By Clinton Siniwa
The crisis in Zimbabwe will only be resolved when Zimbabweans take action to address the roots of corruption and incompetence. As they say, a week is a long time in politics.
It all started with the Big Saturday Read’s (BSR) exclusive expose on the controversial Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme. Dr Gideon Gono then responded. Then the BSR replied to the reply. Then Dr Gono responded again to the reply.
The saga meets the classical definition of corruption. Political elites created a scheme to benefit from public funds and dishonestly devised a gimmick to avoid paying back the dues.
I expected certain persons whose names are on this disgraceful list to show some remorse and intentions to settle their debts. But I was expecting too much.
Who shall demand and enforce the repayments?
A pattern has emerged of how corruption by politically exposed persons is revealed and how people react with shock and dismay. But eventually the public anger dies down and the humour starts. From there it is straight downhill.
As a nation we have let the elites pillage the country while we watch and make jokes about it. Satire is the one gift that is also a curse to the nation. We use humour as a coping mechanism.
Instead of laughing we are supposed to get angry. The kind of anger that leads to action. Sustainable action that will lead to the removal of the current system of government built on corruption, nepotism, and incompetence.
Social media campaigns that do not lead to tangible action will not stop corruption or change Zimbabwe.
The securocrats that are the kingmakers of Zimbabwe do not care much for social media campaigns. A little international embarrassment is but a small price to pay for the unabated plundering of the present and future wealth of a resource rich country like Zimbabwe.
As evidenced by the recent arrest of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, social media campaigns only pose a threat to the extent that they can lead to action by Zimbabweans. Action by citizens is the one thing the system fears more than anything else.
The people of Zimbabwe must be responsible before they can demand accountability from political leaders. As a nation we have reneged on national duty with regards to self-determination.
During the liberation struggle people died fighting in the name of self-determination, they used the Shona word; Kuzvitonga. Surely, hundreds of thousands of people did not die so that a single family can loot the wealth of a whole nation.
Zimbabwe does not belong to politicians but instead to all its citizens. It is sad that some citizens do not comprehend their constitutional duties. Some young people are not registered to vote because they believe that elections are pointless. They do not participate in mass demonstrations because they think they are demonstrating on behalf of political parties.
What they fail to understand is that a democratic and accountable government is requisite for the equal distribution of national wealth and resources to benefit all Zimbabweans.
This can only happen when government is held accountable. Political leaders must be asked questions. They are not demigods but mortal civil servants that are accountable to the electorate.
Some put hope in foreign powers to solve Zimbabwe’s crisis. They send envoys to Washington DC, emails to Geneva and petitions to Westminster.
They do not understand how global politics has been changing over time. The western countries have been gripped by winds of nationalism. Today in the wake of Coronavirus, many governments are focused on mitigating the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.
No one will fix Zimbabwe except ourselves. Other nations will continue watching and only send their thoughts and prayers. What action are we undertaking to solve the Zimbabwe crisis which has protracted endlessly for years?
From the days of the Willowgate scandal in the 1980’s era to the most recent Covid-gate scandal, it is the same story of corruption. There must come a point when we as Zimbabweans become responsible for this problem.
Recently Zimbabwe’s Vice President Kembo Mohadi attributed the blame of the failed economy to the former colonial government. This was a change from the usual rhetoric of blaming it on sanctions or Advocate Chamisa.
The VP being a busy globe-trotter never had the opportunity to read the works of Malcom Gladwell on his many flights out and about for holidays and medical treatments.
Gladwell contends that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed for one to become world class in any field. The ZANU PF oldies most certainly surpass this target by miles. One would expect them to at least start getting things right.
Unfortunately for us, things are not getting anywhere near right. Economic indicators show that Zimbabwe’s economy is the worst performing in the world, only after Venezuela. Our country with gold and diamonds, sits at the bottom 2nd of the world and we still blame men who left 40 years ago.
Some will ask, “What have we done to deserve a government like this?” and I shall reply “Nothing.” And that is exactly why we are here today.
It was Joseph de Maistre who said, every country gets the government it deserves. Perhaps Zimbabweans deserve a ZANU PF government after all.
Clinton Siniwa is a UK based Chartered Certified Accountant. You can engage with him on Twitter @ClintSiniwa