By Charles Chidavaenzi
A colleague and friend who had given long service to the government of Zimbabwe from as early as 1982 just after independence joined the beeline of people to South Africa during the hyper-inflationary period of 2007 to 2008. Unfortunately, he was involved in a fatal accident on one of his trips back home as he brought provisions for his family.
He left behind a distressed spouse with three innocent children facing an uncertain future. We buried him at his rural home in Mahusekwa. His family moved to secure his pension. Unfortunately , they were informed that the deceased had foregone his pension as he had resigned willfully without due notice to the employer.
Just recently, the wife followed up on his insurance policies, a number of them, drawn out to cushion the family in such eventualities as these.
Yet again, the documents brought no joy to the family. All four of them combined were worthy a paltry ninety eight US dollars ($98) calculated basing on the exchange rate of the Zim dollar during the very crazy inflationary period where a trillion dollars would buy a loaf of bread.
At the peak of inflation, everyone in the country had trillions but lived in abject poverty. Rudo, my friend’s widow, was a distraught woman but she had the resilience to forge ahead after following her late husband’s tracks to South Africa where she worked. She did not baulk under her loss but was able to send her children to school while she assisted members of her family from her endeavors.
She isn’t the only one. A lot of Zimbabweans in foreign lands tried to escape the life of abject poverty and deprivation that the Jewel of Africa had become. This misery was authored by one man and a band of unscrupulous men and women who surrounded him. Collectively, this group of thieving, looting and lying sorry examples of the human race plunged the nation of Zimbabwe into an economic precipice that left the world shocked and the citizens in grinding poverty.
It is with great shock that I learnt then, that the Mnangagwa administration says that Mugabe did nothing wrong but apportion blame to the people who surrounded him. On top of that, the administration plans to give Robert Mugabe a golden handshake as a pension and build another mansion for him. He will also be afforded regular trips to the east for medical attention.
This is preposterous, completely ridiculous! This is the man who has rendered the financial status of our country completely untenable leading to Rudo’s desperate situation including millions of others who contributed religiously to pension schemes that became worthless due to Mugabe’s crassness, financial stupidity and kleptomania.
Insurance policies people took out for their children became toilet paper and millions lost their jobs because of this one man. A lot of pensioners are wallowing in poverty yet Mnangagwa sees it fit to give him millions of dollars plus foreign medical trips on top.
People who made real life pension contribution are suffering and the architect of their pauperism will get a mansion and a golden handshake on top! How ironic! This is against all natural justice and decency. It is completely unethical!
Look, Mugabe is by no means poor. He has awarded himself countless farms that can be a source of a comfortable livelihood for his wife and children. He has built and acquired mansions all over the world with resources salted away from public funds. These are purported thriving businesses local and abroad. His estate is said to be worthy billions of dollars.
As clear testimony of the man’s vast means, he flies to the east for medical treatment while the rest of us have to contend with winding queues and an underpaid, under-equipped nursing staff. Drugs are not readily available to the man in the street. His children party on the most expensive food and wine living in five star pads in lands foreign while ours have a freezit and pack of maputi for lunch before covering twenty kilometers on foot to get home.
His wife buys the most expensive limousines while ours fight over second hand shoes and clothing to look decent. The list of such juxtaposed comparisons is endless and what can only be noted is that the Mugabes are ostentatiously affluent while the rest of the citizens live in abject pauperism. Mugabe took what was supposed to be ours yet the new president wants to reward him for this at the expense of the toiling masses who have to live in sore deprivation.
If we allow the new president to go ahead with this arrangement, then we are doomed as a nation. It would be a clear demonstration that the regime has not changed but merely switched positions in its leadership. What more demonstration of heartlessness, callousness and insensitivity would we need to prove that that the Zanu-pf government does not have the interests of the people at heart but is caught up in the endless web of self enhancement and aggrandizement.
Cry the homeless on the street whose next meal is from the waste bins that grotesquely stand across the street yet the Mugabes can continue milking the exhausted and impoverished taxpayer laughing all the way to the bank.
The political elite have set their parameters for their comfort zones. We will continue to work towards their absolute luxury while we toil under their burdensome weight groveling in the dirt of our existence. They are more equal than us as they have to think of how to make us suffer the more. The Matapi hostels will continue to disintegrate but no one cares. After all he leadership resides in Borrowdale Brooke so the worthless masses can stomach their own waste, it does not matter.
Let me say this ! It matters because that is your responsibility, Mr President. Our lives are completely miserable because of people like you who advised Mugabe to focus on your own livelihoods at the expense of the majority. If Mugabe sells one of his mansions locally, he can raise enough money to rehabilitate all the hostels in Matapi into decent and habitable accommodation. But you don’t care Mr President, you would rather take coal to Hwange and leave the have nots fend for themselves in the true fashion of Zimbabwe’s liberation war ideals. After all you died for this country!
How much more injustices are we going to stomach from this regime? Will we remain silent in the face of such gross inhumanity and callous governance? I can only weep for the, once, Jewel of Africa left in the wallow of hogs!