WE ARE FUCKED!
When words fail, the only thing some of us can say or do is gasp – exasperated – and swear. For me, that moment came during my last trip to my beloved Zimbabwe. My annual pilgrimage back home for the festive season is something I always enjoy. As usual, I took the time to mingle with other young professionals based in Zimbabwe and, of course, discussions strayed to the economic and political state of our beloved Zimbabwe.
“WE ARE FUCKED!” exclaimed one guy and I couldn’t help but agree.
In my quest to visit as many relatives and friends I traversed Zimbabwe from Beitbridge through Masvingo, Harare and on to Chiweshe, Macheke and Gweru. What I saw along the way made me agree with him.
Getting into Harare after the long drive from Beitbridge I encountered the first and stark sign that we may have reached a point of no return. I realised that the law has become a mere inconvenience which can be disregarded by any citizen. People have lost respect for the police and accordingly laws are being broken in the presence of police officers. I was caught in a traffic jam along Seke road, going towards town and to my utter horror, drivers started driving into oncoming traffic in their bid to escape the traffic jam, and the traffic police officers did not even try to stop them. As a lawyer, I hold a firm view that the moment a society starts disregarding laws, particularly the so called “simple” laws, wantonly then that society is beyond redemption. Laws ensure that we live in peace and relative harmony with each other, sadly these are now being disregarded daily and it’s a matter of time before the country descends into utter chaos.
I visited a number of the townships and indeed some of the affluent parts of Harare and the general dilapidation of infrastructure particularly the roads was shocking. Roads are littered with dangerous potholes (I wonder when one can start calling them craters) deep enough to swallow half a tyre. The tragedy is not in having these craters on our roads. The real tragedy is that those in power do not see the opportunities that are abound in all of this.
It’s pointless debating how and why we find ourselves in this mess. The focus should be on how we can get out of it.
Can you imagine how many job and economic development opportunities can be exploited if our authorities prioritised the repair and replacement of our road networks? Banks will make money from lending funds to government, government contracts suitable companies to repair/resurface the roads and as a result jobs are created. In turn companies and employed people pay income and other taxes thus boosting the country’s coffers. Am I looking at things in a simplistic way or are our leaders that clueless?
At the same time, our country is currently fighting a typhoid outbreak and the Minister of Health apparently appealed to private citizens for financial assistance to fight the outbreak. Are you kidding me? Every year it rains and because of the lack of refuse removal a typhoid or cholera outbreak is always a sure bet but it seems that our government is always unprepared. $250 000 is what the minister was appealing for, yet our president is constantly flying around costing us millions of dollars. There can be logic to this madness. Are his trips more important than the lives of his people? A fraction of his travelling costs would have been enough to help fight, hell, even prevent the typhoid outbreak.
Then there is the kleptomania! The president admitted that $15 billion was looted from diamond operations. Some may say he was embellishing but there is no doubt that a huge amount was stolen and we will never recover a penny of it. How can we? That that $15 billion is just the tip of the iceberg of the stolen money across sectors is serious cause for concern. But are we taking it seriously enough?
As a people, we have a tendency of trivialising and joking about serious matters. Many joked about the $15 billion instead of holding government to account and life continued. Then there is the little matter of a $1,5 million ring. Let’s be frank, Grace did not intend to buy that ring. On the face of it, this is a classic case of money laundering and externalisation of funds gone wrong. You do not order something and pay $1,5 million and wake up one day and decide that you do not want it anymore. Hell, I wouldn’t order something for a $100 unless I really wanted it. Levels. Until we decide to hold our leaders accountable, WE ARE FUCKED!
We need to wake up and take charge of our own future. Those in power do not have our interests at heart. Politicians who are called to serve the public or national interest are a dying (if not already dead) breed, everyone is in it to get paid. And please my fellow Zimbabweans let’s follow and obey laws not for anyone but for ourselves and our children, if not, we really are fucked!
But even as I despair, I still have hope that 2017 brings with it joy and prosperity, not just for me, but for my beloved country and her people. It’s never too late to wish you all a happy new year, is it?