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Elijah Mangwengwende: Hard to understand what we really want as Zimbabweans

By Elijah Mangwengwende

It is a well-known public secret that our country has been hard done by bad policies engineered by the ZANU PF led government since 1980. The ZANU PF government did nothing to create wealth for the nation but only managed to squander what the colonialists left for us at independence.

Elijah Mangwengwende
Elijah Mangwengwende

It is also a fact that, corruption, incompetence, nepotism, mismanagement and looting of public resources are the reason why the economy is comatose. The question is, do we really need to spend the next five years debating that the country is dysfunctional?

Doing so will be a clear negation of our duty as citizens to revive the country we all love. 

Another school of thought dictates that the other real problem is that ZANU PF as a party does not believe in multi-party democracy and people are just too cowardly to confront that issue directly but that’s the reality.

The events of 17 November 2017 must be enough evidence that ZANU PF and the army are one organisation, for the military to intervene in internal party politics was a clear violation of the constitution, ignoring the fact that we are under one party state system will be foolish and immature on the part of other political players as it is clear that the parliament is useless and all critical decisions for Zimbabwe are made by the ZANU PF politburo.

From that sober reality we should then make hard decisions on how we can restore the former glory of our motherland. It is painful for many to imagine that ZANU PF is still part of the solution as they are refusing to relinquish power and on the other hand the opposition is running out of options.

We should ask ourselves some hard questions and reflect on whether it is something in our nature as Zimbabweans that we abort and sacrifice normative ideals and principles just because our immediate families are well fed to the extent that we don’t care much about broader welfare of the whole country?

Where is the love for our beautiful nation? If we do love our nation, can we entrust it with the same people who destroyed it? Do those responsible for our misery become our Messiahs when they reward our individual selves with crumbs to repair the very shoes that their system damaged? Do we really have alternatives besides waiting for 2023 elections?

Having reflected deeply I believe the love for our nation calls for crucial reflections amongst ourselves as a people on what we see as our vision for tomorrow and ultimately our legacy and gift to future generations, something which made me believe that we are stuck with ZANU PF and we can only wish for what is best for the country not for politicians.

This is the time we must focus on bread and butter issues, stable electric power for the irrigation project at Murambinda growth point, jobs for the grandson who recently completed his degree at Midlands State University.

We should ask ourselves why citizens are still dying from the AIDS pandemic when it’s no longer a killer disease. Why our mothers are being filmed grinding quarry with bare hands and paid 3 dollars per day?

Why are we spending days in fuel queues, why school children are collapsing from hunger during lessons, why university students are resorting to prostitution to fund their studies instead of getting government grants. So many issues to reflect upon.

Another hard reality is that our politicians from both sides are not suffering. They are living pretty. Their children are going to private schools, they go outside the country for medication, they go on holidays, they eat three course meals, they are buying each other top of the range vehicles and many other goodies.

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers most and that’s exactly what is happening in our country, the masses are suffering while the politicians are showing no interest to resolve the circus they created.

The time is now to find solutions to help the suffering masses but because we are having competing forces with different interests.

The corrupt, the black-market pioneers, those who are benefitting from the suffering of other citizens, those competing for power etc it is inconceivable to contemplate how a solution can be found in a polarised society where everyone is pulling in different directions.

Confusion is reigning supreme hence my question on “What do we really want as Zimbabweans”. From the look of things, we all want good standard of living yet we seem not to understand that we need to start from somewhere if we really want to improve our standards of living.

We complain that the economy is bad, yet we don’t want to embrace economic solutions being implemented by the Finance Minister to normalise and improve the economy.

The Finance Minister is simply saying let’s kill the black market the very disease  which has been causing price distortions for a long time yet people are saying No.

He is simply saying let’s have our own currency so that landlords won’t be charging in US dollars while workers are being paid in RTGS, surprising people are saying No.

He is saying local currency may help to improve production and make our goods competitive outside the country to generate more forex so that we afford to import electricity, fuel, medicines etc and people are saying No.

So, does it mean the citizens want to remain in a stalemate forever and keep on crying? Hard to understand and bit confusing on how people cry but when a solution is dangled, we oppose everything. Maybe we are waiting for God to come down and work for us.

At this juncture every Zimbabwean must wish for the recovery of our economy and focus less on politics as we are obligated to defend and create a future for our successive generations and upholding the very core liberation ideals that spoke to popular participation in political and economic life where purpose of unity anchors our prosperity as we move forward.

Elijah Mangwengwende is an avid opposition MDC activist and open democracy proponent.

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