500 Words of Psy-queue-logy.
By Rejoice Ngwenya
There is no such thing as ‘queuing’ in animal kingdoms. Feeding troughs, grazing pastures and drinking places are bastions of hierarchical chaos. Survival of the fittest, the fastest and the biggest. Nature, though, has intrinsic order, yet in the quest for survival, animals bulldoze to be the first. In times of scarcity, they are prepared to kill if only to be first.
A queue is an orderly formation of entities waiting for mercantile or service delivery. Human queues are a common feature of the civilised world. At airports, banks, product launches, cash points, polling stations, music festivals, places of sport and recreation. In a functional democratic political economy, one expects civilised humans to queue orderly for mercantile or service delivery.
However, for reasons ascribed to decades of archaic national governance, queuing in Zimbabwe is the ultimate experience of horror. Our queues generally symbolise a formation of human beings anxiously waiting and hoping for the worst. I christen this emotional experience ‘Psyqueuelogy’. For good reason.
Conventional psychology is the science of human behaviour and mind. However, where someone requires ‘psychological attention’, they would have exhibited behaviour exogenous or contradictory to normalcy. Our systems of national and local governance have collapsed to an extent of exerting subnormal behavioural and emotional disposition at places of service and mercantile delivery. The net result is pervasive social stress of unprecedented psychological proportions. When this whole ZANU.PF nightmare of recklessly corrupt governance disorder is over, mass national, regional and global Psyqueuetherapy will be a matter of urgency.
Despite tough Coronavirus lockdown, Zimbabwean users of fuel and public transport continue to experience painfully degrading queues. A normal market economy subject to virally induced hibernation ought to have a glut in diesel and petrol. Moreover, a country endowed with numerous minerals, the world’s best tobacco crop, the world’s best tourist climate, the world’s most literate population and the world’s best arable land ought to be a harbinger of ‘happy’ queues. Tragically, everywhere in Zimbabwe, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, one encounters long winding queues for fuel as other citizens grapple feverishly for staple foodstuffs. At banks, we jostle and tussle in cash queues. Our lives are akin to orphans at an abandoned refugee camp in a war zone.
Yet in November 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa deposed authoritarian dictator-cum-mass murderer Robert Mugabe, promising to turnaround Zimbabwe’s political economy fortunes. Almost three years down the line after masquerading as ‘resounding’ victor of the presidential plebiscite, his hapless citizens still experience extensive Psyqueuelogical abuse.
Mnangagwa’s inability of to offer impeccable national policy leadership is on global display. Last weekend I queued from 4.00am to 3.00pm, returning home not only empty tanked but also famished, hurtful and hateful of this nauseating so-called ‘new dispensation’. However, as a responsible liberal citizen, I need to, for intellectual posterity, urgently enquire what policy reforms restive Zimbabweans usually proffer while subjected to this Psyqueuelogical turmoil.
Rejoice Ngwenya, Ruwa, Zimbabwe.