The group called, ‘Zimbabwe Pensioners Welfare Trust 4 ED’ – named after President Emmerson Dambudzo (ED) Mnangagwa – is embarking on a program, in which they are training elderly pensioners on how to produce homemade detergents and other supposed ‘projects’.
This is intended to create a source of income for these pensioners – most of whom are not getting anything from their lifetime of employment – or, at the very least, are receiving paltry amounts that can not sustain a human being.
As much as that may appear a noble initiative, on the surface – however, deep down, this is clearly a sinister plot to divert our parents’ focus from demanding what is legally due to them.
Our elderly deserve their pensions, which they earned through the decades of service in their various employment capacities.
Let us keep in mind that this ‘4 ED group’ is not just an ordinary charitable organization – motivated by a sincere love and concern for our parents, and a desire to see them flourish, under the prevailing tough economic environment in Zimbabwe.
No, not at all!
This is a ruling ZANU PF affiliate – which, as the name openly indicates, is aimed at garnering support for Mnangagwa.
As such, its main strategy is to divert elderly pensioners’ attention from demanding and expecting what they are owed or being prejudiced, in terms of pensions.
The hope is that, by providing them with some so-called ‘projects’ – such as, the production of homemade detergents, rearing chickens, or even pure handouts – they will totally forget about the money they toiled and sweated for, over the course of their entire adult lives.
However, this is not only cruel and evil, but also insincere and unworkable – since most of these pensioners are now too old and even sickly to burden themselves with the exhausting demands of operating and overseeing these ‘projects’.
Surely, can anyone imagine my 85-year-old mother spending her day worrying over the over-bearing task of tending to chickens, or growing crops, or making some soaps and detergents for resale?
When these people began working in the 1950s, 60s and 70s – they faithfully contributed to their companies’ pension funds, as well as investing in retirement insurance policies – in the fervent belief of a comfortable retirement, free from any more work-related headaches.
They have adequately and commendably already played their part in this country – by working hard to raise us (their children) and contributing to national development.
It is, therefore, time for them to take a well-earned rest.
Besides, is the Shona word for ‘pension’ not ‘mudyandigere’ – which loosely translated means: ‘enjoying life in leisure, whilst relaxing’?
So, where is the rest and relaxation in expending one’s time and energies in operating and overseeing some supposed ‘empowerment projects’.
In fact, our parents no longer need any ‘empowering’ – since they already successfully managed to accomplish this goal over the course of the past decades – when they were still gainfully employed.
People like my mother did their part, and now need to sit back and enjoy the world.
They contributed diligently and loyally to their pension funds – as well as to the government-operated NSSA (National Social Security Authority) – and all they need now are their rewards in full.
Just as pensioners in other countries, they now also want to fulfil their lifelong ambitions – travelling the world, going on cruises and vacations, buying their dream homes or cars, and practically having a good time.
Nonetheless, they can not do that – since the Mnangagwa administration has wantonly and cruelly destroyed the country’s economy – reducing our parents (and ourselves) into paupers and destitutes.
There is nothing more heart-breaking that watching one’s own mother struggle to make ends meet – on account of both not receiving her pension at all, as well as earning a measly amount from NSSA.
Imagine my mother having worked for the fallen state-owned iron and steel making giant ZISCOSTEEL from 1964 to 2010 – yet not having received even a single penny from her pension – and on top of that, only getting an equivalent of US$10 a month from NSSA.
This is a company looted and plundered into the ground by the country’s ruling elite – who, at the same time, employed their unqualified or under-qualified relatives or ruling party comrades to run its affairs.
Even a government commission of inquiry establishment in 2006 confirmed this rot as the main reason for the parastatal’s demise – which plunged the entire town of Redcliff into abject poverty – as nearly every adult was an employee of ZISCOSTEEL.
Similarly, all her insurance policies were wiped out during the economic mismanagement and corruption-induced hyperinflation years at the beginning of the millennium.
Under such painful circumstances, what our elderly pensioners deserve, more than anything else, is justice.
They have to be paid what there are owed in full – with the sums calculated fairly so as to reflect their true values in today’s money.
Our elderly should be afforded their ‘mudyandigere’, in order for them to finally enjoy, in relative comfort and leisure, the fruits of their lifelong work and sweat.
Nothing less is totally unacceptable.
That is where such shady organizations, as the Zimbabwe Pensioners Welfare Trust for ED’s role in this mess, should be carefully scrutinized.
What are their real intentions?
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with training our elderly parents in homemade detergents or some income-generating ‘projects’ – for them to earn some money, to make ends meet, in these economically challenging times.
Remember, we (their children) are facing similar economic challenges – in a country driven to ruins, through the incompetence and corruption of those in power – and are unable to assist them (our elderly parents) in any meaningful manner.
However, as a Mnangagwa campaign tool, this organization becomes a huge problem – as nowhere in their activities or programs are they demanding justice for the same pensioners they claim to care about so much.
Why are they not holding their patron and his government to account for the gross injustices they have borne upon the elderly and pensioners in Zimbabwe?
Surely, had our parents been receiving what they worked for and invested in, all their working lives – would there be any need for those supposed ‘empowerment projects’?
Besides, the money they are likely to earn from selling homemade detergents or chicken rearing – under the current shambolic economic conditions – is nowhere near what they should be getting from their pensions.
In addition, at such advanced ages, it is extremely unfair and callous, expecting our parents to be immersed in some energy and time-consuming projects.
They need to be resting and enjoying their well-deserved retirements.
They earned it!
Yet, we have these ‘4 ED’ groups intending to exonerate their patron from being held to account for his regime’s injustices and plunder.
Is there anything more wicked than making the elderly continue to toil and sweat into their graves?
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: email@example.com, or visit website: http://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/