When a govt needs media to help highlight its achievements then it has nothing to show!

When I was still a young lad, there was a television advertisement that I used to enjoy a lot.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

If my memory serves me right, it was by the now comatose state-run Cold Storage Commission (CSC) – which suffered the same fate as most other parastatals that were run into the ground, through widespread corruption, looting of resources and mismanagement.

The advert featured a well-groomed talking bull, which boasted that, “nyama inonaka inotaura yega”.

Loosely translated, this self-confident (or maybe, self-conceited) bovine was letting us know that, something that is of exceptional quality does not necessarily need to be advertised, since its excellence is there for all to see, and speaks for itself.

This hilarious television commercial immediately returned into remembrance when I was listening to today’s Post-Cabinet Press Briefing – whereby, the government of Zimbabwe announced the rolling out of a series of state-sponsored tours for the media, designed for them to highlight “progress and achievements made by the Second Republic” in the development of the country.

No doubt, these would be carefully choreographed and stage-managed visits to specifically-selected sites – the obvious culprits being, road rehabilitation projects, the recently completed new parliament building, boreholes drilled in a couple of residential areas, a handful of companies that have set up shop, and of course, the few agricultural success stories – as these are arguably, the only “achievements” the so-called “new dispensation” can write home about.

I ask myself – why the need for journalists to be shown these “successes”, for them to highlight in their media outlets?

Should these not be there in plain sight, for all Zimbabweans to see for themselves?

If a country is truly moving in the right direction, and there was any meaningful development worth noting and bragging about, then surely this should be visible to all, and would not require the people who are in the same country to be told about these!

As the sage bull so articulately declared, “supreme meat speaks for itself “!

If there was any noteworthy development in Zimbabwe, believe me, each and every one of us would be fully aware of it, and there would be no disagreement about it, or any need to be told this by the media.

We would have been able to clearly see it for ourselves!

I am quite sure this renewed panic by the country’s ruling elite was ignited by the recent heated debate on whether Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith was a better leader than the current Zimbabwe President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – a discourse that clearly touched his nerve, leading to his angry outburst yesterday at the National Heroes Acre.

In the regime’s unnerved efforts to convince the nation that Zimbabwe is actually better and more developed than Rhodesia – made more questionable by the need to rope in the media – the opposite effect is more likely, since it just makes everything unbelievable.

Well, let me make one thing clear – all those, including yours truly, who have been recalling the “better life” under Rhodesia as compared to the current disgraceful deplorable situation – never needed to be convinced by anyone else, let alone the media, in our bold assertions.

As a matter of fact, in my own instance, all the examples of a better life under Rhodesia I have written about on numerous occasions, have been based purely on my remembrance of all those decades ago –  not something I came across in some old newspapers.

For those who never experienced that era, and requiring some testimonies from those with firsthand accounts – then, their fathers, mothers, grandmothers, or grandmothers are there to provide them indepth recollections, who themselves, are at the forefront of fondly reminiscing about the “good old days”.

Furthermore, the remnants of this past life are still there for all to see – although, now in a state of dilapidation and ruination, both on account of aging and lack of proper maintenance.

Those potholed roads, which today make driving seem like a sickening rollercoaster ride  – were constructed during the Rhodesia era, which were once the envy of the southern Africa region.

I will not even mention the once outstanding rail services – since, even the railway lines of bygone years are buried under tall grass, trees, and rubble, due to disuse.

This sorrow destiny was met by majestic and magnificent industrial complexes – that placed Rhodesia on the global map in the production of major brands – yet, today are more decrepit than the Great Zimbabwe ruins, abandoned as heartrending shells.

Those soccer stadia that are now so embarrassingly rundown, such that our national team is banned from using them for international matches – as well as numerous other infrastructure for varied sporting disciplines – were built in Rhodesia, as enviable world-class facilities.

The hospitals that have become deathtraps, such that the same ruling elite which hates being compared with Smith, never use – but, prefer jetting off to expensive overseas health institutions – were once the pride of the country, during their heyday in Rhodesia, equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, and well-stocked with all necessary medications.

Matapi Flats in Mbare, and other like them, that are today a painful eyesore – no longer fit for human habitation, yet used as dwelling by entire desperate families crammed like sardines into a single room – were built for unmarried general labourers, mostly in nearby industrial areas, who resided in relative comfort during Rhodesia.

Today, even professionals, such as teachers and nurses, are so poorly remunerated, and work under deplorable conditions, that they end up being forced to rent in lodgings previously purposed for general hands – which, they even struggle to afford.

The same applies for most suburbs in Zimbabwe – in which we all still reside – are of Rhodesian origin, fully equipped with running water, and reliable power supply…which have, tragically, become a thing of the past.

No one requires to be told these phenomenal Rhodesia accomplishments by the media, since they are right there in front of our eyes to perceive – although, now no longer as appealing as in their glorious former days.

Therefore, it is shocking learning of the latest hairbrain scheme by the government of Zimbabwe to incorporate the media in trying to sell “development and successes” of the “new dispensation” that, curiously enough, no one can see, without firstly being shown on television or in newspapers.

Real “development and success”, like good meat, does not need to be advertised – but, speaks loudly for itself.

Indeed, it would be grossly disingenuous to deny that there have not been any progress to talk about under the “Second Republic” – most of which I highlighted earlier – but, it is undoubted that these are far outweighed by the dismal pathetic unmitigated failures, which are there glaringly obvious for all to see.

The fact that, Zimbabwe’s ruling elite wants the nation to be told by the media just how prosperous and advanced we are today, proves we are anything but developed.

© 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]

Post published in: Featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *