As Zimbabweans die due to government incompetence we have leaders who force us to celebrate the non-existent

Each day I go through the motions of watching the state-controlled broadcaster ZBC News - not because I necessarily enjoy the sub-standard productions, or believe the lies and deceit spewed on a regular basis, without even showing an ounce of shame - but, being the only local channel available in the country, would not want to miss anything happening.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

The tolerance levels and gall to watch this nonsense could not be more imperative than these days – as the April 18, 2022 independence commemorations beckon, and repeatedly have to be reminded that we were actually “independent”, and there was, in fact, something to celebrate.

Nonetheless, I prefer hearing from real Zimbabweans about the truth of the situation on the ground – as they tell the heart wrenching calamities and predicaments they face on a daily basis.

This morning was no exception.

As I was busy listening to the sickening early morning news bulletins on television – I received a rather disturbing and tragic email.

The elderly pensioners, who have been kind enough to keep me updated on the harrowing plight of their equally elderly brother – unable to access the much-needed cancer treatment, as a result of broken down radiotherapy machines in the country – had unfortunately succumbed to this dreaded disease.

Yet, there I was – watching our so-called leaders on national television practically ordering us to be joyous and celebrate the country’s forthcoming independence day – since, the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans had greatly improved, more so, under the misnamed “new dispensation” (which came to power through a military coup d’etat in November 2017).

The two scenarios I was experiencing clearly did not add up.

How can we be told that our lives have been getting better – when the facts on the ground prove otherwise?

I am sure the very fact that the Zimbabwe regime sees it necessary to regularly “tell us” and “remind us” that are livelihoods were on the upward trajectory – something we should naturally be able to see for ourselves, had this been true – is ample evidence of the reality of our grave unbearable misery and suffering.

Surely, what is there to celebrate when our elderly are needlessly dying, as they can not access needed cancer treatment – just because the government is not prepared to buy adequate radiotherapy machines, or repair the broken down five that are presently in the country (but, require a technician from neighboring South Africa, whom the authorities are reluctant to pay)?

Is there anything to be jubilant about, when our country’s pregnant women are forced to sleep on the floor in our major hospitals – just because the ruling establishment is not willing to construct and equip sufficient maternity centres?

The words uttered in understandable anguish and despondency by these elderly siblings – as they informed me of the desperate situation of their brother, a few days before he passed away – still resonate in my mind.

“Where are we going to in this country when government can set aside 17 billion dollars for road rehabilitation but cannot spare money to keep radio therapy machines running?”

I could not have articulated this point more accurately than this – which, left my blood curdled in my veins.

Indeed, the ruling elite does not tire reminding us of how they were rehabilitating a few roads in our major towns and cities, as well as some highways – despite, reports of the shockingly shoddy workmanship.

What benefit is there in having a tarred street passing in front of my house – yet, I have not had any running water for seven months, can not afford to put food on the table, and have problems financing my son’s education?

Do our so-called leaders even consult with the ordinary people on exactly what we want and need – before embarking on these self-serving programs, which are really not a priority in our lives?

I kindly implore our ruling elite to go around the country – preferably incognito – and, sitting amongst the ordinary people, whilst attentively listening to what their real concerns are, and what they urgently require from their government.

They will be surprised to learn that, tarred roads, or having independence celebrations in Bulawayo, or meaningless budget surpluses, are definitely not on top of the list.

These are not even subjects of conversation

Honestly, I would never give a hoot if these celebrations were held on Mars, or in the middle of the Indian Ocean – but, as long as the country has nothing to show for this supposed “independence”, there is nothing for the people of Zimbabwe to be happy about.

Zimbabweans are dying due to government incompetence, mismanagement, and grand looting by their leaders – yet, they force us to celebrate what is clearly non-existent.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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