A week or so ago, I kindly asked, in all sincerity, both the ministry of information’s permanent secretary, Nick Ndavanin’i Mangwana, and the deputy chief secretary in the office of the president and cabinet, George Charamba, one pertinent question.
I put it to them that, since, whenever opposition and social justice activists criticize the ruling elite for anything, the usual response has always been that we were puppets plundering to Western illegal regime change agendas – appearing to suggest that, our concerns were utterly unjustified and baseless.
My question, therefore was, if what we have been condemning those in power for, was nonsensical and fictitious – and, purely driven by a foreign nefarious objective – what, then, has the government done wrong over the past years, which, should they be rebuked, can acknowledge as justified?
Of course, I am yet to receive any response. To say I am surprised, would be the biggest lies of all time.
Why was I not particularly taken aback by the silence?
Well, quite frankly, all Zimbabweans by now know that this regime in charge of Zimbabwe has been an unrepentant failure, of unmitigated proportions – yet, has never been brave enough to admit this.
Any exposure of their rampant plundering (reaching shocking levels), mismanagement and incompetence that has virtually pushed the nation into hell, and brazenly callous brutality and atrocities against any voices of dissent, has always solicited denial after denial, and counter-accusation after counter-accusation.
Never, not even once, have those in power ever acknowledged any wrongdoing of any kind – regardless of how clear the fault.
In fact, in spite of pronouncements to the effect that, the emotive issue of the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide could be discussed freely – with, some half-hearted and flimsy charades of “resolving” the massacring of over 20,000 innocent civilians by the military – those at the helm of these atrocities, who are still leading in government, have never admitted their roles…let alone, apologized, and sought to provide restitution.
Similarly, irrespective of one economic blueprint’s ignominious failure, followed by another, never had the government acknowledged messing up – ever since the 1980’s “Five Year Development Plans”, the 1990’s “Economic Structural Adjustment Program” (ESAP), “Zimbabwe Program for Economic and Social Transformation” (ZimPREST) of 1996 – 2000, the “Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation” (ZimASSET) of 2013 – 2018, and countless other programs, with a whole host of names that I have even lost track of.
The only “transformation” these programs brought into the country was transforming an already struggling people into downright paupers.
As a matter of fact, the latest, Transitional Stabilization Program (STP), was a resounding flop – which only managed to erode everyone’s earnings, and wipe out our savings, as a result of the wild depreciation of the reintroduced local pseudo-currency – yet, met with the same characteristic “burying of head in the sand” by the ruling establishment…and, blaming business people of sabotaging the economic.
Furthermore, even when credible reports are published exposing high-level corruption, possibly involving the siphoning of billions of dollars – those in power can only blame “detractors” for peddling lies “meant to tarnish the image of the country” – without so much as an investigation.
What happened to the US$15 billion that vanished from diamond sales? Or, the other billions lost to shady agricultural assistance funds, and mechanization schemes? Or, more millions said to be funding youths and women? Or, money targeted at empowerment projects for war veterans? Or,… unfortunately, I could write another two pages just listing these fraudulent activities.
Which brings up another matter – what exactly do those in the corridors of power mean when they accuse those who expose their unforgivable corruption and failures, as well as cruel brutality against innocent citizens, as “tarnishing the image of the country”, or “denigrating the country”?
Since when has the ruling elite become Zimbabwe?
I have been speaking out, and standing up, against the regime’s atrocious repression of the masses, and their mismanagement and incompetence – but, I have never called Zimbabwe an ugly evil place…as that would clearly be “denigrating the country”.
Are those at the helm of this great and wonderful country, seriously telling us that they are incapable of differentiating between the land between the mighty Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, and those guys who sit around ZANU PF headquarters, or Munhumutapa Buildings?
I would have thought they were educated enough – what with all those PhDs and professors – to make a clear distinction between country, government, and ruling party.
Personally, I have never come across any Zimbabwean citizen who does not love his or her country, and is proud to be part of its heritage – but, I have certainly encountered my fair share of those who are thoroughly fed up, and seriously enraged, by those who have driven this same country over the cliff edge.
© 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: firstname.lastname@example.org