‘Komwiima nyama zifuwa kamutipa’
By Zisunko Ndlovu
Like many of this generation, young or old, who do not see panache in grieving, I have been moulded into believing politics is a dirty game and have cropped a great amount of effort to frantically refute this primitive appellation.
Ironically, the same politics nature or denature life to an extreme end.
Where common voice is suppressed with judiciary power, you are soon reminded of phantoms like some Acts that work on intercepting communication, and even reminded of what during early 1980s was known as dissidents.
I am aware too of how a community gradually gaits into a grave from lack of constructive information provision on issues of development. I have been prompted to use a Tonga proverb as a title for this article for its strength in interpreting the situation some Zimbabwean communities are entangled in.
Despite a good work on highlighting the magnitude of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS prevalence in Binga, I have felt nothing practical is being done to create a society where knowledge is vitalized. I have felt it helps less to glorify the community as a lacking community yet doing nothing to help the situation.
Being from a region where memories of Gukurahundi atrocities evokes pain on the recorded loss, I too have a conscience that is so brittle to destructive remembrance of these gory scenes of fathers and mothers in broken limbs and stuck-in bullet barrels.
I am not a war veteran, I merely proffer imaginations of gratitude, lest I be labeled an inglorious bastard. Yet still, I know I lost kith and kins in the ‘moment of madness’.
Hence, the constant parade of Binga as a development thirsty district serves nothing apart from presenting the community as a popinjay composed community clueless of what an ideal community should be built on.
It is equally unpalatable. And a humanitarian disaster which if not befallen by fate, will only receive posthumous commemorations, in the same degree.
Looking at the manner malaria, Binga, educational illiteracy, drought, infrastructural unavailability have been familied, one wonders then how HIV/AIDS, which has been amongst people for decades now, still lacks meaningful mitigatory support.
If ever there are health facilities that qualify to be named thus, they are empty and undeserving.
On speaking with people from this part of Zimbabwe, one realizes a sense of bitterness which no political promise can quench any longer. From the 1980s, Binga has been known as a rebellious community that had taken Zanu PF doctrines as a set of poorly meted jokes.
This psychological standing has led to the baTonga being tagged ‘brave’ for their uncompromising rejection of the revolutionary Zanu PF convolutions. For this, we have heard of some quarters in Binga neglecting Zanu PF election offerings in 2008 that included grinding mills, high voltage KIPOR generators etc.
Thus, for every vote, Binga had emerged a no-nonsense community that has labeled ballot papers in rightful forms to the jubilation of many societies around the country that have been seeing Zanu PF as a party of non-collectivism after the independence struggle, but a party that dines on the helplessness of the poor.
I got used to all form of greetings and the ‘So you are MDC’,would not astonish. This, I believe, was a trail that created identity on anyone from Binga interestingly due to its alienation from the common culture that gives definition to rural areas as Zanu PF predatory grounds.
But apart from the baTonga people’s electoral correctness, poverty still claims residence in the community. I have seen thence how fallacious it is to bank hopes on political parties for community development. Nothing has changed, we remain a superlative example of suffering and backwardness.
It is argued that great men of purpose outshine limited ambitions of political parties in issues of development. Men who the lust of office does not kill. Who from coffers of constituency development funds, would not steal.
This can be an independent candidate, a candidate from Zanu PF, or perhaps from MDC. Leaning less on the blindfolds of political party chorusing.
In Binga, economic activity is comparatively defunct. The only available social amenities are those which were facilitated by ZAPU’s Andrew Sikajaya Muntanga, who was sent by Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo to preach the gospel of revolution amongst the baTonga people.
A sense which till today is peculiar in the community. However, all this infrastructure is visibly running for a decay and following Muntanga’s passing on. The road network system has remained unattended for decades.
The fish industry seems to be also going into hastened depletion. Processes surrounding the acquisition of fishing permits are said to be dirtying in corruption and graft. Anywhere, the cumbersome and financially straining process does not open doors to poor baTonga people.
Only an elite political web is benefiting hence the fish farming industry has shifted beneficiating to non-locals.
The Zambezi Water Project is another project that has wilted hopes within the baTonga people. Despite the magnitude of the project, which has seen financial pledges of us$1,2billion from the Chinese community to draw water from the Zambezi river through a said 400km pipe.
A pipe that will radically and stubbornly syphon a resource from Binga and leave wide markings of dejection. If it mattered at all, those splattered from the construction of the Kariba dam by the Italians could by now be compensated.
Sadly, as expectations are increasingly whetted, with Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo describing the project as one which can surpass Chiadzwa Diamonds discoveries in Manicaland, fears of extended exclusion , the furtherance of deprivation and the continued documentation of poverty in Binga will not cease to un-scroll.
For even the Chiadzwa people today be-weep their outcast state. Their land has been pounced, resources unearthed, which by any reckon could have led to a wondrous upgrading of the communities around the mine fields.
But alas, that treasured terrain today stand, fortified and bulwarked to prevent intrusion even by the locals, who in so doing can fall victim to the lashes and wrath from the venomous sentry.
Ignoring Simon Sipepa Nkomo’s Zambezi Water Project and its premature gusto, the reality in Binga is a wrinkled face of poverty due to unavailability of water, dry to no taps even in kindergarten schools and hospitals, poor housing, defunct radio-communication system, electricity, un-tarred roads, and pallid conservancies.
I have seen how many of our young people look surprised in their own identity, and how they soon denounce it to shy away from ridicule and shame. I have seen also how no one wishes to be associated with poverty and lack. We all yearn for greatness.
As people resettle themselves in the willows of poverty, banking faith in politics becomes a cheap gamble for redemption that dangles in lower firmaments. The baTonga people in Binga have been known as the ‘forgotten people’, from the evidence of a gross lack of inclusion in national affairs. Is there any hope left for Binga?
My recent sojourn to Binga is only a validational revelation of this consent. It is also an enlightenment on the cravings of the basic person. It opens floodgates of remembrance on the aspirations of citizens in any country. Shelter, food, dignity, peace, education, political tranquility, considerable recognition, reason for voting, employment, equity in resource allocation, and the broad-based observance of human rights.
The plight of the rural people is one. It is a plight that calls for consideration in national planning and agenda setting.
I was not only shocked to realize that even after constitutional outreaches were carried out, constitutional wrangles and debates tabled, there was absolutely no information channeled to rural areas on the causes of the rising flairs. Everything appeared normal, as though everything is ever normal.
To a bitter extent, nothing is known, nothing even the existence of the COPAC draft constitution. Even on the reality of the impending election, only community harrasements, beatings, coercion, unending torture will notify the people that an election is soon approaching.
A notification on the presidency of Armageddon. Will the national cake be ‘state controlled’ this time around, or will it crumble only in the hands of an elite few. Will it have a dilated eye that pity the plights of the poor, not as a precursor to an election, during, but after, for prosterity?
Who owns the revolution? Let there be no lies told from people hiding behind translucent political shades, that time has come to a fade.
This is just as it stands, for a writer only writes and forgets his rights!
Zisunko Ndlovu is a rural development projects monitor and writer from Binga. Send comments to [email protected] or SMS to 0715273650