All this talk of elections and constitutional reform frightens me for one reason.
Zimbabweans are short-sighted. That is our handicap.
There are signs and portents enough. If disaster strikes, we must blame ourselves for misinterpreting them. Of course, our handicap in no way impairs our marvelous hindsight.
Fools can make an omen of ANYTHING in retrospect. “We should have seen this coming,” they say. “We should have been better prepared.”
Well, here is the forewarning. An election without electoral reforms, a level playing field, equal media space, and a new constitution would be an unmitigated disaster, potentially leading to deeper partisan division, political violence and the real threat of a military coup.
See, Zimbabwe totters perpetually, ready to stumble over a precipice into chaos. Africa’s breadbasket is old and decadent and mad, filled with the stench of degeneracy and moral dry-rot. Only a fool would be surprised by anything that happens here.
Zimbabwe is misery personified, but also ancient and intriguing. Our history is a bottomless well, though filled with murky waters. I sometimes amuse myself plumbing those shadowy depths, trying to isolate fact from fiction, legend, and myth. No easy task, of course, for the contry’s earlier historians wrote with an eye to pleasing the powers of their day, before and after Independence.
The question at this moment is who gets to write the next chapter in our nation’s history? Will it be a story of prosperity, of our people rising above our troubles to rebuild this awesome place? Or one of chaos, of brother killing brother over petty party politics?
The country is poised as still as an old battlefield. And like a battlefield, it is filled with stench, flies, scavengers, the barely living and the long-dead. We can only hope the voices of truth, reason and justice emerge from this muck, and the forces of violence and carnage are stilled forever.
Too often the price of order is confused with the cost of chaos. It is not the same thing; where the price of order may be the unknowing loss of freedom, the cost of chaos could be a more obvious destruction of our national fabric – junta.
I do not wish to live under a military bootheel; order at the cost of freedom is not an option, and the only way to avoid such a fate is having a transparent, and credible, civilian electoral process.
Let’s do this right – we can’t afford not to.