Imagine your spouse and children having to flee from home, due to your abusive, cruel, and irresponsible behavior – which had resulted in their untold hunger and unspeakable suffering – thereafter, seeking refuge in your neighbor’s house, where they can, at least, get some food and peace.
How would you feel?
Would you walk around the neighborhood with any dignity still intact? How would you even look your neighbors in the eyes, especially the one where your family ran away to?
Would you even have the courage to look yourself in the mirror – considering how much of an unmitigated failure and laughing stock you had become, not only in the eyes of your community, but also your own family?
That is exactly what went through my mind this morning.
I switched on the television to watch SABC News (I have since lost any appetite for our own repulsive and mediocre ZBC), only to be met by political party campaigns for the forthcoming local government elections – whereby, some of the candidates were promising to deal with ‘illegal’ (undocumented) immigrants (most likely, Zimbabweans) whom they accused of fomenting problems in South Africa.
A few minutes after enduring this most embarrassing news clip, I was reading another report in which, Zimbabweans in South Africa were in disagreement over the best way to approach their host country’s government, in order to push for an extension of their permits to continue residing and working there.
This comes as their current special permits, issued in 2017, are about to expire at the end of this year (2021) – that were first issued in 2010, renewed in 2014, and subsequently 2017.
There are an estimated 250,000 Zimbabweans staying in the southern African country on these permits, whilst about two million are suspected to be residing illegally.
I have communicated with hundreds of Zimbabweans in South Africa – who usually get in touch with me, in response to my writings – and, they have one thing in common.
They all want to come back home – as “home is best”, which is a common phrase amongst them – yet, can not do so, considering the persistent economic meltdown being experienced in Zimbabwe for the past twenty or so years, coupled with incessant brutal human rights abuses and oppression…all orchestrated by the ruling establishment.
Zimbabweans in South Africa, or anywhere else around the world, miss their families back home, and would love to be working and making their living in the relative comfort and freedom of their own country.
However, they are unable to do so, under conditions of unparalleled hunger and suffering – largely as a result of an incompetent, corrupt, and oppressive government that has utterly failed in its mandate.
Even some of us who have chosen to continue staying in our home country – each hour is a constant painful and unbearable struggle, just to make ends meet, such that, the temptation to flee, and cross the border, is always present.
The question I always ask myself is, “Are those in power in Zimbabwe proud of themselves? Do they honestly feel that they are worthy of being called ‘leaders’? Do they actually think they deserve our respect?”
Respect is earned – and, what manner of leaders do not see anything wrong in causing so much anguish and impoverishment amongst the citizenry?
In spite of all their ill-gotten wealth and power (amassed through unforgivable looting and fraud), are they even able to sleep at night, or do they sleep with one eye always open – fearing the furious wrath of the people whose livelihoods they have sadistically destroyed?
No wonder they have banned all demonstrations, and violently crush any attempts for free expression on the streets.
Are they not ashamed watching Zimbabwean citizens begging to be allowed to stay in foreign lands – traumatized by the very thought of coming back home?
There is absolutely nothing for Zimbabwe’s ruling elite to be proud of, as they have failed, and failed big time.
Failed the nation, failed those who fought for this country, and even failed their own children who should have been proud of their parents for leading this country into prosperity.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com