The debate over the real cause of the seemingly unending untold suffering and unimaginable poverty that ordinary Zimbabweans have painfully (but, most worryingly with the patience of the pope) endured for the past three decades, does not appear to be ending any time soon.
This has been exacerbated by the recent dual events witnessed last month, with the 25 October so-called SADC Anti-Sanctions Day (which no one else in the southern African region is apparently aware of, except their leaders, who seem to be reminded at the last minute to issue some half-hearted statements).
Secondly, there was the visit by the UN (United Nations) Special Rapporteur on the impact of sanctions, Alena Douhan (whose verdict highlighted the supposed ‘unintended consequences’ of these restrictive measures).
Indeed, during this period, there is always the expected rhetoric surrounding ‘economic sanctions imposed by the West’ – rhetoric that the same UN Special Rapporteur implored to end – largely seen in the political space, extending into social media, and mainly driven by the ruling ZANU PF party.
What I find particularly interesting, though, is that – beyond all the loud noise and rhetoric, fierce arguments and counter-arguments, in the midst of toxic political polarization – there is hardly anyone blaming sanctions for our unbearable suffering and impoverishment.
Let us tell each other the truth.
None of us here in Zimbabwe lives in perfect isolation.
We meet, mix, and mingle in bank queues, on public transport, in supermarkets, at the marketplace and even at familial gatherings – and, as usual, the topical subject of discussion (including amongst complete strangers, which serves as a convenient ice-breaker) is always the economic meltdown the country has been experiencing for nearly thirty years, but worsening in the past two decades – leaving the vast majority of the population living in what the UN described as ‘extreme poverty’.
Yet, in all these discussions, has any of us ever come across anyone blaming so-called ‘economic sanctions’ for their financial pain and anguish?
We have all discussed this issue nearly on a daily basis – with family, friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers – but, personally, never have I heard anyone utter the words ‘sanctions’.
…unless if it was someone making fun of our leaders.
Nonetheless, the government has borne most of the blame.
Rampant corruption – especially, at the very highest offices, and lofty corridors of power – has been singled out, with some even mentioning names of powerful leaders, and their politically-connected questionable allies.
There are those who have even doubted the sincerity of the Chapter 13 ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) in rooting out graft at the highest echelons of power – citing the commission’s apparent fear of the ruling elite.
As a matter of fact, if ZACC genuinely wanted information on the shameless extent of the rot in this country, their officials would get out of the comfort of their offices, and simply stand in any queue they found in the CDB (central business district).
They would be shocked at just how much ordinary Zimbabweans fully comprehended from where their indescribable misery emanated.
Which explains why one would hardly encounter anyone blaming supposed ‘economic sanctions’ for their inability it make ends meet.
Maybe, from today, the ruling party may think of planting people in bank and supermarket queues, marketplaces, as well as ZUPCO buses – in order to throw in the sanctions narrative – otherwise, no ordinary Zimbabwean, outside of political rhetoric and grandstanding, genuinely believes this yarn.
Let us also not forget that, most of the people we meet at these places are from varied political persuasions – but, they know the truth, and speak the truth, when the truth matters…since they are suffering just like everyone else.
…some may even have participated in those choreographed anti-sanctions marches on 25 October – possibly, out of sheer fear, or political obligation to their party – but, they surely know the truth.
Every ordinary Zimbabweans is now sick and tired of having to struggle for survival each and every day – and, political banter, grandstanding, and rhetoric can not be tolerated any more.
We want real solutions to our country’s economic challenges, and the sooner this is accomplished, the better for everyone.
© 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