Is it just naivety or simply greed that drives POLAD to believe lamely sitting around table with corrupt power-greedy regime will yield results?

A few years ago, a dear cousin of mine - who worked quite closely with the then president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, especially in the health sector (having held top positions in both government, and the WHO [World Health Organization]) - phoned me excitedly informing me that the long-time ruler had been asking her about me, since he knew that her maiden name was, "Mbofana".

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

When she affirmed to Mugabe that we were indeed close cousins (our fathers being brothers) – he revealed his enjoyment in reading my media articles, and praised my writing abilities.

After this phone discussion with my cousin, I could not help wondering why, if Mugabe was such a fan of my writings, he never appeared to heed any of the issues I raised – considering that, most of my work was quite scathingly critical of the manner he was running down this once glamorous and prosperous country, and turning the livelihoods of millions of Zimbabweans into a hellish nightmare.

Of course, I was not naive or foolish, since I fully understood one major factor of life – no one would willingly relinquish whatever he was benefiting from (whether honestly or nefariously), as long as there was nothing powerful enough to force him into making such a tough choice.

There was no way Mugabe was going to wake up one morning, and say, “Hey, that guy Mbofana mentioned something profound in his article yesterday, which made me think long and hard, and have decided to stop looting state coffers for the enrichment of my family and peers, cease brutalizing my opponents, and end the rigging of elections”!

What would have motivated him to change his ways – when clearly, there was more to lose by reforming, than there was to gain through his regime’s unrepentant corruption, oppression, and electoral fraud?

That is why, then information minister, Jonathan Moyo, had no shame in commenting, “ZANU PF will never reform itself out of power”.

Indeed, no one will ever reform himself out of power – as power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – but, only a power greater than him, can force him to reform!

Let us never lose sight of the fact that, how the ZANU PF regime has been misruling and mismanaging Zimbabwe, has more to do with power-greed and self-aggrandizement, than merely incompetence and cluelessness (although, that is also certainly a factor).

For instance, the main reason our local currency is on a never-ending freefall, is predominantly due to corruption in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system – whereby, some favored entities access scarce foreign currency at concessionary rates, then resell it on the parallel market, thereby earning exorbitant profits – without ever using the money in any production of goods and services.

These are known individuals, who are connected to the ruling elite, and any serious action will hardly be taken against them – but rather, the government will act dumb, and divert attention to banks and other lending institutions, resulting in the embarrassing mayhem, confusion, and flip-flopping the nation witnessed over the past weeks.

As such, in order for the government to implement any genuine economic reforms, there has to be a more compelling power that is able to force those in power to make decisions that will force them (and, their unscrupulous cartel allies) to let go of the billions of ill-gotten dollars they have been enjoying through seemingly economic mismanagement.

It then goes without saying that, without that power – it would be foolhardy for anyone to believe that, merely writing a forceful article in the media, or even sitting around a table with the country’s ruling elite (sipping some expensive wines, and dining on exquisite gourmets) will bring about a change of heart on the part of those benefiting from the mess in Zimbabwe.

Therein lies the problem I have with this POLAD outfit.

The curiously named, Political Actors Dialogue – whose unelectability of these political leaders, makes them appear like actors on a stage, pretending to be people they truly are not – always loves touting itself as an important player in the country’s body politik, whose endless meetings with president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, are expected to bear fruit.

What on earth makes these actors seriously think they can push for any change, when those in power are benefiting from the chaos in Zimbabwe – as it will definitely take more than dining and wining to force them into relinquishing this mafia lifestyle?

Again, let us never forget that, this is not a government needing advice on how to run the economy – as, I am convinced they do know what needs to be done – but, are making a killing from their nonsensical and catastrophic policies.

What power does POLAD bring to the table, which can make the ruling elite think twice about continuing on their path of looting, oppression, and stealing elections – considering that, these supposed opposition “political leaders” do not have anyone to lead, in the first place, and as such, do not have the people’s power behind them, something that could have instilled some fear in those in power?

As I keep reiterating – rights and freedoms are seldom freely and willingly awarded, or even negotiated over wine and caviar, but need to be demanded and taken – and, this entails having the power to accomplish this feat, especially from a government intent on plundering the country into oblivion, at the expense of the population, who are left to suffer unbearable pain and poverty.

It is undeniable that the ruling establishment just loves these meetings – since this is a chance to offer more empty promises, and pretend to take POLAD recommendations seriously, whilst laughing behind their backs on how easy it is to dupe Zimbabweans.

Or, possibly, these political actors are not a naive as we may assume – but, are merely hungry or greedy individuals, who have come to terms with the fact that they will never enter the corridors of power through elections, and so have decided to go the “dining and wining with the president” route!

Is there any wonder why they are fond of making all manner of demands – including, diplomatic passports, unbelievably huge allowances, farms, and of course, the vehicles they received some time ago?

It is undoubted that, poverty – or maybe, plain greed – can nudge individuals into a wild goose chase, as long as they are rewarded handsomely for it!

POLAD is a typical case study!

@ 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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