I always say, it never rains but pours for Zimbabwe’s urban dwellers – as each day appears determined to make our lives even more hellish than the previous one.
As a matter of fact, my recent visit to my mother’s Rusape rural home laid bare just how life in our towns and cities had deteriorated – such that, our rural folk were comparatively developing, whilst we were retrogressing at an alarming rate.
Only a few decades ago, a visit to the rural areas – whether for school holidays with grandma, or to attend an uncle’s funeral – was a most traumatic experience, with the mere thought of answering nature’s call a nightmare on its own, as one had to go into the bush, find a convenient tree or rock to squat behind, relieve oneself, then complete the entire revolting process by using leaves as toilet paper.
Yet today, there are wonderfully constructed pit latrines, complete with a toilet seat for comfortable sitting, and guaranteed privacy for one to do his “business” without fear of intrusion.
Whereas for water – the days of seemingly endless cumbersome trips to the nearest waterhole (tsime), whilst laden with heavy buckets, are long gone – since nearly every homestead now possesses a borehole of some sort.
This is not to mention solar energy guaranteeing a relatively reliable clean energy source for all the basic necessities – such as, charging mobile phones, lighting, and in some instances, cooking – a far cry from the tearful smoke-filled times of fire cooking and paraffin lamps.
How times have definitely changed.
However, on the other side, life in urban areas has disturbingly morphed from using those most convenient flushable toilets, to having to physically pour water into the cisterns – water that would have been ferried over long distances from the nearest community borehole, or begged from a generous neighbor.
In some towns and cities younger generations have never seen water actually coming out of their taps – and, possibly may not even have a clue as to the function of those silver or copper pipy thingamajigs in their homes – since they have never seen them serve any real purpose for as long as they can remember!
In fact, urban children have become the masters of fire cooking, and wood chopping – even leaving their rural counterparts green with envy – what with electricity supplies becoming more and more scarce than the pangolin.
As I am writing this article, we do not have any electricity in our small town of Redcliff – a feature that has become a regular, as a week hardly passes by without at least two seriously inconveniencing power outages.
At one point, I was tempted to promise a huge celebration should we have uninterrupted electricity supplies in Redcliff for seven consecutive days – but then, not particularly being a party person, maybe I have to come up with something else.
In the midst of these maddening power outages, it was such a shock learning that the country’s president, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, had given an ultimatum to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) – through its parent energy ministry – to ensure that measures were put in place to completely eradicate load shedding and power cuts in the next two to three years.
So, what this effectively means is that, there is no hope of these power challenges disappearing anytime soon – as the government clearly has no plan, and has been sitting on its laurels for a good forty-one years, ever since the country attained independence in 1980.
What has the ZANU PF regime been doing all this while – such that, forty-one years down the line, they still need another two to three years to get their house in order?
Surely, if they could not fix this issue within forty-one years – through the implementation of pro-active progressive actions and measures to deal with an obviously exponentially growing population (especially, due to the removal of racial segregatory policies, and an increase in rural-urban migration) – what makes them think they can succeed, even when given another forty-one years?
Why have they not been maintaining the existing power generation infrastructure – at the very least – or, better still, constantly upgrading it to meet both the ever-growing population, and fast-paced technological advancements?
One merely needs to take a trip through such cities as Bulawayo, Harare, and others to notice those imposing towers, which used to be the heartbeat of those areas’ power generation – yet, have been reduced to mere useless landmarks.
This country should have been exporting large quantities of electricity to neighboring countries – had we had a truly visionary leadership – however, we have been turned (as with everything else in Zimbabwe) into a laughing stock of not only the region, but the globe at large.
I wonder if we even still make our own lighting safety matches!
As I use up the little remaining battery life in my electronic writing device – and, soon all my business grinding to a standstill, due to lack of electricity – all I can do is pray for Jehovah God to rescue us from the horrifying clutches and shackles we have been cruelly subjected to by this soulless leadership we have in Zimbabwe.
We are sick and tired of all this suffering – as if these so-called leaders actually hold secret meetings, just to sadistically scheme how to make our lives miserable, in order to derive some depraved pleasure.
Surely, how else can anyone logically explain the seemingly unending challenges we have to face each and every day – most (if not all) of which, are things that people in most normal countries take for granted, and hardly ever have to worry, or even think, about?
This has to end…that is my daily prayer!
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com