HomeEditorial CommentDo not lose sight of the root cause of problems

Do not lose sight of the root cause of problems

It is Oliver Mtukudzi who warns us rather poignantly:

Kunzwa musoro kutema mukoma

Handiro dambudziko mukoma

Wongorora chikonzero chaita musoro uteme

Ugogadzirisa chikonzero chaita musana ubande

[Your headache is not the problem, find the root cause and fix it]

The medical math of it is as simple really as the social and political relationship I’m driving at. Among both the sick in the relatively well, the headache is the commonest complaint that presents. Medically, a headache is non-existent… it has no life of its own. It is a symptom, a pointer to the substantive problem and, only an unschooled doctor will tell you a headache is the diagnosis of the problem and end there. True, the doctor may prescribe a little something to numb the pain expressing in your head but that little something is neither intended to nor can it begin to cure that malicious infection or tumour brewing elsewhere in your body. At its best, the painkiller may remove the only clue you had to suggest to you that you are carrying something terribly wrong in your body.

Mtukudzi’s problem analysis lyrics offer a simple model that may be extended and applied to just about any situation of our personal, family, community and national political lives and challenges. Problem analysis is central to methodical thinking around any nkinga. It enables you to do a logical mind-mapping of the anatomy of cause-and-effect around any problem, and points out the common folly of mistaking what are often the symptoms or mere manifestations of a problem for the problem itself. As such a problem analysis avoids the common futility of investing one’s energies into clearing the symptoms without due attention to the network of structural and underlying causes that constitute the roots that give rise to what the eyes can immediately see.

It is most likely before I put this pen down that Zimbabweans will have done what even a couple of days ago would have seemed an utterly impossible feat… removing from power, arguably Africa’s most eminent, enduring symbols of dictatorship; Robert Mugabe! Who would have imagined!

The dawn of every new day in the past week has arrived so pregnant with an unmistakable gripping sense of anxiety, hope, excitement and an unprecedented, yet spontaneous collective willpower and an orgasmic sense of destiny and accomplishment!
Never before have ordinary Zimbabwean citizens, long resigned to their squalor and collective misery, long succumbed to their consuming fear and dejected hopelessness — been so passionately self-mobilised in unison purpose, so evidently driven by a deep-seated appetite for change and the strongest ever smell their collective nostril has smelt of freedom at last! With your very hands you could touch and hold the sense of finality… of accomplishment… of “Canaan”. Congratulations Zimbabwe! We only ever read about this in Egypt a couple of years back. It is probable we may never experience such a political spectacle again in our living years, and the rare opportunity to create the future is the moment none seem willing to postpone or forego for anything. Zimbabwe’s greatest headache is gone!

Yet along my rising Zimbabwe flag I need to raise the Mtukudzi flag and pose this question most sincerely to Zimbabwean citizens: tambowongorora here chikonzero chaita musoro uteme? Sisixhwayisisile na isisusa sekhanda?
Robert Mugabe is probably the greatest singular personification and symbol of the multiple jeopardies and the 40-year-old flowing tears of Zimbabweans. That is why the joy of seeing his end seems so complete, consummate and virtually uncontested. 
Yet Mugabe is only a symptom and the manifestation of the enduring socio-political challenges of Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the headache of our country, he is not the tumour. Mugabe is a result, not a cause, of our underlying challenges. Tonight, Zimbabweans have just taken 15 million tonnes of pain-stop and indeed our collective political senses celebrate the obvious pain relief we feel, but we have done very little or nothing at all to begin to heal the festering family of tumors that inhabit the deep bowels of our nation.
Mugabe is gone but not Mugabeism!
Mugabe is a result of a deliberate political architecture that has produced and nurtured Zanu over the years; a formidable manufacturing cauldron that is the mother-root of the dictatorship that has consumed us and knocked our knees for decades.
What should scare Zimbabweans is not the nerve and arrogance of Mugabe to ride rough shod over all our lives. Rather, it is the deliberate politicisation and capture of the military. It is the readiness of the military to avail itself to the unbridled service of political whim which we have experienced since 1980 and which is in epic display this morning that mothers this dictatorship.

The tumour we should heal ironically is the military might and omnipotence we are celebrating today. The ridiculous supremacy of political party over government and the prostituting of public service institutions to the service of a private voluntary political formation forms the root of our problem. The virtual ring-fencing of the political space and the unashamed pronouncement by army generals, even this week, that the history of this country will never be written by a non-war cadre or those outside of Zanu PF is the foundation of Zimbabwe’s headaches, which should scare every Zimbabwean. The foundations of our national headache are to be found in the deliberate toxic culture of intolerance, division, exclusion, patronage, and ethnic and tribal hate that has birthed and protected warlords and looters that are corrupt to the core an have zero consideration of the welfare of ordinary citizens! They are unapologetically sworn to these multiple evils!

Today, I watch in both awe and horror as Zimbabweans happily midwife the rebirth of the horror architecture of Mugabeism and Zanu PF, as Zimbabweans happily celebrate the temporary pain relief of Mugabe and the simultaneous reinstallation of the genuine factory settings of Zanu PF.

Why would a man altogether unmoved by his own brother’s blood suddenly play so concerned with the welfare of yours and my chickens? Congratulations Zimbabwe. LangaLezo!

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