When the psychological contract between the state and the citizens reaches breaking point, trust in the state is lost and its credibility simply vanishes. As we march towards the watershed elections, there is a sense in the air of both hope and hopelessness, relief and distress, anxiety and indifference.
By GLORia NDORO-MKOMBACHOTO
Political power is sweet and intoxicating. When those holding political office lose their capacity to gauge and feel the pulse of the nation, things fall apart.
Politics by its very nature is like a cheque account. You cannot continue to issue cheques against the account without making new deposits into the account. At some point, the finite amount in the cheque account is going to run out and without further deposits, the cheques will start bouncing. The relationship between the governing party Zanu PF and the citizenry is very much the same. The governing party cannot continue to pull wool over our faces. The mental faculties of the generality of the nation are functioning adequately. So when the goings-on of the past that led to the exclusion of the majority and their subjugation rear their ugly head, it is very much noted.
When we marched in November 2017, we did it willingly, out of our own volition, being mindful that change was long overdue. We were not coerced nor frog-marched by anyone.
We had suffered long enough, so when “operation restore legacy” was initiated by the armed forces, we had no option, but to support it. It was our only window to freedom.
The armed forces were the only ones with the capacity and capability to save the nation from the clutches of a tyrant.
We were aware and conscious of the fact that our “saviours” were part of the totalitarianism that we had endured in the past. But that is what happens when you are drowning in the middle of the sea with no other help in sight. You swim towards the only floating log within your vicinity, with a cobra on it, hoping that it will not bite you. That is what we did when we marched in November 2017. The stakes were high and not joining the march for change was not an option. There was no script written. Each and every one of us who joined the freedom march was following their gut.
l Reality is not meeting expectation
Four months down the road, apathy and listlessness are growing. So much has happened in such a short time to demonstrate to the citizenry the basis on which they must cast their votes in a few months’ time.
In any country, there is only one excellency. That excellency is the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Any other person claiming to be his or her excellency spells trouble for our fragile nation. People hungry for non-existent political titles are dangerous and remind us of the evils of the past.
We all have birthdays that we celebrate in the privacy of our homes with close family and friends. Zimbabwe needs to take the high road and resist participating in the birthdays of the political power elite. It is unnecessary and a waste of resources from the fiscus. State-owned enterprises are the biggest culprits, lining up at Zimpapers to place expensive advertising using scarce national resources. This kind of behaviour confirms to the citizenry that while a tyrant was removed, tyranny is still very much with us.
There are lessons to be learnt from our neighbours.
Why can we not copy the good that our neighbours do? Hardly a month in power, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, was quoted in the Citizen newspaper of March 4, 2018 as being “ticked off that R2,5 million has been raised by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to fund the President’s golf event, and believes that this money should come instead from donors in the private sector…” The write, up continued, “Transnet and the Government Employees Medical Scheme chipped in with about R2,5 million for the event. The president has reportedly ordered that the money be paid back…Ramaphosa couldn’t stand to see Transnet’s advertising banners on the way to the golf event… and demanded that they be removed. Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said the president did not believe it was appropriate that SOEs sponsor government-organised fundraising. The money raised from the event goes to deserving charities.” Is it asking too much from our governing party to behave in an exemplary way that prioritises the needy, not themselves? Is it too much to ask the SOEs to stop abusing state funds to curry favour from the political power elite?
l List of foreign currency externalisers a sham
Do not get me started on the list of people and companies that externalised foreign currency. All the Zimbabwean companies listed there with amounts of under $100 000 must be applauded for having the resolve to stay in business. Over the last 20 years, Zimbabwe has de-industrialised to a ghost of its former self. Now here we have a governing party naming and shaming a select few who have businesses providing much-needed employment in addition to providing vital goods and services. The numbers do not add up.
Allegations are rife that Marange Diamonds were looted. By whom? Where did the proceeds go? It is an open secret that many top dogs from the political power elite are implicated in the externalisation of these proceeds. Why were they not on the list? The list was shameful and demonstrated the lack of sincerity on the governing party.
l The plight of doctors is the plight of every Zimbabwean citizen
Our health system is in tatters. Junior doctors are paid home helpers’ salaries in a country where health standards have deteriorated. The political power elite travel overseas for medical treatment while the majority languish and die in Zimbabwe. Where is the empathy and compassion from the governing party? How did we get here?
l Our humanity ought to equalise us in all spheres of life
Those of you who read George Orwell’s allegorical novella Animal Farm first published in England on August 17, 1945 will remember the plot. Essentially, the novella mirrors events that lead to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Wikipedia confirms that, “George Orwell wrote the book during the war as a cautionary fable in order to expose the seriousness of the dangers posed by Stalinism and totalitarian government.”
Animal Farm is a symbolic and metaphorical story that demonstrates that all men do not want to be equal. Some want power at all cost. That power allows them to access wealth and resources which they are unwilling to share. As people refuse to be the same, it makes communism less appealing and therefore a failure. Evil is real and will prevail and those with the power will use it to subjugate the powerless. Most governments throughout the world are corrupt. It is just the different degrees and the levels of sophistication of the corruption. Communism tends to produce tyrants that oppress people. Zimbabwe’s political power elite is hungry for political legitimacy but beyond that, are they willing to make the wealth of abundant Zimbabwe resources benefit the nation or just a select few?
As Zimbabwe gravitates towards a constitutional democracy, there should be no designated super humans who thrive by themselves and their cronies at the expense and backbone of the citizenry. Zimbabweans are yearning for whole-hearted and bona fide change and the time for delivery of that change is now. Regrettably, thus far, what seems to be unravelling on the ground are elements of the plot in Animal Farm.
l Gloria Ndoro-Mkombachoto is an entrepreneur and a regional enterprise development consultant. Her experience spans a period of over 25 years. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org