Zimbabwe Died When We Stopped Talking.
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Communication is one of the most important disciplines in nation building that is often overlooked by the leaders of developing nations.
It is the life blood and glue of a nation. The means by which nations are conceived, constituted, citizens are convicted, identity established and the development program advanced.
In other words, there can be no nation without communication. There can be no consensus, leadership, constitution, rules, laws, unity, plans and common goal without communication. This is the reason why communication is the foundation, building blocks and mortar of a nation.
This constructor is also a weapon and means of war. It’s the defensive, offensive and peace time medium of the nation. Through it wars are won and lost with or without a fight, and with it peace is brokered. Quite simply it is Power, considering that the definition of power is: the ability to get things done.
Through communication entire armies, weapons and supplies are mobilized across continents. With just a few words men can be ignited to run into the line of fire for an ideal and unflinching loyalty to nation. People will readily lay down their lives just from emotions evoked by words.
All the same, as much as communication can build nations and cause men to die for an ideal. It can also be the source of derision used to turn citizens against their own. Words said or not said can make people the worst enemies of their own state and fellow citizens.
Hitler’s Mein Kampf captures well how the might of the German Republic was not lost in the trenches or fields of Tannenberg and Flanders. Instead it was lost in the minds and hearts of demoralized industrial workers who became despondent, downed their tools and halted the manufacturing of weapons. This in turn led to a naval revolt and politicians negotiating for an armistice at the behest of Jewish bankers right when the soldiers on the western front were winning the war.
Skilled British propaganda successfully planted anti-German nationalist sentiments into the hearts and minds of the women left at home. They began to whisper discouragement to their trade union, politician and officer husbands. Sowing seeds of division between the people and their Kaizer, while eroding the union between Bavaria and Prussia until the concept of the German state crumbled.
The same phenomenon came to play close to the end of the Second World War as it took American words, not atom bombs, to push Emperor Hirohito to persuade the resolute Japanese samurai [soldiers] to surrender before they embarked on a fight to the last man for their nation.
All these cases epitomize the power of words spoken to the heart and mind of men [communication] in building the ideology of nation or breaking its spirit.
This is something that the government of Zimbabwe [and most other African governments] has failed to master and use to build the nation of Zimbabwe. Instead they have permitted propaganda to be used to attenuate the spirit of the nation.
Which is actually strange because our liberation struggle was won by liberation fighters receiving the guidance of spiritual oracles to galvanize unity with the masses and neighboring governments in support of a communal gorilla struggle. Through songs, political pungwes and dreams of the free nation, liberation fighters were embraced as fish in the waters of the masses in a life or death dependency .
By becoming water for the fish, the masses had committed treason against a standing government, albeit an illegitimate government but all the same the penalty for treason was ultimate. It is by this sacrifice of the people that our fighters were concealed, nourished, healed and strengthened to stand against insurmountable odds to win the nation from a formidable foe.
Without the water the fish were dead and the struggle stillborn. The dream that kept this unlikely union alive was the energy by words flowing from spirit medium to the fighters, the people and supporting nations. In return affirmation for the righteousness of cause came from the people through to their liberators and spiritual leaders, keeping the struggle alive.
The result of this unified effort was Zimbabwean independence in 1980 after 17yrs of warfare. Independence came with no respite from work as immediately the nation went into the job of building, schools, roads, hospitals and clinics in a collaboration between government’s DDF and the people in what was known as the food for work program.
Two way communication continued to be the glue between people and their leaders as it had done during the struggle. The leaders knew their people’s aspirations, the people knew the vision being worked toward and they believed in their leaders commitment to deliver the dream because of the constant and genuine engagement.
The nation was molded around the values of the necessity of work to eat and education for progress which fostered Zimbabwe’s work ethic. This was a time when our society frowned upon and ostracized criminals.
Adults were driven to attend night school to learn how to read and write as a stepping stone to productivity. Children crammed into classrooms built by their parents to get their first taste of education, giving them hope for a better tomorrow. Professionals learnt new skills at the various colleges and guilds that were constituted in every available space.
Walking this path, Zimbabwe would advance to become the country with the best primary and secondary education in Africa, complimented by a very skilled workforce of hard working and diligent artisans, tradesmen and administrators.
In 20yrs, Zimbabwe lifted its literacy rate from below 30% in 1980 to over 89% in 2000, through the use of pedagogy [teaching instruction], the most potent of the communication disciplines. Standards of living rose as did the national product.
The nation was in harmony, citizens, including the former enemy and government seemed joint in common weal.
