Walking in the Dark
When Britain was at the lowest point in the war against Germany in the
s, the King of England spoke to the people of the Commonwealth at the
and said that when we find that we must walk in the pitch dark of a
night, we must do so with our hands in the Hand of God. The speeches of
Winston Churchill at the same time; 'we will fight them on the
were superb, but to my mind this reminder by the then King that our
ultimately lies in the hands of God was both timely and timeless.
I am not trying to elevate our situation in tiny Zimbabwe to that which
faced the British in 1940, but in many ways the situation is the same.
have survived a total onslaught by the Mugabe regime since the people
made their feelings known in 2000. Having suffered their first
defeat since 1980 in the February 2000 Referendum, the regime has
an onslaught against the freedoms and rights of the people of Zimbabwe
unprecedented manner. We may not be at war, but our condition shows all
symptoms of a nation that is at war with itself.
Our economy has shrunk every year since 1998, total economic output is
what it was in 1997, exports a third. Life expectancy has fallen from
years to 34 for women and 36 for men. We have the highest ratio of
to population in the world and probably in history. Half our population
living below the food datum line and only 8 per cent of our total
is in paid employment. 4 million of our citizens have fled the country
now live as economic and political refugees elsewhere. And all this was
achieved without a shot being fired!
I was amused when Elliot Manyika stated at the just completed Zanu PF
conference 'we have not failed?' he bellowed from the podium and
message was faithfully reproduced in every State controlled newspaper
country. I wonder on what grounds he had the audacity to say such a
when every statistic, no matter how trivial, points to exactly that.
then honesty was never a strong point for any of the Zanu PF
We have come to the end of another year under this tyranny, another
looms and the prospects look lousy from whatever perspective you
Almost certainly we face another year of food shortages and another
economic decline. The State has started another 'blitzkrieg', this
all foreign owned companies. They have said they are going to
'take' 51 per
cent of the equity in all foreign owned concerns and turn this over to
'people' (read Zanu PF cronies) to ensure that Zimbabweans are in
all economic institutions and occupy the senior positions in those
Business knows full well what that means and the signs are there
to what their attitude is going to be - withdrawal. Already I see
BP taking down the signage on their petrol stations throughout the
Anglo American, once the owner of 40 per cent of the country's
sector has almost totally liquidated their holdings - remaining with
platinum mine in the midlands that is simply too valuable to relinquish
unless the situation becomes totally impossible. Mines have halted all
prospecting and drilling for new ore bodies and have suspended all
maintenance and expansion. The next step is closure.
The IMF team that has just completed their latest Article 4
has warned that unless radical changes take place, the outlook for
is grim. I could not agree more. I see no sign of change in the way
Zanu PF is running the country - in fact I can only see things
So where do we go from here? In my view we must turn to the wisdom of
King when he spoke to the people of Britain at a time when it really
as if defeat and subjugation was inevitable. Britain only had its
stand on - it was alone internationally with the US standing on the
sidelines and many other traditional allies also posturing their
We are really alone in the struggle against the tyranny that rules us.
countries may condemn the regime for its actions and behavior but do
else. The United Nations - set up to intervene in situations like
nothing, in fact may be complicent. Our neighbors, the only people with
power to intervene have been worse than neutral.
We are a deeply religious country. A very Christian country where
go to church every Sunday and our churches are full to overflowing. We
nation of faith and it is this faith in an everlasting and all-powerful
that will carry us through. People without such a faith will find it
hard to struggle through, even with such a faith it is very tough and
all survive. But what else can we do except 'put our hands in the
God' and then walk by faith and not by sight? We are impatient for
for relief and the restoration of our freedoms and rights, but the
says, 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, run
be weary.' That's us.
We remain deeply convinced that we are where God wants us to be. It is
privilege to be in the struggle and we remain fully committed to that
every way. We have suffered for our stand like so many - my wife has
prison for defending women's rights, we have both been physically
lost assets because of our stand. Threats against us by the regime are
frequent and serious issue. We have no human reason for being confident
we will survive 2007, just like we have survived everything else that
been thrown at us over the past 6 years, but we know that ultimately
will prevail, these tyrants will be overthrown and forgotten and our
will again become a good place to live and work.
So for all of you who share this nightmare with us - join us in our
and lets enjoy Christmas with our families. Lets enjoy each others
and stand together in a common determination that whatever 2007 throws
we will manage the outcome and help each other to do so as well.
We are working right through the festive season - that is the nature
business, but we will take time off after Christmas, together with our
children and grandchildren and be sure to remind ourselves of just what
special place this is and what special people Zimbabweans are. Then it
be back into the thick of things and perhaps, just perhaps, we will
through our darkest days to see victory for all of us in the New Year.
Bulawayo, December 20th 2006