via The struggle continues | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe 08.01.14
There is no doubt that ordinary Zimbabweans are in survival mode with no respite expected. They are tired of Zanu (PF) leadership. They are also disappointed by MDC-T and think that they haven’t done enough to help our plight, while living comfortably themselves. Whether this is true or not – that is the perception on the ground.
The quality of life of ordinary Zimbabweans has deteriorated significantly over the last year and most are worse off than during colonial times. Although offensive, that is a truth we cannot escape.
Those lucky enough to have a job are despondent and spent the holidays queuing to try and access their cash. Those employed by black-owned companies are suffering the most. There is this terrible cultural habit where the black boss does not pay workers first, but goes on holiday and looks after himself first. I say it is a cultural problem because I am still to find whites who do the same; the black man’s poverty mentality perhaps?
The situation in our state enterprises is morally disgusting. Where is the ZCTU on this issue? State enterprises are a cesspit of greed, incompetence and unfair labour practices. In other countries, we would have seen strikes until the issue of salary disparities was addressed. But in Zimbabwe it is difficult to get collective action – everyone is scared to lose their miserable underpaying job so everyone suffers in silence.
Harare is really disgusting and people are just used to it. Rubbish is uncollected and with the rains now with us, it’s a sorry sight: potholes and mud all over the roads in the townships. Go to Mbare and see for yourself. As a President I would not be proud of “my Zimbabwe” at all!
Public transport is chaotic and dangerous, it’s a disaster in the making. Kombis are not safe at all and you see people packed like sardines; the speed at which they travel is scary and the police are only interested is extorting their daily fee; no safety regulations are ever imposed. With wet roads I pity my brothers and sisters who have no choice but to use these flying coffins.
The water issue is now better in some places but it is still not safe to drink. A huge number of residents just drink it as is. Most people in the townships are not well at all, they are sickly from life conditions and stress. Yet some continue to have big families. Many young girls can be seen carrying babies; it pains me that they will remain in that poverty cycle for life. Poverty leads to poor life choices; there is no doubt about that.
I saw long paraffin queues. I also saw young men carrying logs of recently cut trees to use for firewood. Many people have a piece of land somewhere and are growing maize. These days there is no difference whether you are in town or kumusha. Life in town has become a daily hassle.
When Chinamasa states that there is now a new economy in Zimbabwe, it is the truth – but nothing to boast about. It is a subsistence economy that has emerged by accident. Zanu (PF) has successfully destroyed the formal economy as they did with agriculture. We now have an economy of small holder farmers, small scale miners, small traders and small houses that are all on a survival mentality; they are not creating wealth Mr Minister!
My message to all ordinary Zanu (PF) members is that your party has failed to deliver and this is obvious to all of us. You can say this and that about imperialism or about how you fought in the struggle, but the fact remains that this country is worse off since your party has been in charge.
As for our President, I am really ashamed to be Zimbabwean right now. The people are suffering despite the picture your intelligence services may fabricate for you. They are angry that you really don’t care. The stories of greed and corruption coming from mining and other state enterprises have made most even angrier.
Despite the state resources availed to you so that you are well looked after, there is no reason why corruption and greed should carry on without you fighting it seriously. That is surely your responsibility as a President? That is what I would do.
The people come first! - Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org