Zimbabweans have borne the brunt of unflattering worldwide ridicule over our perceived cowardice and fear in boldly standing up, and speaking out, for our God-given rights to a dignified and respectable standard of life – which, each and every human being under the face of the sun is entitled to, yet cruelly and brutally stolen and destroyed from us, by a leadership that knows nothing else than to make our lives miserable, whilst they live lavishly through their ill-gotten gains of our plundered national resources.
The ordinary people of this southern African nation have never asked for anything else, besides a life one would naturally expect from a country endowed with an over-abundance of some of the world’s most sought after precious minerals, tourist attractions, agricultural produce, and a highly learned population.
Honestly, what kind of lifestyle would someone residing somewhere overseas expect of Zimbabweans, if they were to be told that our country boasts of over one hundred of this planet’s natural resources – especially, taking into account that, citizens of, for instance, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which only has oil, natural gas, and tourism, to speak of, practically live in ‘heaven on earth’?
Yet, a trip across the country would immediately expose a country overwhelmed by some of the world’s poorest people – with over half the population reportedly classified as living in ‘extreme ‘poverty’, as they earn far less than the United Nations (UN) stipulated benchmark of US$1.80 per day – with a teacher, or nurse, earning a paltry US$50 per month, only a two or three months ago.
In the midst of such government-induced poverty, Zimbabwe has one of the highest inflation rates across the globe, especially for a country not at war – which, for several months, was only surpassed by Venezuela – thereby, making citizens’ already meagre incomes eroded at breakneck speeds.
Too add insult to injury – as if these man-made problems did not make the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans hellish enough – the government fails to even provide adequate heath care, education facilities, such that, all public medical institutions lack even the most basic provisions, most particularly, basic essential drugs, and personal protective equipment (PPEs), whilst, schools do not have textbooks and other vital requirements for any meaningful learning – something that poses a very serious threat to our reputation as a highly educated populace.
Under such untenable and unlivable conditions, one would understandably expect even the country’s leadership to share in this unbearable and inhumane suffering – considering that, this is a regime that repeatedly claims that our economic disaster is at the hands of sanctions imposed by Western countries, which would then mean that each and every citizen, including those in power, would find any semblance of normal life impossible.
Why would that not be the case? If a home is facing severe financial challenges, should the parents not also be affected?
Yet, in our beloved Zimbabwe – which at the attainment of our independence from Britain in 1980, the then Tanzania president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, warned the incoming Prime Minister Robert Gabriel Mugabe that, what he was inheriting was the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, and as such, should not destroy it – the opportunistic ruling elite, and their hangers on, live in abundant opulence…a lifestyle I only know from watching Robin Leach’s ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ in my childhood.
What happened to the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, and how did those in power manage to ruin it – going against everything the ever-wise Nyerere had warned, and possibly foreseen, as he had worked very closely with those who were to take over independent Zimbabwe, during the liberation struggle, and could have detected their incompetence, untrustworthy, and lustful thieving ways?
The answer to that is quite simple. For a country with the world’s finest natural resources, and a powerful junta whose livelihoods can only be comparable to those in Hollywood, in the midst of some of the poorest living souls on the planet – plundering of our national wealth (which, should normally be equitably shared by the entire population, as would happen in a normal country) can be the only explanation.
Thus, what are the people of Zimbabwe to do under such cruel and tyrannical kleptomania – whereby, raising of any objection, is met with barbarity and savagery?
Let one thing be known to all. Anyone who lives by instilling fear in others, is the one living in fear. That is a very simple rule of nature and psychology.
We are ruled over by a group of people who have sleepless nights, crippled by a unbridled fear over losing their privileged station in the country, a fear over what will happen to them once they are out of power..will they be arrested for all their looting, will they die humiliatingly in jail.
Those who preside over us are actually more afraid of us, than we are of them – yet, we appear oblivious to that fact. Have we ever wondered why, whenever there is any talk, or even a mere rumour, of mass protests – which, are constitutionally enshrined – the regime immediately presses the panic button, with the threat of brutal repression precariously hanging over every citizen’s head?
Why would anyone who does not live in perpetual fear be so terrified by peaceful demonstrations?
Well, they know what most Zimbabweans do not seem to appreciate – there are 16 million of us, and only a handful of them.
Zimbabweans should never forget that we all face the same challenges, and should never be divided by trivial politically manufactured divisions – which, can only weaken us, instead of bravery facing the authors of our misery and suffering together.
Political games only benefit a few people in the ruling class, yet the rest of us – the 16 million of us – are used like toilet paper, and discarded. We deserve better as Zimbabweans, and the sooner we realize who is actually more fearful, and who is more powerful, the sooner our plight will improve.
© 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]Post published in: Featured