What happened to our dream?

Linah (not her real name,) who turned 32 on Independence Day this year and is still single, is now in a race against time to find Mr. Right, so that she can get married, have children, and live the ‘ideal’ life expected by society.

Virtually all her peers are married already. She is starting to it difficult as the husbands of her married friends do not want her hanging around. Her married friends too shy away -afraid that she might attract their men. As she desperately yearns to bust her solitude – legs shaven, new hairstyle every week, cleavage-revealing clothes and sculptedface – she wonders what she is missing.

Just yesterday after attending independence celebrations, she realized that she and her motherland, Zimbabwe, share a terrible fate.Cry Zimbabwe cry. Although you have been independent for 32, your sons and daughters are still in pursuit of the dream, which for many has become a nightmare.

The coming of independence gave us political freedom, and the opportunity to pursue the dream without fear or hindrance. What really encompasses that Zimbabwean dream? It is anchored on the hopes which fuelled our liberation heroes to fight as they sang tinorambatichiendakuZimbabwe,kudzamaratinosvika (until the attainment of our hard-earned independence).

Political freedom was the first step in achieving the dream. Everybody was to feel that s/he is now politically sovereign from hitherto imperialist forces. It was about changing mindsets to embrace the socialist aspirations of thenew political dispensation or hurumende yoruzhinji.

To that end, we had Bob Marley singing to us: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. However, that political freedom was not going to be complete until we had the whole picture – opportunities for prosperity and an upward social mobility. This would be achieved through joint efforts of the Government and the people – where the Government empowers the people, and they in turn work hard to achieve prosperity.

This meant allowing hitherto under-privileged Zimbabweans a chance to own land and businesses – i.e. control of their resources. During the first two decades of independence, the process of land and company acquisition occurred through natural progression or the willing buyer willing seller concept. This process was not only slower, but also resulted in resources being owned only by those who could afford. There were no deliberate policies to address the imbalances.

The year 2000 marked the beginning of an era whereby government made a deliberate attempt to give land to the people, taking the Zimbabwean dream to another level. A decade later, through the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, the government took another step to economically empower the previously disadvantaged.

Yesterday we celebrated our independence under the theme: Indigenization and Empowerment for social and economic transformation. This theme is a renaissance of the Zimbabwean dream and must awaken us to keep on the road to realize it.

As some of us were looking at the independence flame burning yesterday, we asked ourselves: How far have we gone in enabling the people to live the dream to the fullest?We are actually going backwards.

We still require several years to achieve our 1996 gross domestic product. More people were employed at independence, when the population was half the current population, than are now employed.

Some people haveendangeredand misplacedour dream. They have corruptly accumulated enormous wealth, through abuse of their offices, at the expense of the impoverished masses. We can achieve the dream only if those who have looted resources are compelled to relinquish them. We have heard of incidences of multiple farm and company ownerships. There is a lot of brouhaha in resource ownership, and that should not be tolerated. In economic jargon, the status quo can be termed Pareto optimality, whereby we just cannot improve one’s welfare without first reducing another’s.

We have come far, from the attainment of kuzvitonga kuzere; it’s high time for everyone to fully enjoy the Zimbabwean dream! Linah ngaachiroorwa veduwe-e!

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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