There was a optimistic singularity of focus that the Zimbabwean dream was achievable by collaboration, hard work, education and each Zimbabwean playing their part to contribute to building this nation.
Overtime though, the translation of the national vision and means by which it would be achieved began to fade as the socialist and communal values of the liberation struggle began to wane. As levels of education rose, intellectuals began to ascend the west-minister political and business totem poles, where they imbibed the forbidden fruit of neo-liberalism and western capitalism.
Slowly they became bureaucrats and bourgeoisies whose lexicon [language] and ideology began to diverge from the collective nation building principles of their pact with the masses.
From the Afrocentric, traditional communal ideals that had seen them triumph over the Rhodesians and formulate maDzimbabwe. They now began to espouse the western culture of individualistic accumulation, materialism and winner takes all political brinksmanship.
This change in morality made it untenable for politicians to continue their liaison with the expectant masses because their betrayal was pungent. In commercial circles it became difficult for workers to speak to their supervisors and employers as the desire for individual accumulation separated comrades.
As words became less between the classes so did national unity. Once people stopped identifying as countrymen, they coalesced around ethnic, political and class interests which led us headlong into land reform favoritism, Gukurahundi, failure of the willing buyer willing seller and the total abrogation of compensated Land Reform. The culmination was sanctions.
By the time we get to sanctions Zimbabwe is a land of crony patronage and nepotism between politicians and the capital elite, both conspiring to use the masses as the fodder for their accumulation. Ivory towers are built higher and higher as elites insulate themselves from the masses they are now exploiting blatantly.
The elites are now so removed from the people that they are almost strangers if not enemies. As the masses are bled dry without any words of solace or leadership, they grow despondent, the division becomes a rift, breeding resentfulness for not only the other classes but the nation itself.
Come additional sanctions in 2003, the national dream is essentially dead in the water. People are now political parties and antagonistic classes searching for hope, no longer a nation. There is now clear divisions and Zimbabwe is now a land of separate group interests and no national vision or interest.
Brother is pitted against brother and families disjointed in a manner that does not reflect hunhu (ubuntu). The nation is now balkanized and ready to be conquered.
All this resulting from the death of communication. A new war is upon the nation. It’s the last leg of the colonial war but this time no one is fighting. Roles are now changed and liberation fighters are now water that rejects the fish of the masses that once shielded them from exposure when the roles were reversed. All because the liberators have joined hands with the enemy, jointly exploiting their masses in a dangerous high stakes game.
Each day resentment in the masses grows and their hatred becomes hatred of nation as the nation is torn apart by neo-colonial mechanizations, capitalism, sanctions, corruption and an orgy of primitive accumulation.
No one stands to remind the masses of the values of productivity upon which they built the nation. So now no one wants to work, it’s all a hunt for the easiest path to riches as we have forgotten what it means to earn our living honestly. For the lucky ones, education becomes access to plunder the poor and stash bounty in western capitals. For the not so connected education becomes a curse of unmet expectation.
This time the masses get no communication, no leadership or guidance because their leaders are in a death embrace with the enemy. Their hands dripping of blood while their blotted faces give away their gluttonous binges.
As this war of attrition takes its toll, some of the masses are now exiles, foreign citizens and internal defectors working against the nation hoping that its fall will come soon in the hope of change.
Sadly, no one can be blamed for this hodgepodge of conflicting interests that has become Zimbabwe but our leaders. The Zimbabwean government have failed to hold the consensus of the nation by ceasing to communicate the vision, path and its challenges. By so doing they have placed the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans in the hands of the enemy.
The complicity of our own leaders in pillaging their own has tainted them in a way that they can no longer point to the real issues [like sanctions or neo-colonialism] plaguing the Zimbabwean economy without incriminating themselves. They can’t talk of sanctions when they have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
Moreover, the people no longer have an ounce of trust for the leaders, hence no matter what they say about the nation’s challenges no one is listening. All people want now is to see Zimbabwe fall because maybe they have another chance at rebuilding. Others even yearn for the old Rhodesia because the leaders of the nation have failed to engage their people knowing fully well that its the only way that they were victorious over oppression.
We are now at a point where the relationship between leadership and the people can no longer be mended by words but by concrete action that feeds hungry stomachs.
Otherwise the masses have now become water for the enemies of the state. They are now shielding the fish of destruction that are eating away at the sovereignty of the nation.
Zanu PF has only one option now. To sacrifice a limb or two to feed their people and win back their hearts. All in the while communicating each painful act of penance before the nation can trust anything they say again. Anything other than this will lead to a war between government and their citizens......But we all know how Libya ended.