The politics of possession in Zimbabwe

via The politics of possession in Zimbabwe — Nehanda Radio by Vince Musewe

The foundations upon which we must build our future cannot be based on the gratification of our voracity.

I have come to understand who we are as Zimbabweans; we are a society so caught up in material possessions to the extent that what we possess, defines who we are and how important we are perceived to be in society.

Because of this, what we can acquire or take from others and not what we can give has become our sole purpose in life. This demeans who we are.

Our ideals as a society have become so infatuated with power, not to exercise it to the benefit of society, but as a means to an end; a means to merely own, to control, to have, to take, to be feared and therefore, to feel important. In the event that we are unable to do that, we use any means possible as long as we get what we want. Because, if we can’t have it, we perceive ourselves or are perceived by others as “nobodies”.

Unfortunately, this incessant fixation with material gain has permeated all sectors of our society, be it in politics or business or even personal relationships or religion. It is always “What can I get out of this?” and not “How can I add value and be of service to others?”“Who is he or she” they ask? “What does she have?”

The implications to us, are that we may not be able to achieve our full developmental aspirations as a nation and improve the quality of life of ordinary Zimbabweans simply because our priorities are in the wrong place.

How can we do that when our leadership’s primary concern is their stomachs? We have seen this in our agricultural sector, for example, where the ownership and possession of multiple farms is more important than food production. Where our mineral resources are taken and controlled by a cabal whose only concern is the size of cars they drive?

Zimbabweans in general now mimic their political masters and this has resulted not only in the misallocation of scarce resources, but a sheer waste of the country’s resources that could be otherwise deployed to ameliorate our socio economic conditions. Position, power, control has become the opium of the people.

My idea of a new Zimbabwe is based on us first ensuring that we have new leadership values in politics. We must see a completely new narrative about who we are, what is important and who we can become.

This narrative will not arise from the blue, or from chanting party slogans, but can only be as a result of the emergence of that new leadership in Zimbabwe. We need a deliberate social transformation agenda that looks beyond ownership of assets or indigenization as the panacea to all our problems.

That is where I differ; I do not think that our society can develop to its full potential if they possess assets, own that or this without a new value system underpinned by dignity and the realisation that material wealth can never define who we truly are. The foundations upon which we must build our future cannot be based on the gratification of our voracity.

We are more than we can ever imagine and our focus on material things and the gratification of egos demeans our value as a society. When we spend our energy focusing in acquiring, on taking and selfishness, we somehow lose our true humanity. The politics of possession can never take us where we ought to be as a country.

I am much afraid of our politicians and the political deals which I hear are being made. These accomodations are mainly geared to satisfy egos, to satisfy taking, owning, possessing, position and not those things that matter to ordinary Zimbabweans. How wretched we are.

I pray that God continues to release his wisdom upon us so that we, as a country with unimaginable potential, can redefine what is truly important.

Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. You can contact him on



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    Suzie 11 years ago

    Very spot on Vince. This is the public agenda the media and everyone else should be pushing forward

    • comment-avatar 11 years ago

      ‘ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’:JFK

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    Doris 11 years ago

    So right Vince. Zanu PF have bred a new generation of people with the mind set of ” you got it, I want it, I’ll take it.” And then give out the message that because you have it, you are not entitled to it and then they give out a trumped up reason why you are not entitled. So many Zimbabweans have worked so hard to attain their goals. It is truly heartbreaking for them to have all they have worked for, most of their lives, just taken away from them.

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    I agree wholeheartedly! I am seeing selfishness in almost all fabrics of society. Apart from “coveting” the neighbours possessions etc, people drive with their bright lights on, go through red and amber robots, overtake in the face of oncoming traffic …..
    We need servant leaders to lead the nation forward.

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    daniel mhlanga 11 years ago

    Spot on Vince.So Zimbabweans how do we redeem our nation? Politicians are not masters of the people, rather custodians of governance.

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    masvukupete 11 years ago

    I agree with Vince almost entirely. When someone lives in Budiriro, Mabelreign or even Waterfalls they believe their life is not what it should be until they have MADE IT to Borrowdale Brook. If only someone stays in the Grange do they become a somebody. Ane mari ndiye mukuru. However 99% of the people who stay in those areas cannot even give you a tangible product they have made to improve people’s lives. All it is “is we have money.” Ende most of them aided in devaluing people’s pensions and savings and today they sit on top of the world and say we are the successful bunch. It is most interesting how a whole society can be shaped by the politics that is forced upon them. Humbimbindoga bwanyanya munyika medu umu

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    Mabasa 11 years ago

    Dead right Vince; Zanuist greed has become part of our culture unfortunately. Sad to say even the churches are preaching the same money mania. We have even lost our traditional courtesy, people park in the middle of a busy road. No care for others of fear for danger of being knocked by a passing Gonyeti. The most disapointing part is seeing selfishnes and greed being done by NGOs and politicians who are supposed to be caring for the vulnerable. You sum it up well its a result of bad political leadership. Thank you Bob for defening our consiences and devaluing the jewel that Zimbabwe once was.

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    munashe 11 years ago

    Spot on.We need to live righteously and all blessings will follow.

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    Dr Kuraivanavevhu 11 years ago

    Sadly this trend for greedy and avarice was our gift from first lady. She sees, admires, demands and grabs, period. From farms to houses to plots, the list is unlimited. From whites and blacks alike, doesn’t matter, as long as she likes she gets. Ask one justice who had developed his farm. Now its gone. Ask one minister of religion who was going to build his church…that plot is gone. Ask owners of those neighboring houses in the Brooks…..taken for self and relatives. Sad. Keep crying, the beloved country!

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    The so-called young turks entering the political arena are doing so to protect stolen wealth,and the politicised junta the same,they don protect ordinary citizens but those allowing them to steal beyond reach of the law,no wonder why the ever-obidient Orbert could cry in parliament he knows nobody is going to touch for 5yrs now.

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    To this child of missionaries it has been a source of grief to me for 20 years that Christianity, although popular among Zimbabweans is, on a day to day living basis, a pretty thin veneer at best and a stepping stone to exchanging one’s soul for mere fragments of the world. Christ has had almost no transforming impact whatsoever on lives, families, and culture–occasional individuals excepted. Pray for deep spiritual renewal.