By Patrick Zhuwao
Dear Moms, Comrade SG. Since the November 2017 coup I have not been able to visit you and bring you flowers. So today as we commemorate nine years since your passing on, I am writing this letter to you instead.
I am sorry to tell you that Zimbabweans who were the victims of “kuiitiswa” (being played) during the coup, are experiencing unprecedented levels of suffering and poverty. With violent crime spiralling out of control, there is real danger that the contagion of Zimbabwe’s economic and political meltdown will cause massive destabilisation within SADC.
As one of the political players who sought to manage ZANU PF’s leadership transition prior to the coup, I know that some actions that occurred should not have been allowed to occur, and that some of the things that should have been done were not done.
It is so unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation where several of our fellow comrades from ZANU PF are in exile and compatriots that are in the diaspora are fast losing hope of returning to Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, dishonesty in tackling and articulating issues has become the norm with knavery prevailing in policy prescriptions to such an extent that hunger, disease and poverty are now endemic. The knaves in control of the country have collapsed infrastructure with electricity available only at the dead of night, everything in short supply, and unemployment rampant.
These knaves have brazenly stolen from the nation and all Zimbabweans under the guise of the infamous Command Agriculture Programme. It is shocking that of the US$3 billion that cannot be accounted for under the Command Agriculture, US$1.7 billion was taken within twenty days of the coup. These knaves have reversed the gains of the land reform programme and destroyed the agricultural sector with tobacco seed sales declining to 54% meaning that foreign currency inflows from tobacco will be severely curtailed next year.
Civil servants who worked loyally for government are being dismissed without due process. Those that have remained at work are extremely demoralised, can barely afford to look after their families, let alone come to work. Most civil servants have resorted to turning up for work only twice a week. Service delivery has ground to a halt with birth certificates and passports not being accessible.
This crisis which encompasses and transcends political, social and economic dimensions requires the attention and energy of all Zimbabweans irrespective of political persuasion and affiliation. It is critical that Zimbabweans work together to reconstruct and rebuild our country.
We need to harness energy from all of our people to work towards saving Zimbabwe as we get our farmers to produce, resuscitate industry, reopen our mines, rescue the judiciary, restore the rule of law, and engage the international community.
As part of my contribution, I am embarking on this third series of articles, Zhuwao Transformation Brief (ZTB), which seeks to contribute towards resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe. ZTB will discuss individual-centred approaches that focus on how to effect real and practical national transformations within the context of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political realities.
The ZTB is built on two pillars the first of which unpacks how we were all played (kuitiswa) to extents that ordinarily sober minded people contributed to and were persuaded to endorse the November 2017 coup. The second pillar focusses on how to take the lessons of “kuitiswa” to effect real transformations to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
The transformation theme draws heavily on lessons from 2014 from which time most Zimbabweans and the world were subjected to massive manipulation by a small group of kleptomaniacs.
The ZTB will interrogate how to build personal resilience and strengthen individual livelihood options in ways that have impact at national levels. It is time to take charge of our personal and national destinies to free ourselves from the shackles of those who wrongly think they have control and authority over us.
It must be recognised that there are certain enabling aspects that are important facilitators for personal transformation and development. By way of an example, two thirds of our people who are farmers need to be enabled and facilitated to produce. Such facilitation requires that our farmers be accorded with title deeds in order to unlock the inherent value that exists in the land.
#AsanteSana. #IweNeniTineBasa. Umsebenzi lo Umkhulu.
Patrick Zhuwao is an exiled former cabinet minister who served under the government led by former President Robert Mugabe