ELLEN G White, the prolific 19th Century writer as iconic in conservative Seventh Day Adventism as Ayn Rand is in modern-day liberal philosophy, refers to prophets as God’s messengers who bear a critical responsibility of exposing positive and negative facts on spiritual status of mankind, where necessary foretelling the evil that will befall a whole nation or community that defies the Creator’s laws.
White explains that, at any one time, God’s people will always know what the future holds as long as they care to listen to the recitals of prophets who tend to be part of the local social fabric.Therefore, I want to assume a role of what the Zanu PF propaganda machinery would label “prophet of doom”, neither being possessed by some crude revelatory spirit nor driven by cynical forces of pessimism, but by empirical evidence.
This puts me in an unenviable position of desecrating White’s scenario of turbulence that precedes the coming of the Son of Man by placing it in a context of one Robert Mugabe’s post-election resurgence, also known as the “son of the soil”.
That scenario, minus earthquakes, is one of untold human misery of biblical proportions – the gnashing of teeth, war and rumours of war, brother against brother, hunger, disease, unprecedented poverty, corruption, crime and persecution of martyrs of the truth.
The fact is that on March 31, Zimbabwe and the world may wake up to the reality that Mugabe has once again prevailed over the forces of democracy to assume another five-year term.
Of course, knowing Zimbabweans – always the optimists – it is in bad taste to consider any such outcome that is incompatible with our fantasies. From 1995, we have always reassured ourselves that things will be all right and would never get any worse – the rock bottom mentality (RBM).
Every fifth year, we have approached the ballot box with religious zeal and conviction of a priest in the vicinity of an altar who is convinced that every ritualistic act brings atonement as a just reward for confession. Citizens of the country have, for decades, walked out of polling stations with a sense of satisfaction and egotistical self-esteem bordering on complacency that for once the “X” they have placed in the “right” column is a seal of future prosperity.
The protagonists of RBM in Zimbabwe argue that there is an imaginary line below which economic decline, subjugation of rights, subversion of justice, poverty and human despair cannot go. Certain components of Zimbabwe’s humanity, they insist, are indestructible – capable of assuming and retaining a residual state from which re-activation and re-construction remain possible.
In this category of the “indestructible” are pride, hard work, resilience, integrity, optimism, constructive debate, self-belief and noble intent. Placed in the paradigm of a post-election Mugabe resurgence, such attributes remain a figment of philosophical self-delusion because while they are important elements of Zimbabwe’s fundamental value system, they count for nothing when pitted against the theory of objectivism.
Students of geography and tectonic science will know that the RBM theory is totally discredited by the mere fact that below the mantle there is pressurised hot ash and lava always ready to explode onto the surface. Other than natural volcanic eruption, a violent distortion and fracture of fault lines deep in the belly of our planet could result in volcanic eruption – at sea, this would trigger a tsunami.
Therefore for Zimbabweans to keep reassuring themselves that were Mugabe to retain his throne, our country would never sink to the deplorable levels of ethnic conflict experienced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Darfur, Chad, Iraq and Afghanistan is self-delusion bordering on criminal neglect.
For the first time since 1980, Zimbabwean voters are awake to the fact that their vote will usher the country’s destiny into a proverbial pillar of stone. We either vote for the future and go forward, or we wallow in lethargic self-pity and sink.
I want to place my argument in a prophetic context that requires careful, analytical interpretation. Assuming that the trend of catastrophic events remains in the post-2000 negative mode, it is a correct prognosis that all elements responsible for volcanic action will trigger a six-digit reading on March 31’s Richter scale.
The rationale is simple: as long Mugabe retains power, national, regional and international confidence in the ability of Zimbabwe to re-invent itself will remain low, or altogether evaporate, unless he undergoes a complete transformation.
Mind you, the six-digit reading is not just mere speculation: inflation is already beyond 100 000% – thus living us with the critical figures of employment, migration, brain-drain, child mortality, school and college dropout, industrial, agricultural and mining output.
As a voter, one has to enquire what it is about voting for Mugabe that will reverse the trend of negative social, economic, political and infrastructure decline Zimbabwe has been experiencing in the past twenty years.
If, as Mugabe wants the world and us to believe, Zimbabwe’s woes are traced to him being a victim of British and American vilification, how is he going to regain their confidence when George Bush, Gordon Brown and the “free world” have already condemned the processes preceding the March 29 election as pointing towards “unfree and unfair”?
As long as the Robert Mugabe brand name is dominant on Zimbabwe’s post-March 29 political market, no known computer or prophetic model can extrapolate the magnitude of and resultant human catastrophe. I will support this statement by exposing the facts.
Zanu PF leaders and their supporters term anyone who does not support Mugabe an enemy of the revolution, so you cannot rule out post-election retribution.
All major and minor roads in towns and cities now are now virtually impassable, thus require a multiple-billion-dollar resurfacing budget that is beyond even Mugabe’s wildest imagination.
Public schools and hospitals require astronomical capital injection – in foreign currency – to be able to offer basic service, since teachers and doctors have abandoned conventional practice.
Power outages require that Zesa – the national power utility – invest not less than US$100 billion to cope with industrial demand.
No less than 1 000 professionals escape from Zimbabwe every day, including teachers, doctors and engineers, because of a pay packet not sufficient even for monthly bus fare.
Universities, colleges and high schools are operating with less that 30% of required staff due to mass resignations.
The national banking system has completely collapsed, with simple money transfers taking more than 10 days to effect, leaving millions of account holders stranded every month.
Citizens cannot travel to and from rural homes because diesel and petrol are bought in US dollars, causing bus fares to double every week.
Home development has altogether stopped because cement and brick prices have increased five-hundredfold in the past 12 months.
There is one state-controlled television and radio station and one daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.
No public meeting can be conducted without police authority.
Commercial farms have no title deeds.
Although duty for cars and petrol is paid for in foreign currency, it is still considered “illegal” to possess foreign currency in Zimbabwe!
Question: if Mugabe wins the March 29 elections, how and with whose support is he going to reverse the endemic trend of national emaciation? Not a hope in hell.
By Rejoice Ngwenya
* Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.