By Patson Dzamara
In Zimbabwe, everyone is an expert, everyone is an analyst, everyone has a strategy, everyone has a valid opinion, everyone is educated, everyone has an organisation, everyone is everything and on top of that there are over 50 registered opposition political parties.
However, it is mind boggling that for 36 years one man together with his legion of equally morbid and clueless minions have been urinating on the heads Zimbabweans. A village of fools?
Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of Southern Africa. It has the best arable land in all of Africa. Zimbabwe is extremely rich in natural resources; it has plenty of minerals including diamonds, platinum and gold.
Its fauna and flora is second to none in Africa. Zimbabwe is the most literate nation in Africa, with an adult literacy rate of 90%. It was once the most industrialised and developed nation in Africa. Zimbabwe’s infrastructure, inherited from its colonial masters was among the best in Africa.
But how has this great nation plummeted to these shocking levels of stagnation, retrogression, failure and hopelessness?
The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe’s problems are deeply entrenched in ZANU PF’s leadership failure and inadequacies. Our problems are not an act of nature, they are a result of a perennial leadership drought we have experienced for the past 36 years.
For some unknown reasons, perhaps Robert Mugabe’s cunning propensity, the world, the continent, and more shockingly Zimbabweans seem to believe ZANU PF has reformed, or will reform, if only they were given a chance.
It signals how short people’s memories are, and how desperate we have become.
Barely 3 years ago, in 2013, Robert Mugabe had one of the highest approval rates for any leader according to AfroBarometer.
Having destroyed the country for over 3 decades, Mugabe somehow convinced a lot of people he could reform, and go one step further and create 2 million jobs.
Three years later, the only jobs created are jobs in the negative. Over 2 million formal and informal jobs lost. ZANU PF has destroyed the country and the economy. They have done so twice in 9 years, and with a different cast altogether.
In short, reality shows the following.
It is a fact that Mugabe and his ZANU PF have a history of enacting draconian laws which scare away investors. That’s the reason why there is no Foreign Direct Investment to talk about other than some dubious Chinese ‘deals’ which have not come to fruition because the Chinese themselves simply do not trust the 92 year old liar.
Zimbabwe’s industrial utilisation capacity is at 15% (1950 levels). We even import tooth picks. Investors have fled Zimbabwe on their own not because anyone told them to leave. ZANU PF has passed its sell by date. Trusting that mafia to continue running the affairs of our nation is ludicrous and retrogressive.
ZANU PF has presided over monumental corruption. For example, the country lost over US$15 billion diamond revenue as a result of ZANU PF’s decayed modus-operandi and corruption. Zimbabwe is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world from a governance standpoint.
Zimbabwe’s national debt is officially estimated to be US$10 billion. Other authorities posit that it’s now approximately US$30 billion. Sadly, Mugabe and his minions are not the ones who shall service these debts, seeing that they are already in their twilight zone. We shall and yet they are the ones who have sustained their opulance through abusing such facilities.
The country’s life expectancy, 46 for men and 45 for women, is one of the lowest in the world. This is attributed to poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although there has been a noticeable decline in HIV/AIDS population, Zimbabwe is still battling with poverty.
Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food needs. A hapharzard land reform programme presided over by Mugabe’s government has largely precipitated this scenario despite the reality of drought in some instances. About 5 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid. It is estimated that a million of kids go to school hungry.
About 3 million Zimbabweans are in the diaspora. They ran away from harsh economic conditions and Mugabe’s oppression. More than 95% of Zimbabweans who are scattered all over the world want to return home. I have travelled far and wide but i do not ever wish to make any other nation my home.
The unemployment rate is over 90%. It is therefore not surprising that 3 million Zimbabweans are in the diaspora and that crime rate is very high in Zimbabwe. Business persons travel to other countries to import things such as tooth picks and clothes. That’s nothing to brag about. It’s a manifestation of failure.
Poverty levels in Zimbabwe are alarming. 96% of villagers across the country live on less than one dollar a day. 72% of the population live below the nation’s poverty line.
Meanwhile, some still nod, ululate, clap and shake bums at anything Mugabe and his gang does. A village of fools?
I am reminded of my primary school days. There was a class that was called a special class at our school. It was essentially a class for those students who had special learning needs. In the midst of all that has happened and is happening in Zimbabwe, others do not see anything wrong with our status quo, others are just not at all moved and they don’t care. They are indifferent and fatalistic. One wonders whether Zimbabweans are a mystery in a special class. A village of fools?
As though that is not enough, in Zimbabwe those who gather the courage to take a stand for what is right, are lampooned left, right and center by those who do not have the same courage. It’s as though Zimbabweans are happy slaves who have an amazing ability to make fun of anything and everything, even their oppression. Their proclivity towards romancing trivia is petrifying. A village of fools?
Zimbabweans have created so many victims as a result of their special class condition which decimates their fight and constricts them to a spectators bay. Individuals like my brother Itai Dzamara, were marooned in the open by the happy slaves, thereby becoming victims of Mugabe’s insatiable propensity towards oppressing his subjects and thwarting opposition. Even with the benefit of hindsight, the special class still doesn’t grasp it. Today, those who dare take a stand to oppose Mugabe and his surrogates’ failure are given labels such as attention seekers, money hunters and traitors. A village of fools?
It’s nonsense. Yes, nonsense is what it has been, what it is and what it will be. It’s nonsense, because that’s what it is. Its nonsense.
One is tempted to believe that Zimbabweans deserve all this madness Mugabe and his minions have been dishing to them. We are a bunch of spineless cowards and pathetic analysts. I am afraid that ‘cowards and analysts’ won’t take us out of this pit of failure and despondency.
After all is said and done, i still believe that a new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime. I commit to continue working towards its realisation and i dare all Zimbabweans to divorce their lounged back posture and mere talk.
Let’s work and pay the price for the Zimbabwe we want. It wont be delivered on a silver platter. It will cost us tears, sweat, blood and even lives. We are not fools who will be oppressed forever. A village of fools?
(Dr. Patson Dzamara is a leadership coach, author and pro-democracy activist based in Zimbabwe)