ASK a Zimbabwean how it feels to be cheated by your own expectations. Ask them again about the audacity of hope.
Column by Chris Nqoe Dube
No country has a citizenry as shocked and surprised as Zimbabwe, not so much out of the unexpected outcome of the harmonised election, but because of the margin of victory garnered by the winner.
For many of the urban youths, this election has come at a heavy cost.
It’s an outcome which seemingly erodes the dreams and plans we might have carried for the immediate future.
It is the stark realisation that a party that has loomed over all our lives, has once again won the mandate to govern for the next five years.
This is a prospect that seems hard to bear. Under Zanu PF and for numerous reasons, we have watched our country teeter to the brink of collapse.
Young Zimbabweans have unwittingly become global citizens out of a need to obtain opportunities at par with our peers in Africa and the Diaspora.
We are scattered all over the world, looking for jobs, education and pursuing opportunities we could never obtain in our country.
It’s important to understand our country’s recent history. The new millenium, ushered for Zimbabwe, a lost decade (1999-2009).
During this period, our currency deteriorated to record levels and inflation skyrocketed.
Concurrently, the dreams and aspirations of many young Zimbabweans fell.
Little has, in fact, changed for young Zimbabweans. Our economy is stable, but our situation remains challenging.
Unemployment is a scourge for many in the country. Opportunities are scarce for those who are not well-connected. Entreprenuership is a tough venture without start up funding.
Opportunities are, therefore, difficult to harness, largely determined by political affiliation.
Nepotism makes it even more difficult to have social mobility among young people.
Gainful employment is a scenario many will never be familiar with in Zimbabwe.
I’m not blaming this on the party that has dominated Zimbabwean politics for 33 years. I’m merely pointing out the reality I face on a daily basis.
Through all these challenges, one thing has remained constant for the youths in Zimbabwe: Hope!
Hope has kept us alive. Hope has inspired us to persevere for just a little longer.
Hope has forced us to preserve our future plans for a democratic and fair Zimbabwe.
Hope has made us stick around for that moment when things will be alright. Hope has comforted our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.
Hope has been the solace of our families in far-flung places on the globe, longing for that day when Zimbabwe will be stable again.
For many Zimbabweans, we thought that day would come this August.
Depending on where your sympathies lie, that day may or may not have come.
One thing is true though, the outcome of July 31 harmonised elections was one that was far from expected.
It must be mentioned, the resounding victory of Zanu PF is one that has not received the credit it deserved.
If anything, the aftermath of July 31 has betrayed the biases of many.
The reaction of the world is one of disbelief, borne out of the shock that Zimbabweans would actually vote Zanu PF back into power.
The credit that many fail to give to Zanu PF is the fact that they worked hard to earn such an overwhelming mandate.
To argue against this is to sink into prolonged denial and certain depression.
However, from within and outside of Zimbabwe, allegations and conspirancies have flown.
I won’t dwell on that. It’s not my place. My place is in Zimbabwe, certainly under Zanu PF and the leadership of President Robert Mugabe.
What I can speak of is the mood of young Zimbabweans like myself who share similar circumstances, visions and plans for our future in Zimbabwe.
I grew up under a Zanu PF government. I know Zanu PF’s capabilities and I’m familiar with Zanu PF’s policies in the government.
My question is: Are these in tandem with my hopes and dreams for Zimbabwe?
July 31 has come and gone. The thought that occupies my mind and the collective psyche of many young Zimbabweans is: What next for Zimbabwe?
Over 3,3 million Zimbabweans went to the polls.
As the world seeks to understand the results, it’s my duty to speak for those Zimbabweans that went to vote.
The world needs to respect the decision taken by Zimbabweans at the polls.
It was not perfect, but it produced an outcome.
The real take-away of the Zimbabwe election is simple really. The results reflect the preparation of Zanu PF and the complacency of MDC-T.
We could argue about the legalities and circumstances of Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections.
It will change very little for ordinary Zimbabweans. Ask me. I’m very familiar with Zanu PF’s diplomacy.
For youths in Zimbabwe, to wait and see is the best we can do.
To be vigilant for populist opportunities is our next lifeline. For young Zimbabweans, we welcome back a familiar ally — hope.
Lastly, if you are to understand what really transpired on July 31, mark the words that follow: Do away with shady Facebook characters, laugh off the Israeli conspiracies and stop overestimating the capability and reliability of Zupco buses.
Zimbabweans took a simple stand. They chose a party that buys their vote, than the one that sells their dreams. Go figure.