When will it all end?
I have no idea, but I know it will come to an end eventually. I wonder
might have felt had I been a Russian in 1917 and I had known that
rule would last 70 years before collapsing under its own weight and
How would I have felt in 1938 when the Nationalists took power in South
Africa had I known that 40 years of savage segregation and
would follow? I think I might have been suicidal.
Today is Poppy Day and I think about those long years during the Second
World War from 1939 to 1945 when the whole earth was at war and
were dying in pursuit of the eventual defeat of a tyranny that had
hold in the most educated and sophisticated country on earth, Germany.
a waste when you look at the bombed out wreckage that was Europe in
when you understand the huge human suffering in all spheres of the war.
could even imagine, looking at the pictures of the prisoners liberated
1945 when Germany was overrun and defeated, living through that and
yourself alive at the end.
The numbers of people killed violently in the 20th Century are greater
in any Century in the history of mankind. Yet it was also a century of
lessons learned, great mistakes remedied and successful nation States
established with a standard of living and quality of life that was
unheralded in the annuls of history.
In Zimbabwe we have been in a state of gradually intensifying crisis
years. Just this morning I calculated the inflation in my own business
the first three weeks of October - it is now 27 000 percent, up from
percent in April. This is of course only part of the picture of decay
collapse - the local currency was trading at about 1 200 000 to the
dollar today, the Rand about 180 000 to 1. The stores are still empty,
had no power until early afternoon and water is critically short. Fuel
unobtainable on the open market. Hunger stalks every household unless
are one of the elite or a member of the Security Forces and can bully
way into securing the basic essentials of life.
But although we find ourselves being watched and monitored by State
Agents pretty much on a continuous basis, we are not killing each other
trying to overthrow the State by force of arms. Some would say that is
weakness - I think it's a gift from God and an important feature of
are collectively dealing with this self imposed economic collapse and
I have spoken at two public meetings recently - one in Mutare and one
in Bulawayo. They were interesting - in both the Police and CIO
felt - they sat in the front row in Bulawayo and made no secret that
were there to monitor what we said. I was glad they were there, because
message is as much for them as it is for the others who perhaps came
curiosity or to support our campaign. The questions were also
nothing about the split in the MDC - that seems to be a thing of the
now, nothing about the issues the State media have been using as
points against us. Just lots of anxiety about how long we have to
to suffer under these idiots who are in charge of the government right
I tried to deal with the issue of what we would do when elected into
People sat there silently thinking about a possible world in which life
might come back to some sense of normality. Food on the shelves,
classrooms, doctors and nurses in clean hospitals, money that will buy
something in your pockets. The chance to own a home and some means of
transport. For us that just seems like a dream but so did the words of
leaders in the Russian Gulag, the German Concentration Camp, the South
African single sex towers in Johannesburg at the height of Nationalist
It will come - it is coming and it's only a matter of time. Time is
problem - how much and what the lost time means to us as individuals
families. In the begining we were over optimistic - we were going to
that election in 2000, 2002. We did; but still did not achieve the hand
of power that was our right. When I read the histories of the great
conflicts of the 20th Century I see that leadership then was always
optimistic about how quickly the war would end. We are no exception -
should we be?
I see and hear nothing but despondency around me today. "We are
nowhere; Zanu PF is confidant that they will win the next election."
next election is already lost".
"There is no future in Africa," is a common cry, not just here but
parts of the continent. Soon a third or more of Africa's population
living abroad, driven there by desperation and poor living conditions
created in many cases by corrupt and incompetent leadership.
But the reality is very different - Zanu PF said they would never
the MDC. As recently as July, Mr. Mugabe wrote to President Mbeki
that they would never entertain negotiations with the MDC. In fact
negotiations - serious ones, have been going on since the 18th of
Mr. Mugabe said he would not entertain constitutional amendments - a
revised and amended Constitution has been negotiated and signed.
say that Zanu will never negotiate itself out of power - true, but
right now being forced at the negotiating table to accept far reaching
reforms that might give the suffering Zimbabwe people their first real
chance to select new leadership since 1980.
The talks are in their final stages, the new conditions for elections
soon become known. When they do, I think there are going to be a lot of
surprises. That of course is not enough, we must still see those
adopted and implemented and then adhered to by an errant and delinquent
regime that shows no signs that a new electoral era is on its way. The
realistic understanding of the South African facilitators gives me hope
this sensitive stage will also be accomplished in due course and
held that allow freedom of choice in 2008.
There is of course the risk that we may not be that choice. I have
absolutely no reason to think that we do not offer Zimbabwe a new
government, one that will be compassionate and caring, with a
that will seek to serve rather than dominate and one that will tackle
economic, social and political problems with vigor and determination. I
also no doubt as to who will win in the end. History shows us that with
absolute certainty - it's only a matter of time.
Bulawayo, 29th October 2007