One of the fundamental concerns about working towards the rebuilding of the troubled infrastructure of Zimbabwe, is how to ensure that the money raised is utilised to its full potential. With stories of corruption frequently told, and experience still fresh in my mind, I am often challenged by the consideration of why I should be involved in working to raise money towards assisting Zimbabwean people, when chances are that the money we raise could potentially not even reach the people we aim to assist.
So what is it that spurs me on. Well for a start as I see it, poverty is a result of man’s greed. It is not the fault of the average man on the street in Zimbabwe that they are in a place of heartache and hardship. The average man is hard working, family orientated and driven by a desire to survive. It is this drive that is the miracle of Zimbabwe. Theorists and educated men alike are baffled that despite its spiral into hyper inflation, Zimbabwe still lives and breathes. It is not dead and buried. While yes, I am well aware that there are men who are driven by hatred and would live to see all that they despise killed and wasted, I know that they are in a small minority. I also realise that there is a complex mix of cultural and ethnic differences at play in Zimbabwe, not just across the black/white divide, but even among African tribes.
The fact that poor governance has led Zimbabwe astray is not the fault of the people. The government have used every excuse in the book to hide behind, and convince the general public that it is not to blame for the problems that the country faces. While it is a well known fact that Zimbabwe has the highest literacy of the African countries that surround it, it is also a fact that the government has very successfully managed a propaganda campaign that has convinced many people that it has been acting in their best interests while raping the very coffers that the Zimbabwean people believed would help them survive when the going got tough. But Zimbabwean’s are not completely fooled, and have begun to see through the mantra of lies, greed and gluttony, of the ruling party in Zimbabwe. They see governors making land grabs, driving fancy state of the art cars, and wearing the best clothes while they struggle to find bread on the shelves, or wait hours in the line at bus stops. Yes it is a chosen few that carry the bulk of the responsibility of blame for the destruction of an entire nation.
And as one leader steps aside and another steps into the lime light, it would begin to become apparent that while he once championed the cause of his people, he is now rapidly lining his pockets as quickly as he can before he is either sidelined or marginalised as his supporters loose heart and turn back to concentrating on survival and day to day chores. But it is easy to focus one’s attention on the corruption of the bureaucracy and forget the plight of the people. It is common place on the African continent for people to lose sight of the facts of life for the working class, while focusing on the blunders of those at whom we can point a finger. It is also a fact that the world have tired of hearing that yet another African leader has been caught at it. It is no longer surprising to hear that a nation is in peril of termination at the hands of a dictator. From Idi Amin in the 1970’s one African leader after another has left the telling trail of greed, corruption and mal-governance as they have feathered their nest. It is not uncommon to hear appeal after appeal for help for Africa. Be it clean water, to education for its children, Africa is always extending its hand with nothing but a begging bowl seeking for international support to survive.
I am left as a child of Africa wondering why this is the case. Is it at all possible for an African leader to lead by example and bring his nation to bare fruits? Yes. A perfect example of leadership by example is a seldom talked about African country. It is not a well known fact that since its independence in 1966 Botswana has slowly built its GDP to being one of the strongest in Southern Africa. From being one of the most seriously impoverished countries in the 1960’s to becoming a vibrant market economy with a stable political infrastructure it is an example to other African nations of a country that came back from the brink. Ok yes it took 30 years of really hard work, but it proves to me that it is possible for an African nation to make it. If you find the right leader, establish a firm ethos of production and progress then anything is achievable.
Who would have thought 20 years ago that Ghana would become a leader in democratic stability and change. Yet at a time when the world economy is shrinking, Ghana’s economy is growing. Through a process of change and the determination of a group of African people who were fixated with the idea of working together to make Ghana work, a leadership has taken shape that is paving the way for other African nations to follow in its footsteps. It is an understanding that these things take time, and are not necessarily going to formulate in the time scale or through the channels that we wish that I have hope for Zimbabwe.
A very wise man from Zimbabwe Justice Zengeni once told me that without a credible challenge within a democratic frame work that there could never be progress. It is that constant shadow that an opposition party possess on the party in power that keeps a country moving forward. And therefore it is understanding the principle of democracy and the necessity of a multi party society that leads me to think that given the right type of environment, new growth is possible in any country, no matter how far gone it may seem.
So what are the first steps to success for the Zimbabwean community. Well first let me draw your attention to the Indian community. There are a number of things that we can learn by examining not only the nation of India, but the community of Indian people around the world. First let me ask you, have you ever seen an Indian abandoned and living in poverty in your community where you live? If you are reading this sat in your home in the UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia or China the answer will be no! Why? Simple. The Indian community support their own. They work together, live together, pray together and thrive together. How. The word together is the key. By learning to support each other no matter what the odds, the Indian community throughout the world have managed to make themselves successful in everything that they venture into. When something concerns the community they talk with one voice. When someone challenges an individual the whole community comes out to defend itself. It is that united front that makes the Indian community the successful structure it has become around the world.
A second lesson I think we should learn from the Indian nation is the ability to live side by side. Yes they argue, and may not see eye to eye. There have been times that the different faiths within India have seemed to be ruthless with each other, but over the years they have come to accept that in order to change their lifestyles, in order to raise themselves out of poverty they need to understand that they must work together. The Indian parliament is made up of many different creeds, cultures, classes and religions. Together they have begun to build one of the dominant market economies in the world. From one of the poorest countries in the world, to be a market leader is an achievement that cannot be ignored. I think it is a lesson that Africa should learn and learn fast. White, Black, Coloured, it doesn’t matter who you are, without unity there will never be peace or progress. Shona, Ndebele, or one of the many other tribal groups of Zimbabwe ought not to be a factor associated with who you are and your place in society. Progress comes from a commitment to work together to tackle the odds.
