Zimbabwe has sixteen official languages set out in section six of the Zimbabwe Constitution. In terms of that esteemed document our country is a Christian nation. It respects Christian values and upholds Christian milestones such as monogamy, marriage, right to life and many other values. The preamble to our constitution expressly stipulates that:
“We the people of Zimbabwe, United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression, Exalting and extolling the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Chimurenga / Umvukela and national liberation struggles, Honouring our forebears and compatriots who toiled for the progress of our country, Recognising the need to entrench democracy, good, transparent and accountable governance and the rule of law,
Reaffirming our commitment to upholding and defending fundamental human rights and freedoms, Acknowledging the richness of our natural resources,
Celebrating the vibrancy of our traditions and cultures,
Determined to overcome all challenges and obstacles that impede our progress,
Cherishing freedom, equality, peace, justice, tolerance, prosperity and patriotism in search of new frontiers under a common destiny,
Acknowledging the supremacy of Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies,
Resolve by the tenets of this Constitution to commit ourselves to build a united, just and prosperous nation, founded on values of transparency, equality, freedom, fairness, honesty and the dignity of hard work,
And, imploring the guidance and support of Almighty God, hereby make this Constitution and commit ourselves to it as the fundamental law of our beloved land”
Our Chimurenga imvukela was fought for our freedom. It united us in our quest for freedom and democracy. It brought one man one vote. A systematic method of political contestation which was popular in the 1970s to the 1980s and widely touted as the epitome of democracy and good governance. This model of contestation failed to give us economic freedom. It did not assist us to redistribute our land equally. In short, we had to wrestle it from a small white minority and restore it to the black majority, it had been violently seized from. Violence is abhorrent, it begets violence. It is never an answer. The use of unorthodox means, that of using violence lost us the high moral ground as the deserving survivors of historical and colonial imbalances. It has earned us the ire and condemnation of our colonial masters.
Who then in the typical Bible verses sword style invoked the sword of international condemnation and restrictive economic measures, the infamous Zimbabwe Democracy Recovery Act of 2001?
We fast forward to August 2018. We have a government that spends beyond its means. The fiscal indiscipline that prevails continue to see our nation importing trinkets that doesn’t benefit the man in the street. The internal party factionalism that has characterised the ruling political party after the elections has seen a divided government that appears to be pulling in different directions.
Across the political divide we have an opposition that is bereft of an ideological foundation that can be sold to the people of Zimbabwe as an alternative narrative. An opposition that is more interested in joining the fast diminishing gravy train.
So, where are we as Zimbabwe. Our beloved Zimbabwe dollar was killed by us, by our former colonial masters who even now want to return and show us who is boss. As citizens, do we know that there is no greater advertisement for a country than the images on its national currency. Consider the Victoria Falls, the balancing rocks of Epworth, the Kariba Dam, a cheeky tsuromangen’a on a five-cent coin to remind us of ngano dzatsuro nagudo that we were all raised on. Consider all the images on all currencies or pseudo currencies that we have ever had.
Then consider Queen Elizabeth’s head on the pound sterling, Benjamin Franklin on the USD and his significance in American history. Consider a South African using the Rand and how proudly South African it makes them feel. Then consider other African countries who have joined the rand monetary union and subjected their own currencies to the South African Rand as if that’s not humiliating enough.
Consider, a Zimbabwean using not only the USD but a basket of currencies. Who feels nothing when looking at an image of Benjamin Franklin? Imagine using the currency of the country who’s so called restrictive economic measures is compounding your misery as a person. A country robbing you of your dignity, your pride, all in your name contributing to your decimation as a people.
To bring you democracy. Human rights. Good leaders who love you and your country so much they beg your former coloniser to increase your misery so that when elections come around again. If you still alive. You will vote RIGHT.
So, our national pride as a people, black, white, Indian, Ndebele, Venda, Chewa or Shona, our collective psyche, as a people, born in the house of stone. It has been so eroded such that it no longer exists. We are happy as long as we get paid. We are willing to lie, beg, steal, cheat and sell our mothers for some foreign currency.
Who amongst us is willing to lie, beg, cheat, borrow or die for Zimbabwe? Not me! Those who died to liberate us from oppression died and they are not coming back ever. Why should I be a martyr and die for all of you? Why should I make sacrifices when you are pouring sand into every effort to free Zimbabwe from the tentacles of neo colonialism?
Why should I die for you so that you can mortgage our country to our former political but current oppressors?
Why should I cry when I remember that some people way back then were raped, murdered and extinguished for daring to resit marauding hordes of so-called settlers with divine right on their side, the bible in the left hand and the gun in the right. I turned the other cheek. I am born again. I forgave them. But dear God, can I not have just one little thing to remind my future progeny, my descendants. That they are Zimbabwean, maybe not proudly so at the moment. This generation is taking a beating.
But tomorrow, what will be left of us to show future Zimbabweans that we fought a good fight. In our lifetime. To remember who we are. Mari inechitema. Money is the root of all evil. My case is we should bring our own currency. It identifies who we are as a nation. It divides us because we all want it to have value, but currently that value is non-existent. I will end with a stanza from our national anthem, our anthem, our flag, our constitution, our own currency, our Zimbabwe. Bring back our Zimbabwe dollar.
Mwari ropafadzai nyika yeZimbabwe, Nyika yamadzitateguru edu tose;
Kubva Zambezi kusvika Limpopo, Navatungamiri vave nenduramo;
Ngaikomborerwe nyika yeZimbabwe.
This is an emotive piece, it is not about statistics or economics or the United Nations or the International Criminal Court. It is about a country, once proud, now lost, no bearings, no moral compass, its citizens have lost their patriotism. Their sense of pride in themselves. They have no confidence in their leaders in the land of their birth. We don’t carry our flag everywhere, but we surely carry currency in our wallets wherever we go.