I, as so many others, have chosen to place my own safety and life in danger in standing up and speaking out for my fellow oppressed African mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters – for no discernable personal benefit or gain, but actually operating in a very toxic and dangerous political environment.
These are people who have been relentlessly subjected to innumerable challenges, and untold suffering by their leaders, especially here in Zimbabwe.
What can be greater love for one’s fellow compatriots, country and continent than placing one’s own life at risk for the cause for emancipation and an dignified livelihood – in which, all the citizenry enjoy and benefit from the vast natural resources, of which our beautiful land has been blessed – yet, which are being wantonly pillaged by those in power for their own enrichment, whilst the rest of the population is abandoned to wallow in poverty?
Nonetheless, we are the most reviled people – always under attack with accusations of being ‘unpatriotic and anti-Zimbabwe and anti-Africa’.
I find this rather laughable and disingenuous!
What I find even more pathetic and regrettable, bordering on the hypocritical, is that, most of those proclaiming to be the ‘real patriots and Pan-Africanists’, are themselves the authors of the immeasurable pain and suffering that has inflicted the people of Zimbabwe.
Recently, I was watching, in utter dismay, as a lady touting herself as a fierce and uncompromising ‘Pan-Africanist’, went on her usual emotional tirades – lambasting anything and everything Western as evil and wicked – whilst proclaiming undying love for the people of Africa and support for the kleptomaniac regime in Zimbabwe.
Of course, the most obvious hypocrisy, which I found extremely ludicrous, was that she actually left that ‘beautiful Zimbabwe’ for greener pastures on the ‘evil USA’ – where she has been plying her medical trade for decades.
I wound have thought that, since the US (and, other Western countries) were the headquarters of ‘wickedness’, it would have been a no-brainer to stay in her own country – also taking into consideration how she perceived the leadership as good, democratic, and doing a great job in developing the people’s lives.
Anyway, that is not what incensed me to that point of penning this piece.
What gets me really riled up – each time I watch this lady pontificate about the greatness of Africa in general, and the Zimbabwe regime in particular, whilst savagely castigating and condemning Western countries – is that, she herself, has left many ordinary Zimbabweans’ lives lying in utter ruin in her wake, through gross incompetence, which left her employees without salaries and their pensions in doubt.
Having acquired, under suspicious conditions, health care facilities from a struggling state-owned enterprise in the late 1990s – which has since collapsed, due to rampant corruption and unbelievable mismanagement – these entities, which originally promised a far much better life for the workers and local community, were soon to be bedeviled by the cancer of an absent proprietor (who preferred to manage from the comfort of the US), and poor management (with obviously underqualified close relatives being placed in charge), thereby inevitably being run into the ground around 2010.
Employers went for months, if not years, without receiving their salaries – in spite of the fact that the money they were supposed to earning was a grave insult to any professional – which would take a whole two years of saving every cent just to equal a paltry ZAR2,000!
Even when the company finally took its last breath – workers we allegedly never informed of this development, and were taken by surprise – thereby, leaving them not only dumbfounded, but also high and dry, without any terminal benefits.
Ever since, most of those who worked for her have been wallowing in poverty – never having ever been able to access their pensions – both from these health care facilities, and the fallen state-owned enterprise.
Now, having authored the misery of so many ordinary Zimbabweans – it is exceedingly troubling always watching her parade herself, full of vigor and emotion, as some fervent Pan-Africanist – who hates oppression, and loves the people of Zimbabwe and Africa with unbridled passion.
Wow, talk about double standards!
Nevertheless, this is not particularly shocking – since this concept of Pan-Africanism has, over the course of history, become a place of hiding for those who actually caused more pain and suffering upon the people of the continent – who now want to be regarded as champions of Africa’s cause.
Did we not witness this with the likes of the late ousted Zimbabwe dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe – who, in spite of callously spilling the blood of tens of thousands of innocent fellow black Zimbabweans – has been repeatedly lauded, in some quarters, as a brave crusader for Pan-Africanism?
Are we not seeing it today, as the current leader, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s regime, arrogantly tears apart the country’s Constitution – as the law is flagrantly weaponized and selectively used against the opposition or other voices of dissent, with vicious violent attacks becoming the order of the day?
Yet, he never tires telling everyone who dares listen about his loathing of imperialism and love for Pan-Africanism!
Is it not sickening that, in the same breath, standards of living for ordinary Zimbabweans keep spiraling, uncontrollably, down an economic abyss, as the cost of living skyrockets out of reach – largely due to a kleptomaniac political elite that clearly does not appear interested in stopping their grand looting of national resources?
This is a government that cannot even be bothered with providing desperately-needed radiotherapy machines for cancer patients – let alone, simple paracetamol, antiseptics, antibiotics, or surgical gloves and anesthetic – leading to totally unnecessary preventable deaths.
Most school children still learn under trees, or unused tobacco curing barns, or some other ramshackle structures (which can easily be blown away even by the slightest storms) – simultaneously, lacking basic learning material, such as text and exercise books, pens, pencils, chalk, chairs and desks.
In the same vein, about three million ordinary Zimbabweans are food insecure, half the population living in extreme poverty, and two thirds of workers earning below the poverty datum line.
In all this, over US$1.5 billion worth of Zimbabwe’s gold is smuggled out of the country annually, with over US$25 billion of diamond revenue reportedly unaccounted for – yet, not a single person having ever been brought to book, although some are known, but left to loot with impunity, due to their proximity to power.
With so much pain and anguish inflicted upon the ordinary people of Zimbabwe – who, in their right mind, can still claim to be a Pan-Africanist, despite being a part and parcel of causing this indescribable suffering?
What is even more ironic is that, our public health and educational institutions were actually functional under these ‘imperialists’, during the colonial era.
In fact, the state-owned enterprise (with the health care facilities bought, and run into the ground by our lady ‘Pan-Africanist’) was once the envy and pillar of the entire southern African region, under those ‘colonists’ these leaders now want to disparage at every turn.
Workers were actually paid well, and every time – whilst, at the end of their careers would be awarded handsomely, through good pensions, which provided a decent dignified retirement.
However, our ‘Pan-Africanists’ are so self-serving and greedy that they are not even prepared to pay their workers for the work done for that month!
This is so disgraceful!
My advice is quite simple…
…instead of repeatedly regurgitating this tired line of ‘imperialists, neo-colonialism, and Pan-Africanism’ – these people should be more focused on how they themselves are treating their own fellow Africans and Zimbabweans
After careful scrutiny and honest introspection, they may actually discover a shocking truth about themselves – that they are, in fact, worse and more cruel than the people they are always so fond of castigating and condemning.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected]