Source: Zimbabwean’s inaction against Sikhala’s unjust continued incarceration is greatest threat to activism!
It is, therefore, incumbent upon the people being oppressed to stand up for themselves, in forcing the dictator to respect their rights.
Without that, there is really no reason for our continued moaning and moping over the seemingly endless struggles we face everyday, at the hands of a heartless wicked dictatorship, as we witness in Zimbabwe.
In fact, the incomprehensible perpetual inaction and docility we shockingly watch amongst Zimbabweans is arguably the greatest threat to our freedoms, and the work of activists in this country.
How can we honestly expect evil to end, when good people merely stand by, watch, and do nothing?
Would this simply not embolden the oppressor, thereby worsening the already dire plight of the ordinary citizenry?
Surely, when a diabolical leadership is permitted to thrive unmolested – what are we to expect as a consequence?
Are we not to expect the dictatorship to become more brazen, and the situation more harrowing?
I look at how both ordinary Zimbabweans and the main CCC opposition have practically stood aloof – whilst, the intrepid and militant political activist Job Sikhala wallows in prison for 160 days, on charges largely regarded as spurious – as repeatedly denied his constitutional right to bail, and his trial never getting off the ground.
Not only does my heart bleed, both in pain at this ruthless persecution of one of our most vocal voices against injustice in Zimbabwe, but also at how ordinary citizens – for whom, Sikhala is sacrificing his own life and livelihood – can so easily abandon those fighting for their rights, and restoration of their dignity.
This is such a frightening thought!
As we move into 2023, and many of us carefully weighing our resolutions for the new year – one of those questions on the top of my mind is now, ‘is it really worth it’?
Is it really worth is placing one’s life and livelihood on the line, in the hope for a better Zimbabwe for all its citizens – yet, if the brute might of the repressive regime were to descend on me, in all likelihood, no one would lift a finger to defend me?
I always wonder if Zimbabweans actually believe that people as Sikhala, or Hopewell Chin’ono, or even myself are suicidal and have some death wish upon ourselves.
If even Sikhala’s own political party (of which he is vice chair, and legislator) and, the rest of ordinary Zimbabweans – cannot boldly and forcefully stand up for one of their own – then, I shudder to image what will happen to the rest of us, mere insignificant unknown mortals?
What will become of me, for instance, if I were to be persecuted?
Does the CCC or suffering subjugated Zimbabweans ever consider what Sikhala is going through right now, or the circumstances of his family – who have had to endure 160 days without their father and husband, as well as the income he used to bring for their upkeep?
Yet, we appear to find those who would rather protect their own backsides – fearful of facing the same ordeal as Sikhala – as they hide in the woodwork, never taking any meaningful action to, at least, try and secure their fellow comrade’s release.
I ask – who, then, is dispensable in this struggle for justice?
Whose life and security is above everyone else’s, such that, should be protected and spared at all costs – whilst, the rest of us place our own lives, and the livelihoods of our families at stake on a daily basis?
We also have families – in case, this was not known.
We also have wives and children who need to see their husbands and fathers everyday – just like every other family in Zimbabwe.
Yet, it is as if our families are insignificant and do not matter – as the rest of Zimbabwe, and the opposition, shield theirs from harm.
As we go into 2023 – with my new year’s resolutions about to be put on paper – I ask myself, ‘Are we the fools in this course of action we have chosen in risking our own lives, by fearlessly standing up and speaking out against injustices, corruption and maladministration in Zimbabwe’?
Are those who are not taking any action, keeping their mouths sealed, and arms folded, the wise ones – who are placing their own wellbeing and welfare first, ahead of the country ?
Maybe they are!
Indeed, maybe we are the idiots – for assuming we had the backing of both the opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans in our fight for the rights and dignity of all citizens.
What is even more painful is how Zimbabweans are so good at encouraging and revving up political and social justice activists to keep going – yet, when we fall into the hands of the oppressor, we are mercilessly abandoned as sacrificial lambs.
Indeed, in any struggle there are those called to take the lead in being more vocal and even militant, and prone to be targeted for persecution – something similarly witnessed during the country’s 1960s and 70s liberation struggle.
However, these people were never abandoned to languish in detention, restriction or prison – but, there were thousands of young men and women who were out there bravely taking on the colonial regime.
As such, even if the likes of former tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe spent 10 years behind bars – that was for a good cause, since the valiant efforts of thousands of our Sons and Daughters of the Soil in the trenches, were bound to bear fruit in an independent Zimbabwe.
This is what is glaringly missing in today’s Zimbabwe.
What ‘good cause’ is there to Sikhala wallowing in prison right now – in the absence of any tangible action by those of us outside – which could guarantee a free Zimbabwe?
If are those deluding themselves that elections scheduled for next year are what will finally bring this desperately-needed change – then, Zimbabweans are still too naïve for their own good.
They clearly do not know the ruling regime very well, yet!
I have said this before, and will say it again.
In this new liberation struggle, we do not need arms of war, or violence of any shape or form – but, make our voices loudly heard through passive resistance.
It boggles the mind why Zimbabweans are not even prepared to undertake such non-confrontational means, such as crippling prolonged national strikes, stay aways, or shutdowns – where no one’s life is placed at risk, and we merely stay in our homes till our demands are heard.
Right now as I write this, the United Kingdom is limping on one leg, as virtually every vital sector and institution – including, hospitals, ambulances, rail, busses, and borders – are crippled by national strikes, demanding better wages and working conditions.
No one needs to be directly facing off with authorities – but, simply staying at home, with friends and family, whilst not attending to duties or regular means of livelihood, can be any effective powerful tool for change.
Why are we not even bothered to attempt that – and, at least, see where it takes us?
Of course, I have heard every excuse in the book from my fellow compatriots.
One of these is that Zimbabwe is now a highly informal economy, and as such, people cannot afford to miss attending their income-generating projects.
Granted, that is true – but, that just further buttresses my assertion that Zimbabweans are selfish.
Surely, who then is expected to sacrifice their own life and livelihood for Zimbabwe?
How much has Sikhala – a lawyer by profession – already lost, due to his long incarceration?
According to some estimates, over a hundred thousand US dollars in potential revenue – based on prevailing legal charges.
Imagine what someone like me (with my family) who is already financially struggling, stands to lose should anything happen to me?
As a matter of fact, my family is suffering significantly already – as the nature of my activism has closed so many employment doors for me – on the basis of prospective employers perceiving me as placing their companies at great danger.
So, I ask this again – who exactly is disposable in Zimbabwe, and should be sacrificed – whilst, everyone else protect their own lives and livelihoods?
It is so unfair and downright cruel!
This is a defining moment for Zimbabwe!
The manner in which Sikhala has been abandoned to the wolves – with virtually no one coming to his rescue in a more meaningful manner, using the language understood by tyrants – leaves the rest of us feeling dispensable and disposable.
In so doing, the social justice movement is under threat of gradually weakening and even disintegrating – as more and more activists reevaluate their priorities.
Not as a result of the oppressive regime’s brutal policies – but rather, the lackluster approach by ordinary Zimbabweans, which has made our sacrifice seemingly meaningless and pointless.
Zimbabweans should not be surprised hearing less and less voices for social justice in 2023.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org