Zimbabwe’s tragedy – when the victims actually defend the perpetrators!

The social justice work I do can be both exciting and troubling.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana 

In fact, it can warm my heart, or leave me near to tears.

It is immensely enjoyable and heartwarming when I am speaking out against injustice and corruption, and there are those supporting me with a passion – something I do not take lightly or for granted, but consider humbling and a rare privilege.

There is no greater joy than encountering those who appear equally or even more passionate as I am, in their loathing of the abuse of authority by largely public officers entrusted with presiding over the affairs of our nation.

It is so clear how repulsed and revulsed some of them would be with the despicable levels of looting of our resources, mostly for the self-aggrandizement of those in power – whilst, ordinary citizens who are supposed to benefit are abandoned to a life of deprivation and suffering.

It is as if I can actually touch and taste their utter disdain of anything unjust and corrupt.

Yet, this bubble can so easily and cruelly be burst – leaving me wondering whether some of these people ever truly harbored any hatred for this sin of grand thievery amongst our ruling elite.

Remember that, from the beginning of this discourse, I never mentioned who exactly ‘those in power’, or ‘public officers’, or ‘ruling elite’ are!

I never identified at which level their governance is to be found – national or local government – or, on which political party ticket they were elected or appointed into these offices.

This is where everything gets really exciting, or seriously troubling.

It is never shocking discovering that a significant section of those who had been showering me with praises and encouraging me to boldly speak out against injustices and corruption – only did so due to the fact that those I was criticizing were from a rival political party, of whom they already were not particularly fond.

However, should I switch my focus – as I continue with my relentless advocacy against injustices and corruption in the country, but this time around, targeting office bearers from my ‘fans’ favored political party – suddenly, the mood changes, I am no longer their darling, and a few actually challenge me, as to why I would be pointing an accusing finger at these officials.

These same people will even go all the way in trying to explain how the said office bearers were really not to blame (as it was other people’s fault), and there was no basis for my accusations.

Wait a minute!

But, these words would not be new to me at all – since, those would have been the same things told me by those who supported the first group I had castigated…ironically, views those who were now condemning me had freely praised me for.

It is all so confusing!

Well, maybe, not really!

These are merely signs of the tragedy we witness in Zimbabwe.

It is so disenchanting and heart breaking watching how we as Zimbabweans have allowed ourselves to be so polarized and divided by politicians and political parties – to such an extent that, we are now only pleased when those from a rival group are the ones at the receiving end of criticism.

Nonetheless, when our own are held accountable for their dirty deeds – that suddenly becomes a problem.

Now, let me get into actual names.

When it is ZANU PF, whose crimes, brutality and plundering of resources is under the spotlight – with the country being prejudiced billions of dollars each year through scandalous deals (in minerals, state-owned enterprises, social services, normally via smuggling and shady tenders) – those from the opposition are jubilant and love what is being said.

At the same time, ruling party supporters are thoroughly livid, and swift in defending their office bearers – shifting the blame for the economic ruination and intolerable poverty experienced in Zimbabwe onto others – specifically, supposed sanctions, or opposition-linked saboteurs, or regime change agents.

But, turn the script over, and place under scrutiny the opposition, especially the CCC and MDC who run urban local authorities – suddenly, those who appeared so rabidly against corruption, no longer believe such rot is the cause of the insufferable poor service delivery in our towns and cities – that has resulted in residents being without essential basic needs, as potable water, for months or even years.

The blame is readily transfered upon central government (led by ZANU PF) – with any reference to the undeniable evidence of underhand unscrupulous dealings, usually involving the illegal or irregular or unprocedural sale of land involving opposition councillors and mayors, in collusion with town management – being totally dismissed and disregarded as ever having taken place.

On the other hand, ZANU PF supporters celebrate these revelations – strangely, now somehow accepting that corruption in a real cancer in the country, destroying people’s livelihoods and leading them into destitution – but, only as far as urban local authorities are concerned.

So, honestly where are we going as a country?

How did we get to a place where the suffering actually support and defend the architects and authors of their unbearable pain and misery – simply because they are from our political parties of choice?

Surely, what manner of reasoning is that?

As long as ordinary Zimbabweans do not come to a place where we understand that, irrespective of one’s political home, our poverty and suffering is the same – and, the brutal truth is that, the causes are also the same…rampant corruption by those in office, regardless of their political affiliation.

It is about time we resisted and refused being used by politicians for their own self-enrichment power ambitions.

We need to understand that we share similar challenges – and the perpetrators may wear different regalia, but are motivated by the same greed and lusts.

Unless and until ordinary Zimbabweans band together – immediately discarding all partisan considerations, and facing those presiding over our seemingly unending suffering without fear or favor – we should never hope for a better Zimbabwe for all its citizens.

The future of the country, and our future as a people, are in our hands – but, it all depends on how we chose to tackle the challenges we face.

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

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