With only three weeks to go to this crucial plebiscite, Zimbabweans have been subjected to all manner of promises, and accusations and counter-accusations – some of which sound genuine, but mostly bordering on the absurd, if not downright zany.
As there has been a record number of political parties contesting this year’s elections, as opposed to any other since the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980, most of their manifestos have been monotonous and vague – at best – and downright crazy – at worst.
Zimbabweans have been promised ‘heaven on earth’ – such as, massive foreign direct investment, jobs, cash in the country, free housing, free education, free health, free WiFi all across the nation, amongst a host of things – mostly without proffering any meaningful details as to exactly how these would be achieved.
I will not bother myself going through all the wacky and weird promises that we have been assulted with over the past few weeks, but, having endured insufferable pain at the hands of the ruling ZANU PF regime for the past 38 gruesome years, one can excuse me for aiming my cross-hairs mainly at them.
Typical of a failed political party, ZANU PF has again sought to place the blame for its dismal and pathetic record on others, whilst proclaiming itself ‘holier than thou’ – notwithstanding, its glaring performance, or non-performance, record that is there for everyone to see.
In this election, the main scapegoats for ZANU PF’s failures have mainly been the opposition, sanctions, and the so-called G40 – the expelled rival faction to President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa in the ruling party.
The election campaign, especially in the mostly pro-opposition urban areas, has mainly been premised on dismal service delivery – which has squarely been blamed on opposition-run local councils.
Similarly, the country’s comatose economic performance has been blamed on so-called opposition-induced sanctions, which were imposed on the ZANU PF leadership since 2002 – mainly for their gross human rights abuses and electoral fraud.
ZANU PF has so unashamedly tried to sell the yarn that since the formation of the opposition MDC in 1999, Zimbabwe slid into the chaos that it finds itself in today, as they (the opposition) took over local authorities, and even called on sanctions to be imposed on the country – leading to untold suffering amongst the people of Zimbabwe.
However, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that these are shameless lies, that are designed either by a chronic liar, or a psychotic politician – who should be seeking psychiatric treatment, rather than political office.
For starters, when the MDC was formed late 1999, they nearly defeated ZANU PF in very important elections only a few months later in June 2000.
That is when the opposition took over nearly all the urban parliamentary constituencies, and local government councils.
Why would the people of Zimbabwe so overwhelmingly vote for an untested party that had only been formed a few months prior?
Would logic not tell us that this was because the ZANU PF government had already destroyed both the country’s economy and its towns and cities?
Well before the formation of the MDC, and the subsequent imposition of sanctions, the ruling ZANU PF had destroyed Zimbabwe…all by themselves!
Well before 1999, the people of Zimbabwe had endured untold suffering, and they had had enough, and they desperately wanted change.
Already inflation had been skyrocketing, there were huge foreign currency shortages, basic commodities were in short supply, fuel was unavailable, companies were already struggling and threatening to close – some of them having started retrenching workers – Zesa was warning of imminent power shortages, amongst a myriad of problems.
In fact, if the truth be told, these problems started raring their ugly heads well before 1990 – having started soon after ZANU PF assumed power in 1980, after Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain.
We can, thus, safely say that ZANU PF started messing up soon after taking office, and at no time did they ever perform well.
It is then always a mystery to me, when I hear so many people, including in ZANU PF, talking about returning Zimbabwe to its ‘glory days’.
Which ‘glory days’ are those?
Let us not forget that as early as 1991 – only 11 years after independence – the ZANU PF government embarked on the ill-fated Bretton Woods-inspired Economic Structural Adjustment Programmme (ESAP).
Why would ZANU PF see it fit to adjust the country’s economy if it was performing well – resulting in widespread retrenchments and added suffering on the part of Zimbabweans?
Such economic reform programmes, the world over, are only implemented when the country’s economy is performing dismally.
Even in recent years, European countries, such as Greece, have had to embark on painful austerity measures, as their economies had entered serious recession.
