By Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
Six years it has been since last l spoke of the children of hope, of how the birth of a child must mean hope that the future is guaranteed. A lot and yet very little has changed, and not much that Mangudya, Mthuli and Obadiah Moyo have done has been worthy of praise. Yet I still refuse to give up the hope that life will one day be better in our motherland.
I refuse to accept that this generation’s mistakes will taint our country forever. I cling to the hope that an oasis of hope is only the next crest of the dune away, because a child will be born in Zimbabwe today.
A road intersection is manned by a street child, bravely standing in the middle of dangerous drivers and their unlicensed accomplices, directing traffic for no other reason than the forlorn hope that one driver might stop and toss a coin. Or a half eaten maize cob, anything to fight the hunger that drives one from home under a bridge to this very spot.
Standing but feet away, two policemen in deep conversation, doing nothing all day, just waiting in case a motorcade might pass by, for then they will be needed. Directing traffic stopped being their job when their powers to extort bribes fled to Malawi with Chihuri.
One should despair, but hope springs eternal, as children are born and the country renews itself. And indeed somewhere, a child will be born in Zimbabwe today.
A political party will be refused permission to hold an inconsequential meeting today, the person so refusing believing that they are serving the ‘system’, yet completely unaware that ‘the system’ thrives best only as the prophet Amos pleaded: when ‘justices rolls on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.’
I should despair and be repulsed by this crass injustice but I refuse to give in to their politics of ignorance. I should lose hope as many have but I do not: for somewhere in Zimbabwe a child will also born today, and that is where I will invest my hopes for the future.
For life springs eternal, and hope abides forever when children are born to retake the land and chart a new destiny for themselves. One they can hopefully fashion with the blunt tools that we will bequeath to them.
An engineer trained in Zimbabwe but living abroad will attend a conference in Zimbabwe and lose their passport today: in some countries this should just mean a day trip to the passport office to get a replacement. Not in our motherland. Instead, she will pay a USD400.00 bribe to someone working in the passport office, who will tell her to go submit her application in Bindura, and pay ZWL$53.00 to the government for the same document, and then to come back in three days to pay another ZWL$200.00 ‘top up’, and get her passport in 7 days.
I know I should lose hope, as Zimbabwe thirsts for her talent and the USD400.00 which will never find its way to the fiscus but which she would have gladly paid to the government for a passport, but a child will be born somewhere in Zimbabwe today, and hope abides yet again.
They will not arrest those using mabhemba to terrorize their fellow strugglers, but instead sing platitudes about zero tolerance while allowing a social evil to fester. Vested interests will protect the barons of the gold industry, to fuel a black market that siphons more gold out of Zimbabwe than was the case at the height of the Munhumutapa-Portuguese gold trade.
They will instead arrest some fringe MDC Alliance members for treason, and indict them for trial, well knowing that there will never be a conviction, for no crime is ever committed by a Zimbabwean when they speak their mind to express their political opinions. (If l can say #EDPFEE2023, why can’t my neighbour who likes Chamisa say ‘ED out of office tomorrow?’ when it’s only their opinion?)
For good measure, a fading ‘high profile’ person will be charged with corruption, with no hope that their trial will ever see a verdict, feeding a catch and release craze that has made the office of the Prosecutor General a running joke.
I know I should weep tears of sorrow and cry in lamentation at the loss of our freedoms and the ravages of corruption and incompetence but I do not: for a child will be born somewhere in Zimbabwe today, and hope springs eternal once more.
Professionals will lose hours of productive work while waiting in fuel queues today, a product not of the commodity being scarce (we have more than 130 000 000 cubic liters of the stuff at Msasa at any given time) but of the power of fuel barons who have sorted the industry into a cartel.
Elsewhere, a graduate from Lupane University holding a first class degree in Development Studies will begin work in Victoria Falls selling ice cream at Creamy Inn. In Harare, an Animal Sciences graduate from MSU will begin to think about starting a gango business, because that is what everyone seems to be doing.
I should despair at this obvious end of hope, and lament the theft of lifetimes and the condemnation of whole generations into scroungers and beggars but yet I do not: for somewhere in Zimbabwe a child will be born today.
The rain falls to bring the hope that there might not be a drought this year (but who knows), the leaves grow and trees spring to life, and a country is renewed by the birth of a new generation, endowed with the knowledge, borne out of experience, of how not to mess up a country.
A child will be born in Zimbabwe today, and while I accept that this generation will try and leave this mess for her generation to muck up, I refuse to believe that this mess will be her only inheritance. I choose to hope that her generation will find the senses that we seem to have lost, and recover our humanity from where it has been sent, and create a better Zimbabwe for themselves.
The Zimbabwe that our generation has clearly failed to make a reality in our time.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a qualified lawyer and social worker, living in Harare where he practices as an Advocate. He is a member of the ruling ZanuPF. Follow him on @TinoChinyoka