To the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe’s powerful and elite, I often wonder where you stand in all this. We do not pick our parents, and so I write this, not out of judgment or condemnation, but out of curiosity and concern.
Some people accuse you of being willfully ignorant: aware of the issues and misrule, but turning a blind eye to them. Others consider you to be worse, profiteers: benefiting from the corruption, access, and privilege that come with your status. I on the other hand, would like to believe that you simply struggle with trying to figure out what your role is. Stuck between loyalty to family and risking it all for the greater of the nation, your conscience carries a heavy burden.
John F Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Zimbabwe is headed down a path we won’t be able to come back from; a potential violent trajectory that is fueled by a frustration and hopelessness that will turn into anger and retribution. Putting it bluntly, the window for peaceful resolution is closing while the likelihood for violent revolution increases. As seen in other parts of our continent and world, this retribution, when unhinged, will not only target those in power, but their innocent families as well. No single Zimbabwean’s family will be safe if this happens: not mine, not yours, not anybody’s.
You’re under no obligation to, but I have to ask, do you plan to do anything with that access and privilege you enjoy? Do you plan to use that platform in a way that will perhaps soften the hearts, minds and ideologies of those in power? Will your voice be used to speak for the hopeless and suffering, the sick and the needy? Will you stand alongside the normal citizen looking for change? Your silence is part of the problem, your voice could be part of the solution. Look at the suffering of your fellow Zimbabweans, consult your conscience and let the result of that consultation empower you to have a conversation with your parents.
Sincerely, Kwapi Vengesayi