We have a whole leadership – that does not tire telling all and sundry of their numerous PhDs (Doctors of Philosophy), and being Professors (with many even being angry with anyone, especially journalists, who would not have addressed them with those titles) – pathetically and abysmally failing to run a country, that was once transformed into the enviable bread basket of southern Africa, by largely ‘uneducated’ former colonizers – and was also described as the ‘Jewel of Africa’, and the ‘Switzerland of Africa’ (by the late great icon of African liberation, Tanzanian leader Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, after Zimbabwe attained her independence from Britain in 1980)…and destroying it, in record breaking time, into a sad, embarrassing, and painful ‘basket case of the world’, that goes around the globe with a begging bowl in hand.
I can not help being filled with righteous indignation watching all our God-given wealth being mercilessly plundered by a few in the opportunistic ruling elite (past and present), with repulsive impunity – in ways that leave most of us seriously wondering whether these people are normal, or possessed by some malevolent stealing spirit (in Shona called ‘Shavi rekuba’), which might need urgent exorcism, as the magnitude of the pillaging is outrageous – whilst, the rest of the millions of citizens are abandoned to languish in impoverishment, earning less than the US$1.80 per day, that the UN (United Nations) considers as the limit for someone to be labelled “living in extreme poverty”
I call it a form of ‘shavi’, because quite honestly, this country is bequeathed with an over-abundance of resources, such that a normal thief could steal, yet leaving enough for the rest of us – but, the amounts these people pilfer is unbelievable, and leads many to wonder why anyone would want so much, yet they just keep on stealing.
Are we not all supposed to be equal inheritors of these bountiful riches that God Almighty, by His abundant wealth of grace, lovingly bestowed upon us to find pleasure in, and enjoy to our hearts’ content – yet, we are cursed with a overly-greedy and heartless junta, whose only mission in this life appears nothing more than to steal, kill, and destroy – as, everything they touch ends up lining their pockets, and anything left behind is rendered dead?
Are we not equal shareholders in this land called Zimbabwe? Then, why do we have a few at the top – with their cronies in criminal cartels – being the one, or less, percent (1%) to live lavishly, on account of our collective blessings, yet the other ninety-nine, or so, percent (99%) wallows in poverty?
When my own rural born and bred mother went to school in the then colonial Rhodesia – spending sleepless savagely cold nights shivering and in agony, whilst covered by a single thin blanket at a missionary school at Silveira Mission, and dreaming of a life of plenty and luxury once she had attained a professional qualification, and a job, preferably in a city or town (something she eventually achieved as a general nurse) – little did she ever dream that, the life she thought she had escaped would later follow her to those cities and towns – as she tearfully witnesses her own child (whom she honestly believed she had saved from a life of suffering, she herself had endured in her childhood, by providing him a very good education in an urban setting) waking up early in the morning, in the middle of a low density suburb, to chop firewood, and then fetch water at the nearest borehole (as there has not been any tap water for days, since that has become the norm).
I can not even begin to imagine what other families would be going through, in their own struggle for survival, in a land that was captured by a cold-blooded, insensitive, and kleptomaniac mafia, who would not care a bit, if all of us were to drop dead – in fact, judging by the morbid and macabre ‘jokes’ and statements issued by the presidency, maybe they would actually relish such prospects.
The question then is, what factors are encouraging this rampant and senseless corruption and looting of our abundant national resources to fester relentlessly?
Of course, this could never be adequately addressed in a newspaper article, but a whole book – nonetheless, when I was reading, this morning, the alleged fraudulent escapades involving the former first lady Grace Mugabe, in some land scams in Borrowdale, Harare, in which she is being accused of illegally acquiring 50,000 square metres of prime land for her offspring, something struck me – it would appear such shameless and brazen antics could only be undertaken by someone who believes would be in power till ‘death did them apart’.
I honestly do not think that a person who knows that she or he could be out of power any day, would be bold enough to concoct such reckless schemes – that would obviously be unearthed, and lead him or her straight to jail.
However, only someone who perceives him or herself as invincible, and perpetually powerful and untouchable, would dare pull off something like that – and, that is exactly how so many in this ruling elite consider themselves.
That is where the ‘tichingotonga’ (“we will rule forever”) notorious ZANU PF slogan and mentality comes in – since this foisters a belief that, “No one will remove us from power, and so we can do pretty much anything that we want, including illegally looting whatever we desire, to our hearts’ content, without fear of any reprisal”.
That is the destructive and retrogressive dilemma that we face as a nation – as we have the misfortune of a leadership that does not see themselves out of power, nor ever being held accountable for their dastardly criminal acts, and as such will loot at will.
Until and unless that mentality is removed from the psyche of those in power – and, those who seek power – and, recalibrated to understand and appreciate that power is transitional, and the culture of frequent deliberate transfer of power (irregardless how popular a leader may be) inculcated in them, then this nation will be reduced to any empty shell in no time at all.
Those in power can dismiss this potent advice at their own peril – as what we are now witnessing with the reported possible arrest of the former first lady, the arrest of her ally Ignatius Chombo, and the hiding in self-imposed exile of other G40 elements, for fear of arrest on more charges of corruption – is the same fate awaiting today’s powerful ruling elite, as sooner or later (just like what is happening to the previously untouchable Grace Mugabe, and her cabal) they will inevitably fall from their high and mighty pedestals, and face justice for their shameless plunder, whilst a nation of 15 million struggles to make ends meet.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured