As the infuriation and disquiet within me began to subside, typical to my nature, my mind embarked on a journey of imagination and intrigue – whereby, I could not help wondering why such people, as the elderly woman in the disturbing video, would understandably be considered no longer competent to run something like a school class, due to their advanced age, but would be entrusted to run an entire country.
My mind raced back to 8 January 1999 – when my late father was still a teacher at a school in Redcliff – and, I remember him going to work that morning (as it was term one opening day), and leaving me home, to be shocked seeing him return only an hour or so later.
When I asked him why he was already back, he explained that, as rotten luck would have it, since he had turned 65 years old that very day, his school head had summoned him to his (head’s) office, and informed him that, by virtue of his new age, he had effectively retired, and as such, could no longer continue teaching.
That was the end of my beloved father’s illustrious teaching career – a profession that he had lived for, and immensely cherished and loved.
As I was still wandering in “Dreamland”, my thoughts then asked, “If my dad was regarded too old, and possibly no longer capable, of running a class of about 35 students – why then, would someone who is, say, 78 years old, be given a thumbs up to run the affairs of an entire nation?”
Is there not something extremely skewed and lopsided with such a scenario?
Are we then to say that, it is fundamentally more demanding (intellectually, physically, emotionally, and even socially) to teach a class of, for instance, Grade Sevens, than it is to preside over the affairs of a country?
If that is to be the case, then no wonder we are in such a deep mess as the nation of Zimbabwe.
What is it that a whole president does on a day to day basis, which a 78 year old can manage pretty well, but would be unable to achieve had he been a primary school teacher?
If a 65 year old is regarded incapable of sitting through a school staff meeting, and contributing meaningfully to the discussions – then, what are we to expect from a 78 year old sitting through a Cabinet meeting?
Maybe, there is nothing much to being a president, after all.
Let us not forget that, Zimbabwe once had a 93 year old president – who would sleep through everything, including important global heads of state meetings – yet, our local pseudo-currency was at par with the USD (United States Dollar), a loaf of bread was 90 cents, kombis (commuter omnibuses) were 50 cents, and the lowest paid teacher earned USD520 per month.
My question then is, “If being a president is such a dud, what type of person would dismally fail in that capacity, to the extent that a loaf bread gets to be ZW$100 from 90 cents, kombis move from 50 cents to ZW$50, and an average teacher’s salary plummets from USD520 to about USD150 per month?”
If a sleeping 93 year old president could do a better job, then what is going on here?
Anyway, I can never get my mind around what a president does every day, and why it is possible for him or her to accomplish it at an advanced age, yet he or she would be quite incapable of running a grade seven class – meaning that, had my father still been alive today (two decades after being told that he was now too old to teach), he would still have been eligible to run for president.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured