IN one of the most powerful scenes in the Game of Thrones, Arya Stark is forced to become nameless, to become an assassin and to gain acceptance by the Many-faced God. In it she is repeatedly asked what her name is and forced to repeat that a Girl has no name, thereby removing the hindrances that attachment to her name brought for her training and her quest to be an assassin.
I choose this analogy because like everyone else who is a fan of the series, I cannot wait for the arrival of winter – an uncontrollable natural phenomenon. I write this in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, another uncontrollable natural phenomenon which has made me realise one thing: Zimbabwe has no government and the sooner we realise we must carry the load on our own, the quicker we can rebuild our ravaged nation. Much like the way the nation has risen to provide aid to the stricken during the cyclone disaster and the Battlefields mine disaster, the nation has to realise that a lot can be done without the so-called appointed authorities.
Reliance on the incompetent, selfish leadership that we have in Zimbabwe has been a hindrance to the nation progressing. It is quite clear that Zanu PF and all it stands for is retention of political power and reliance on state largesse. If we the citizenry accept we are paying taxes to a security company that is only interested in luxury and buying arms and defence equipment, remembering the people once every five years, the better we can be prepared to face the reality that the country has no government and we the people can be our own government.
Much like the aid efforts, we can start functionally piecing our nation together without reliance on the state, if the state contributes we can call it a bonus. It is high time we ignore state power and its trappings and instead focus on what we can change and accept what we cannot.
The health crisis bedevilling the nation can be addressed by sheer will from the citizenry. A concerted effort to address the issue could start by the citizenry engaging the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) and maybe a well organised and trustworthy NGO like the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Red Cross. Through the Red Cross, funds could be raised or crowdsourced to obtain cheap functional vehicles, hire and pay paramedics and provide ambulance services to people that need them. Those that can pay and those that cannot will not pay. This way, rural areas where people struggle for transportation to places of care can be covered.
There are many cheap minibuses or panel vans that can be sourced over time and it would require contributions of maybe $10 from any willing citizens to contribute to a health fund. If 100,000 people contribute to such a fund every month, we could raise $1 million every month and that could be used to repair infrastructure, provide incentives and allowances for health care workers and employ auxiliary healthcare workers.
I am not saying this is a total formula, but it is a basis on which something can be organised while avoiding the kleptocrats.
So many schools have alumni that have done well and without taking anything from them they can do for their schools more than they are currently doing. Cash is always a problem given the high levels of misappropriation but there are minute interventions that can be done. Its possible to turn the state of some schools around by small direct interventions by people that benefitted from those schools. Things like paint, cement, tiles and general maintenance to improve infrastructure can be organised by simply tapping into alumni resources.
Schools that needs tablets and computers or even solar power do not need millions from former students but leadership and dedication. A donation of old computer or textbooks can fill up libraries; some cheap football uniform and boots can help a team perform. Its high time we get organised and do that.
The largest opposition party has national reach and its claim to be a government-in-waiting can be improved upon by being a government in action. What can the opposition achieve, some may ask? The opposition-run cities have a lot of things that councils control. It Is fathomable that they could start by delivering excellently in what they control.
One solution would be to issue a diaspora targeted bond for rebuilding urban infrastructure redeemable in either cash or later as stands. Most Zimbabweans will not buy government bonds directly but if the city councils target the diaspora community, they can have better luck.
Another option is to target the millions that still dream of returning home by offering them stands on favourable payment terms and reasonable pricing. That would provide councils with capital that can be utilised in capital projects. There is so much goodwill for the MDC in western countries and that goodwill could be used to improve things like local clinics, community centres and council schools. Even locally, the councillors and MPs could start raising $10 or so regularly from households and employ youths in carrying out development projects.
If we recognise that we cannot depend on the government, it is time we devise solutions and my biggest gripe with the MDC is that it has not shown capacity or capability to deliver. The Democratic Alliance in South Africa have always used Cape Town and later the Western Cape as a template of how effective they can be when they get an opportunity to be in power.
When you play the game of thrones you win or die, there is no middle ground. It is time we forget the game of thrones and the power that it supposedly brings. We constantly focus on politics, but politics has brought no solutions to our country. Zanu PF exists in perpetual campaign mode and will not do anything concrete to better the nation. The system of patronage they have built requires them to have people in need, so they can be the friend in deed. You can look at the many hungry clamouring for attention from Zanu PF, praise singers singing choruses on Twitter hoping to be rewarded. We will not need to rely on bootlicking rewards if we focus inwardly and forget the government.
I may not have the solutions, but I think the major social movement that dealt with Cyclone Idai is a latent power source that needs to be copied and replicated. The focus should be on delivery. Like Arya Stark in her quest for revenge, us Zimbabweans in our quest for revival should forget the scarfed globetrotter and simply accept our country has no government.