Therefore, it is clear that 20 years before the formation of the MDC, and 22 years before the imposition of so-called sanctions, the ZANU PF government had already roundly destroyed the country and its economy.
If there were some positives – which some people regard as ‘the glory days’ – these were merely the remnants of the Rhodesia era that we were still enjoying, as independence had opened them up to the majority of the people.
Just as some people may enjoy an inheritance left behind by a deceased rich relative – the people of Zimbabwe were just basking in the glory of what Rhodesia had created – nonetheless, the ZANU PF government’s incompetence ensured that by 1990, most of that inheritance had been wasted.
Rhodesia was already the industrial capital Africa, if not of the southern hemisphere – with some of its companies being the largest.
Rhodesia was already a leader in agriculture – already being the second biggest tobacco producer in the world.
Rhodesia’s education and health – albeit segregated – was already the finest in the world.
As such, the people of Zimbabwe should never be fooled into believing there was ever a time in this country’s history that ZANU PF did a good job.
Yes, they may have built numerous schools and hospitals, and even a half-hearted attempt at diesel-electric trains, but that is as far as they went – I am sure even the biblical prodigal son could have bought one or two useful things with his father’s inheritance that he wasted!
Nonetheless, in the main, ZANU PF never did anything that anyone can admire, so as to pile most of the blame on the opposition or sanctions for the destruction of Zimbabwe – it is all ZANU PF!
Whose corruption destroyed such companies as Ziscosteel – a fact acknowledged even by a commission of enquiry set up by the ZANU PF government?
Whose corruption lost the country USD15 billion in diamond revenue – an amount that could have easily transformed Zimbabwe into a ‘middle income economy’ within months, without waiting for 2030?
Who embarked on a poorly planned chaotic and murderous land reform programme, which resulted in untold hunger, and loss of investor confidence, and numerous company closures?
Who committed heinous atrocities against an innocent and unarmed people, simply because of their ethnicity or political persuasion?
Who conducted a military coup in November last year under the pretext of ushering in a so-called new-dispensation, in which ‘criminals’ surrounding former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe were removed, and have a ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption – yet, eight months down the line, none of those ‘criminals’ has been prosecuted?
I will not exonerated the MDC for its own failures, but I merely seek to point out ZANU PF’s deception and true track record over the past 38 years.
In fact, as much as today’s local authorities’ performance leaves a lot to be desired, this is not the preserve of the opposition, as ZANU PF-run towns face the same dilemma.
One example is that of Redcliff – the home of the fallen once giant iron and steel making Ziscosteel – which is run by ZANU PF.
This town has the all to familiar problems of potholes, water shortages, poor street lighting, and other services delivery challenges.
In fact, the high density suburb of Torwood has not had running water for months, if not years – whilst, other suburbs have had intermittent supplies, which can range up to two months without even a drop.
Nearby City of Kwekwe, is similarly ZANU PF-led, and one merely needs to take a drive to one of the high density suburbs – Mbizo and Amaveni, with predominantly ZANU PF councillors – and see if the gigantic potholes will spare their car!
Some of the roads in the city centre itself are so dusty and bumpy, one would be excused for thinking that they were in some growth point!
If voters are not to vote for the opposition in council elections as a result of their poor service delivery, then, similarly, they should not vote for ZANU PF, as it has been equally incompetent.
Zimbabweans have to be very wary of ZANU PF trickery, which is purposefully designed to hoodwink people into some selective amnesia – whereby, we forget when our problems actually started, and who caused them.
These elections are our golden moment to finally put an end to ZANU PF’s maladministration, incompetence, and corruption, and usher in a genuine new dispensation for our country.
We can not afford to make a mistake in allowing this rogue regime to continue wantonly destroying our lives, whilst they are busy looting and serving their own interests at our expense.
July 30 is here…and only a wise choice will see us through this 38 year old nightmare!
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please feel free to call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or (calls ONLY): +263715667700, or email: [email protected]. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.Post published in: Featured