Given #ThisFlag lacks substance, Mawarire's departure is per se irrelevant

Given #ThisFlag lacks substance, Mawarire's departure is per se irrelevant
Published: 15 August 2016 (713 Views)
 There has been a lot of lively discussion amongst Zimbabweans on #Tajamuka/Sesijikile, #ThisFlag and the direction or lack of direction of the nation's struggle for meaningful political change, especially on whether or not Pastor Evan Mawarire did the right thing is leaving Zimbabwe. The discussions have failed to establish whether or not there was any substance in Pastor Mawarire's message; if there is no substance in the message (I argue that there was none), then who cares what happens to the message or the messenger!  

"We watched the whole movement in amazement as it gained momentum, watching all the videos daily and praying earnestly for Zimbabwe. That is how heavily involved my husband and I became in the #This Flag movement," confessed Jean Gasho.
See "Open letter to #ThisFlag Pastor after calling Zimbabwean HATERS", Bulawayo 24 Opinion.

"What first attracted me to This Flag was your humility, passion and eloquence. I remember saying often to my husband that "truly this man is a man of God". …. I thought well, God has surely chosen you to deliver the people of Zimbabwe from bondage, especially those back home."

This is the thing about Zimbabweans; we are easily bowled over especially with empty slogans no matter how nonsensical and self-contradictory they might be. Who can forget Zanu PF's "People's Choice!" or MDC's "Party of excellence!" Yet the one is expect in rigging elections thus denying the people the choice whilst the other failed to implement even one democratic reform although that was the very thing the people had risked life and limp for them to do, respectively.  
"Tajamuka! / Sesijikile!" (We are enlightened! We are free!) "Hatichatya!" (We are no longer afraid!) are the new slogans that swept Jean and many other off their feet! There is nothing substantive in all Pastor Mawarire's video to suggest he understood Zimbabwe's problems and will "deliver the people bondage!" Nothing.

Indeed Pastor Mawarire's naivety left one cold. He demanded that Mugabe must "fire corrupt ministers" for example. This would have made sense in the early 1980s but not now after 36 years of this corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship. Surely it should be clear that it is no longer a matter of corrupt ministers but rather a corrupt and tyrannical regime and we should be demanding democratic reforms and free and fair elections. We need to fire the whole regime and have failed to do so because Mugabe has become an expert at rigging elections.

How can Mawarire deliver us from bondage when he clearly has no clue what is wrong! We are in this political and economic mess precisely because we thought Mugabe would lead us to the Promised Land and he landed us in this hell-on-earth instead. We elected Tsvangirai convinced he would deliver us from this hell and he sold-out. So if Mawarire is just another clueless Mugabe or Tsvangirai, full of rhetoric and no substance, what difference will it have made if he stayed in Zimbabwe or left the country?  

"However fast-forward four weeks later, I haven't got a clue as to what's happening anymore. Each time I watch your recent videos I feel confused and somewhat betrayed. I feel like you are a different man to the man you were before you fled Zimbabwe. Your style and tone of talking has changed, the humility I once saw in you I don't see it anymore," complained Gasho.

"I don't hear you say hatichatya (we are not afraid anymore). What puzzles me the most is that since you left Zimbabwe, you started saying This Flag movement was never about one person. With all the respect, YOU Evan Mawarire started this movement. You are the face and founder of it. You are the leader of it."
In his article, "Evan Mawarire where are you?" Vince Musewe put more meat to the bone on this theme.
"Leadership to me is being in a position to face the same risk and taking the same bold steps that you may expect those who follow you to mirror. I think that Evan would have been more effective here in Zimbabwe on the battle front than posting videos from outside the country. Leaving was a mistake," wrote Musewe.

"We must therefore not downplay the reality that Zimbabweans need to be led on the ground and Evan has certainly let them down on that score. The dangerous if not naïve response by him can't be to say we are all leaders, that is a myth and self-serving. Of course he had his valid reasons for leaving and we must respect that, but he certainly has could have communicated better-another critical leadership trait."

What Musewe has not said is that Mugabe and Tsvangirai has, in their time, stayed and led the nation from the front and look where they have landed us into! We certainly do NOT "need to be led" into a mess.

Actually, the reality is that as a nation we have shown that we are very easily bowled over with rhetoric and empty and nonsensical slogans and thus end up electing corrupt and incompetent leaders. We are so naïve and gullible, we even recycle leaders with a proven track record of failure! We have to learn to pay attention to detail because only then can we separate the competent and visionary leaders, the wholesome grain, we desperately need from the corrupt and incompetent, chuff.

We are in this hell-hole because for the last 36 years we have looked for the easy downhill solutions to freedom, liberty and national prosperity. Each downhill solution has taken us deeper and deeper into the hole and, like it or not, the way out has become harder and harder.

#ThisFlag, #Tajamuka, etc. have all offered easy downhill solutions which is way they have appealed to so many Zimbabweans. If we keep repeating the same mistake of going downhill to get out of a hole, following corrupt and incompetent leaders who are offering no solution; "Tajamuka pakudiyi!" (We are wiser in what way!)

The GNU offered the best opportunity since independence to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship; the chance was wasted because MDC leaders did not have a clue what the democratic reforms needed were and so did the electorate. The country's worsening economic meltdown has put a lot of pressure on Zanu PF to accept meaningful political change but unless we, the people, know what reforms must be implemented; this chance too will be wasted.

What we need is to demand the implementation of all the democratic reforms followed by the holding of free, fair and credible elections! Nothing else matters. We can have millions marching every day in every city and town in Zimbabwe scream at the top of their voices "TAJAMUKA!" "SESIJIKILE!" "HATICHATYI" "WE ARE WISER!" to no avail. I can teach a parrot to do that!

Nomusa Garikai <>

- Wilbert Mukori


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