By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
As Zimbabwe continues in its lockdown, as a measure to limit the devastating impact of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – that has affected over a million, and killed tens of thousands globally – the sheer cruelty and incompetence of the country’s regime has been inadvertently laid bare, as the vast majority of citizens have been abandoned to the ravages of a cannibalistic economy, at the hands of authorities that have literally held them hostage.
If those who have followed the callous nature of the Zimbabwe regime – or worse, those who have had to endure untold suffering under its bondage for decades – believed that they fully understood the cruel depths of these people at the realm of this southern African nation of 15 million, then they have to rethink – since, their dark souls have, indeed, become even darker.
As much as Zimbabweans have had to face ever-worsening economic hardships – largely attributable to the administration’s unparalleled corruption, as well as inept policy formulation and implementation, which has resulted in millions either fleeing the country, or stranded in a land where they can not even access, or afford, the most basic essentials, such as food, water, electricity, decent accommodation, and sending their children to school – the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has only made everything even more unbearable.
The world is already well-aware just how the Zimbabwe military-backed junta has wantonly and horrendously suppressed any form of constitutional expression of dissent – ranging from the unreasonable banning of peaceful demonstrations, to the cold-blooded brutal shooting down of unarmed protestors – however, denying citizens permission to travel in order to procure needed foodstuff, in the face of the COVID-19 induced lockdown, merely vindicates the tag that this regime lacks all conscience expected of any living and breathing human being.
What exactly would motivate an administration – that purports to subscribe to international democratic and human rights best practices – to deprive its own citizens the dignity and right to access a necessity, such as food?
According to reports awash in the country, several people have accused state security agents – mandated with enforcing the 21 day lockdown – of forbidding them to travel into their respective towns, or city centres, to acquire much needed daily necessities – ranging from food to medications.
Before anyone is tempted to place the blame squarely on some overzealous agents, the fact that the government has not stepped in to cease such immoral and cruel tendencies, appear to prove that these nefarious activities could be sanctioned by the authorities.
Let us not forget that as Zimbabwe is a plus 90 percent unemployment country, whose population largely survives from hand to mouth, most people need to purchase basic commodities and life-saving mediation on a daily basis – using the little money that the ever-constraining mismanaged economy can afford them.
Thus, denying this suffering and empoverished section of the nation from accessing some services and goods, is not only depraved, but downright demonic.
What more, viral social media videos have shown these same security agents barbarously beating up those perceived to have violated the COVID-19 lockdown – including, the perversive destruction of vegetables belonging to vendors, who were alleged to have been on the wrong side of this ‘stay at home’ law.
As if this untenable predicament was not savage enough, the lockdown itself – no matter how plausible, in the face of a catastrophic pandemic – has laid bare the true state of Zimbabwe’s economy, which had predominantly been covered up by the informal sector – where most of the unemployed had turned to for their very survival.
The authorities had tended to sleep on their laurels – without the least genuine desire to formulate and implement sound economic policies, as well as fighting systemic and institutionalized corruption – as long as the country’s disadvantaged people, including highly educated university graduates, always resorted to selling vegetables, second-hand clothes, mobile phone airtime recharge vouchers, and snacks on the streets, or even engaged in illicit and dangerous gold panning.
As long as this marginalized section of the population could somehow scrounge for a living – no matter how pathetic, unsustainable, and perilous – those in power never lost any sleep, as all they ever cared about was gallivant across the globe in chartered private jets, seek medical treatment in world-class overseas health facilities, and buy mansions anywhere on the face of the planet.
Nonetheless, the COVID-19 lockdown has effectively closed off any lifeline for the empoverished majority in Zimbabwe, virtually leaving them at the mercy of the unforgiving economic ‘hell on earth’.
Thus, not only are they being denied their right to procure vital necessities by their uncaring and inconsiderate government, but their only means of survival has been cut off – what most would call, “caught between a rock and a hard place”.
As the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining” – as most painful as this surely is, it, nonetheless, provides the nation the perfect opportunity to appreciate the true magnitude and extent of their government’s heartless and sadistic disregard for, not only their welfare, but also their very survival.
If ever there was a more suitable time for Zimbabweans to finally wake up to the sheer treachery of their government – this is such a time!
Anyone who does not yet see to what extent the country’s authorities – who should care, love, and protect them – have since morphed into vampires, eager to suck the very life out of them, then we shall forever be blind…and beyond redemption.
Zimbabwe is long overdue for an authentically patriotic, democratic, and people-centred selfless government – whose only reason for having sleepless nights is not when fearing a justifiable inevitable people’s revolution, but rather how best to ensure that every Zimbabwean has a dignified, enviable, peaceful, and prosperous life – worthy of creations fearfully and wonderfully made by God, in His likeness and image, whose importance is just below the angels of the heavens.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.