Will Malaysians dare to follow Zimbabwe’s lead?

COMMENT | It is said, that behind every angry wife, is a husband who does not know what he has done wrong. Filled with self-pity, he needs to make amends and get back into her good books; but if only he knew how he upset his wife.

The husband who is in the dog-house can empathise with a deposed tyrant.

A nation may feel cursed with a tyrant as its leader, but when he is deposed, he realises that at the end of the day, he is just another long-suffering husband who has been cursed by his greedy, power hungry and crazed First Lady.

image: https://i.malaysiakini.com/1183/d33abd501a1d4c012540861f056fff8d.jpeg

The nation which removes the tyrant, can rejoice at its new beginning, but the deposed tyrant can only repent at leisure. Marie Antoinette, Imelda Marcos and Grace “Gucci” Mugabe were so reviled by their respective rakyat that they acted to remove their husbands.

For as long as I can remember, a deterioration in the Malaysian economy is often followed by the collective groan, “We will end up like Zimbabwe. A country in debt. The ringgit will be worth nothing. Our nation will be bankrupt.”

Zimbabwe and Malaysia. Two countries on different continents. Zimbabwe was once known as the “Bread basket of Africa”; Malaysia was once dubbed the workhorse of The British Empire and its wealth, in tin, rubber and petroleum reserves, helped to rebuild Britain after WWII.

Both countries have an abundance of natural resources and until recently, these two nations, were on their knees. Incredibly, Zimbabweans seized the chance and opted for change.

Last December, the people of Zimbabwe decided to take their own fate in their hands. First, they kicked out their president, Robert Mugabe, and ended his 40 year grip on their lives. Then, they gave their sacked vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the mandate to rule.

The installation of Mnangagwa (photo) was not a perfect solution, but for Zimbabweans, it was a start. They have broken the “spell”. Some called it the “curse”, which they thought they would be unable to break.

Mnangagwa, who has a poor record of human rights, was once Mugabe’s closest ally, in ZANU-PF and he was a ruthless, violent head of internal security.

Zimbabweans are willing to overlook these shortcomings because they think that it is more important that Mugabe is gone. They are prepared to give Mnangagwa a chance.

Zimbabwe has shown the world, that tyrants can be peacefully and successfully deposed. The people turned out in their thousands to protest on the streets of Harare, whilst the soldiers stood guard. In the end, the people’s demands were met.

Mnangagwa is acutely aware, that if he steps out of line, he will share Mugabe’s fate.

Back in Malaysia, we still cling to our outdated beliefs, that fighting for our respective race, defending our particular religion and protecting our specific communities, is the preferred way.

Today, we are a broken nation

What have 60 years of Umno/Umno-Baru rule given us? We were more united before Merdeka, when we banded together against colonial Britain, in the fight for our independence.

Today, we are a broken nation. We may enjoy harmonious relations with our immediate neighbour, who is of a different race or religion, but our politicians create fissures in our community, to continue the British tactic of “Divide and Rule”.

The trigger for Zimbabweans had been Mnangagwa’s sacking in mid-November. Two weeks later, the military intervened, when the army chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, led a military takeover and placed Mugabe under house arrest.

The military had been prompted by rumours that Grace “Gucci” Mugabe, was flexing her muscles and itching to expunge the old guard. These are people who belong to the National War Veterans Association, who fought alongside Mugabe in the “Liberation Wars” of the 1970s to end white-minority rule in Rhodesia.

Third World countries use God as a useful propaganda tool. Mnangagwa told his cheering supporters: “The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God.”

In Malaysia, the same tactic is used on the more emotional Malays to maintain the power of Umno-Baru and PAS.

Zimbabwe was once a thriving economy but declined after Mugabe ordered the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms. In Malaysia, we have GLCs which elbow the small farmers out of agriculture. Big bullies in action.

In Zimbabwe, money-printing led to hyper-inflation. In Malaysia, wealthy cronies move money out, to stash it on offshore islands.

When Mugabe fell, people danced in the streets and proudly displayed posters of both Mnangagwa and General Chiwenga. In the distance, big brother China was silently watching.

The 14th general election is approaching. If Najib were to invoke emergency rule, because he fears losing the elections, the international community, will descend upon him like a tonne of bricks. We will be the new pariah state of the world. Will Najib take his cue from China and demand a safe passage into retirement?

Will you be dancing in the streets after GE14, like the Zimbabweans, who seized the opportunity for change? Or do you prefer the devil you know?


MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

 

Artikel disiar pada January 8, 2018 - 3:32 pm oleh Susan Loo

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