So let me come back to my original question. Why do I endeavour to work so hard to rebuilding Zimbabwe. Well I will answer that question for you now. Over time and in talking with a great many people who are scattered around the globe, I have come to realise that there are more than enough Zimbabweans living in Diaspora to change the future of Zimbabwe. However there is no co-ordination nor coherence in what we are saying nor what we are doing at this time. It takes effort and determination to bring people to the table and create a dialogue that allows free and fair representation of everyone. Not just the chosen few, but representation of everyone. It needs people to begin to speak with one voice and to accumulate their desire to see progress and bring about democracy. I have come to realise that standing on the side lines waiting for this to happen makes me as disabled and useless as those that sit back complaining about things. In order to see a change you need to be a part of it. It is the desire and drive of every individual seeking to make that change not only for my own life, but for the future of my nation that will inspire those next to me to get involved and take a stand. We all have a duty to each other to join forces, and to speak with one voice. Yes it may mean that while we meet at the table we will have to face some hard truths. Maybe we will have to admit that we are sorry for the mistakes of the past, and work together to heal the wounds that the past created, but let me be so bold as to say that alone we cannot achieve this. It is time that we all woke up to the fact that we need each other as much as the next man.
I also have begun to realise that without a united voice there is no platform for a strong leader to emerge. With over 4 million Zimbabweans living abroad, we are in a unique position of power. As we begin to engage in real progress, and gather in a united effort to change our place in history, we will naturally enable good, strong and honest leadership to come from within. By nature of the fact that this leadership have been involved in the process of dialogue and have listened to the voice of the people we will have the reward of leaders who know the people, work for the people and are true representatives of the people. Tomorrow’s politicians need to learn that we are the power of a nation and they are answerable to the people. There is more than enough of us to change the face of our future. From our place in Diaspora 4 million of us are a voice that if united cannot be ignored.
But to do this we need to start somewhere, and again there is no use sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone to rise to the challenge. In calling for Zimbabweans to mobilise I am at the front line of seeking a new beginning for my nation and in seeking to bring people together I am helping to facilitate that united front. It seems to me to be pointless to talk endlessly about the past, and theorise in long winded speeches. I have taken more than enough time looking at things in this blog. Talk without action is lame and part of the problem that Zimbabweans face. If you really want to engage people then lead by example, be willing to hear their point of view, and be willing to take criticism. Then through that dialogue challenge people to take up the cause and in turn to energise those around them.
For Zimbabwe to come right, we admittedly have to challenge the existing governing structure. This is not going to happen overnight, but is a process that needs to be undertaken before we will have any real chance of making Zimbabwe safe for free and fair democracy to survive. Again the process of Rebuilding Zimbabwe will come about through time honoured commitment to making a change in Zimbabwe. Not only in politics, but the creation of an environment where creed, colour and ethnicity are not factors of consideration. Zimbabwe is a nation rich of natural resources, land and potential. We do not need to endlessly survive on first world hand outs. By being united and creating a vibrant market economy where investment is encouraged and safe, then growth will naturally follow suit. Imagine the feeling of pride and elation at being not only an independent republic in terms of politics, but an independent country in terms of financial stability, and being able to choose our own destiny and place in international matters. A Zimbabwe without debt and dependence on First World hand outs with conditions attached. Imagine if you will a Zimbabwe that others come to for guidance and assistance. We’ve been there before, there is absolutely no reason that without a untied approach and determination to succeed that we can’t be there again!
Great Zimbabwe is a national monument of Zimbabwe. The House of Stone was built thousands of years ago by the Matebele tribe who ruled the region at the time. They carefully chose rock that was strong and durable. They took their time to carefully place every stone in its place so that they fitted together perfectly. As a result the ruin has stood the test of time. The thatch may be gone, and the grass may now grow where great men once stood, but the wall still stands.
We are now like those builders. Faced with the unenviable task of finding the stones, then matching them to their place in that wall. Each one of the 4 million of us owe it to those who are left behind to struggle in Zimbabwe to take up the ropes and confront the task of building a great nation. And this is why I am involved. I don’t want to one day have the finger pointed at me and be told that I did nothing to help change the face of Africa, and help Rebuild Zimbabwe. So while there are concerns about making sure that any money raised right now is utilised correctly and gets to the people who really do need it in Zimbabwe, that is not an excuse that dissuades me from being involved in the calling to my friends and family, it’s time to join in the task of Rebuilding Zimbabwe.
After all it is not the people living in Poverty who created the problem. Do they deserve to remain in poverty with no voice, fearful of speaking out? No we owe it to them as we are able to help. They rely on us speak out for them. We are able, empowered by such wonderful tools as the internet, the media and freedom of speech. Zimbabweans struggling to survive at home in Zimbabwe are not going to be the ones that have the ability to call for those in power to be held accountable for their management of the economy and affairs of state. And we cannot just bury our heads in the sand and pretend that Zimbabwe will come right on its own. We must challenge the greed that brought us to this place. We must work tirelessly to bring about the hope of a new tomorrow for Zimbabwe, and while that work is being undertaken, people like me will continue in every way that I can to work to help even one Zimbabwean if I am able. It is my desire to help as many as I can, and I pray daily that the Lord will provide for those in need, and through us we are able to change the lives of the people left behind. So yeah, this is why I am involved, and I hope that in reading this I encourage you to take time to support us. I hope that by being humble and willing to dialogue with people and challenge them that we are able to come together and begin to build the foundations that will shape a strong, united and prosperous Zimbabwe.