Zimbabwe. When professionals and thinkers give sound advice, we reject it, as a society. Too negative and too naive.
We sculptured a society that penalizes rational thinkers. We deserve what we have.
Corruption — we are corrupt
We are a corrupt country, at every level. Corruption is eating the country for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The levels of corruption are ever-rising.
From the top government officials down to the kids in the street, corruption everywhere.
How did we get here? When does it stop? What needs to happen to make it stop? These questions are hard to answer.
What percentage of the population is corrupt? A specific answer is hard to give but the general understanding is that it's an overwhelming majority. Extremists believe everyone in Zimbabwe is corrupt, it's only that some are not presented with the opportunities t be corrupt.
If the majority of us are corrupt, and we don't have the resolve and will to fight corruption, isn't it only appropriate that we should exist in a very corrupt country? Since we secretly love corruption, don't we deserve what we have?
I think it's fair that we should have a dysfunctional and corrupt country because we are (the majority of us) corrupt and rotten to the core. We are also passing on the rotten values of corruption to our children so that they sustain the corrupt environment.
We could add a dozen more reasons that explain why we have a country as shitty as ours.
At the end of the day, we deserve what we have.