If ZANU PF were the opposition, wouldn’t they see a crisis in Zimbabwe?

My most trusted dictionary defines ‘crisis’ as, “An unstable situation, in political, social, economic, or military affairs”. Over the past three months, Zimbabwe – as well as regional and global countries, and personalities, that are concerned about the country and the welfare of its citizens – has been embroiled in a seemingly endless vicious debate

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

My most trusted dictionary defines ‘crisis’ as, “An unstable situation, in political, social, economic, or military affairs”.

Over the past three months, Zimbabwe – as well as regional and global countries, and personalities, that are concerned about the country and the welfare of its citizens – has been embroiled in a seemingly endless vicious debate over whether there was truly a crisis in the southern African nation, or was this merely a fabrication manufactured in the minds of ‘detractors’, ‘sellouts’, ‘dark forces’, ‘terrorists’, and others who are seeking to foment chaos, thereby making the country ungovernable, in order to fulfill a ‘nefarious illegal regime change agenda’ – whom, the regime views as worthy of ‘flushing out’.

As I have repeatedly stated in numerous previous writings, understanding global geopolitical dynamics, as I do, it would utterly be disingenuous and hypocritical of me to deny that there are those – both foreign and local – who harbor their own ulterior motives (whether political power ambitions, or controlling and plundering the country’s vast resources for their own neo-colonial agendas), and would, indeed, undertake ‘nefarious’ machinations to achieve these goals – however, outrightly refusing to acknowledge that there is clearly a crisis of governance in Zimbabwe, would render me a pathological chronic liar, and unworthy of being a social justice activist.

Who can honestly not see the all-too-obvious “unstable situation, in political, social, economic, or military affairs” in the country?

Is it just me – and ‘detractors’, ‘sellouts’, ‘dark forces’, and ‘terrorists’ – who consider it ‘unstable’ when a trained qualified teacher (as well as the rest of the civil service) earns US$45 a month, or when 40% of the country’s population lives on less than US$1.90 per day (thereby, according to the World Bank, are in “extreme poverty”), when the government believes that providing a family with a bag of mealie meal and US$2.85 per month takes them out of poverty and makes them “not poor”, or when workers decide to exercise there constitution rights (as stipulated in Section 64) to embark on collective job action to demand “fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage”, they are forcibly enlisted under the military or intimidated with unspecified severe repercussions, as they are viewed as seeking to cause ‘anarchy’, ‘a security threat’, and “being unreasonable in their demands”?

Where the elderly, widowed, disabled, veterans of the liberation struggle, university graduates, popular actors, sportspeople, musicians, the employed and unemployed, have all been reduced to shameful paupers and beggars, who now need to survive on handouts.

Is it not a crisis when activists, and any others, who speak out and stand up against political, social, and economic injustice, repression, and corruption are threatened, abducted, beaten up, abused, and arrested on spurious charges – which have witnessed very few, if any, convictions – whilst, not even one of the perpetrators has ever been brought to book?

Are we to conclude that our very proficient law enforcement investigative officers are sincerely failing to make any breakthroughs in these cases – even when those responsible were caught on several news cameras, such as in the 1 August 2018 shooting dead of six unarmed people in Harare at the hands of state security personnel – a fact, acknowledged by the Kgalema Motlante Commission of Inquiry, appointed to probe these cold-blooded killings?

If that is not a crisis, then I don’t know what is!

Of courses, I can already hear some saying such a situation is not unique to Zimbabwe, especially during these precarious days of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

Indeed, this is not in any way unique – but, what is definitely unique is having all these catastrophic events occuring in the same country, and at the behest of the governing authorities.

Now, that is most certainly unparalleled.

Anyway, I am one person who has always had a serious problem with those who attempt to condone the normalization, justification, and trivialization of something horrendous and immoral, simply because its practise is widespread.

There are millions upon millions of men abusing their wives on a daily basis, and statistics say a woman/girl is being raped or killed every five seconds somewhere on the world – yet, that can never be used in a court of law, or the court of public opinion, to water down the gravity of such crimes.

The fact is simple – and facts are stubborn – there is crisis in Zimbabwe, and the sooner this is accepted and fearlessly dealt with, the better – not just for the country and its people, but the entire southern African region, which has witnessed an influx of economic and political refugees from the country, as well as a real danger of insecurity, considering that Zimbabweans are become increasingly restive and angry.

As much as Zimbabwean authorities, with the implicit support of other southern African leaders – who have proven to be insincere and dishonest brokers, with the Zimbabwean president even saying that they laugh over the matter with his South African and Namibian counterparts, in their regular night telephone conversations – may want to deny the existence of a crisis in the country, ordinary citizens, who have borne the brunt of this “unstable situation, in political, social, economic, or military affairs”, definitely perceive it differently.

In fact, had ZANU PF been an opposition party in Zimbabwe, and the prevailing situation (under exactly the same conditions) had been presided over by another political entity – let us say, the MDC – would they be happy? Would they have been satisfied?

Would they have been traveling all around the world, or at least communicating with other global leaders, tying to convince them that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, and that the MDC government was doing a fantastic job, considering the phenomenal challenges it was facing?

I would not think so.

Just as we have seen with the scathing and relentless attacks on the opposition’s administration of local urban authorities – especially, regarding appalling service delivery and corruption – a ZANU PF opposition would undoubtedly not have tolerated a similar situation, as what we are experiencing today in Zimbabwe.

Then, why should they expect us to be tolerant of their continued bungling, when this has been their modus operandi for the past 40 years? Why should they expect us to be ever patient, when they have proven, time after time, their inability, or unwillingness, or incompetence in fulfilling their promises? Why should they expect us to remain hopeful, where there is no hope? Why should they expect us to continue accepting their long-discredited excuses for their failures?

Even they would never accept such injustices, repression, and corruption had they been at the hands of another party – so, why should we?

© 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: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]

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