By Clinton Siniwa
As present day inhabitants of this planet we face many problems. Unusual weather patterns, glacial retreat and rising global temperatures. Experts from governments across the world are collaborating together to find ways to reduce carbon emissions. How to save the Amazon rainforest and replace fossil fuels are common present day problems.
However for Zimbabweans living in present day they have unique problems. The list is literally endless. One could talk about the energy crisis or the medical crisis and yet not do justice to the matter. Zimbabwe is like a country that has travelled backward in time to the primitive dark ages.
By use of the phrase ‘dark ages’ I am referring to the metaphor in the sense of intellectual darkness and also the literal meaning of the phrase. The pervasive energy crisis has led to the country being plunged into darkness everyday at night time.
After suffering everlasting abuse at the hands of ZANU PF; climate change is a matter that Zimbabweans cannot possibly care about. Not because Zimbabweans are insensitive to the implications of global warming but because theirs is a plight more immediate and demanding.
Basic amenities such as potable water, supply of power, fuel and even cash are precious things in Zimbabwe today. Social services that must be accessible to citizens such as public education and healthcare are in shambles.
Recently we learnt from United Nations (UN) experts that the country is facing a serious food security crisis. The irony is that food security is not a complex business at all. In fact, it was established long ago when humans learnt that instead of hunting and gathering, plants could be grown for food.
The world’s earliest record of agriculture predates to 11,000 years ago based on archaeological evidence. Millennia ago humans developed the skills to avert a disaster that faces a present day government. How can a cabinet full of professors and military generals fail at achieving something established by people that lived hundreds of centuries ago?
The Zimbabwe Constitution outlines the responsibility of the government to provide food security. The staggering levels of the incompetence of ZANU PF leaders suggests that their cognitive abilities are below those of the world’s first farmers who lived thousands of years ago.
ZANU PF corruption and incompetence has reduced the country to extreme backwardness. Therefore, I am bold to say that they have drawn the country backwards to primitive ages.
During the apartheid era in the 1970’s no less than 29 silos were constructed for the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at Lion’s Den. These are said to be the second largest silos on the continent. This fact gives credibility to the cliché about Zimbabwe being a former breadbasket state.
The GMB is a state owned enterprise whose ultimate shareholder is every Zimbabwean citizen. Government is the steward of the enterprise and is accountable to the shareholders. It is unfortunate that the GMB has been used as a political pawn and a tool for gross wealth accumulation by corrupt politicians.
An important question to ask in finding solutions to this problem is asking what changed between then and now. How does a country move from being so forward and advanced above its peers in Africa to becoming so backward? The answer is simple: ZANU PF!
The implications of hunger and starvation are significant with regards to the economic and social development of a nation. The burden weighs heavy on women and children. It is women who are left with the task of feeding children as starvation looms. Vulnerable women have resorted to prostitution as a means of livelihood because of the high unemployment rates and poverty.
Media gurus say sex sells but apparently not so much in Zimbabwe. Prostitution is no longer viable as an enterprise because of the currency exchange distortions and the state of the economy. Vulnerable women and children are being sexually exploited easily for less than USD1 just so that they can afford a single meal to feed themselves and their dependents.
What about the effects on children? As a child I remember viewing startling images of starving children from Somalia ravaged by Kwashiorkor. Never at that time did I imagine that such images could possibly be the future of my homeland.
How shall our children suffering from malnutrition compete at global level with their counterparts in Japan who are learning computer coding languages in primary school? This is a nation being plunged further into the primitive ages while the world moves on ahead.
The ‘Honourable’ Minister of Environment and Tourism responded to this matter by stating that Zimbabweans are exaggerating the levels of poverty in the country. His response makes sense because what could a man in his position know about poverty? It is the widows and orphans from Epworth sleeping on empty stomachs who could tell us a thing or two.
Clinton Siniwa is Chartered Certified Accountant. You can follow him on Twitter: @ClintSiniwa