I intently listened, on television, to Zimbabwe president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa urging parents to inculcate the spirit of patriotism in their children.
Maybe I should have shouted, “Amen”, “Hear, Hear”, or “Ditto” to that statement – but, I opted for typing this article, in order to show our ‘esteemed’ leaders just how much we had already been actively teaching our offspring these valuable principles of patriotism.
We have been hard at work training our children that cardinal tenets of patriotism were the love of one’s country; devotion to the welfare of one’s compatriots; and passion that inspires one to serve one’s country.
We let them know that no particular political party or institution embodies these core values – as such, should never be hoodwinked into believing that supporting any one specific leader or entity could define being a patriot – although, there were definitely those who were clearly anti-Zimbabwe, anti-people, and who were busy destroying their own country…thereby, making the lives of Zimbabweans a living hell.
Those were the unpatriotic people and groups, whom our children should never associate, nor support – but rather, shun and stand up against.
We let our children think for themselves, without necessarily brainwashing and indoctrinating them – as attempting such underhand methods have always backfired, when they became enlightened.
Our children have to deduce why their parents can not afford the best learning for them, or are unable to provide a more comfortable livelihood for the family, or when any member is sick, there is hardly any sufficient medical treatment.
Yet, we are in a country that boasts of amassing billion of dollars in budget surpluses, and earning about three billion dollars from the mining sector – not to mention revenue from agriculture, taxes, and other avenues.
We let them look at how the ruling elite, their families, and all those associated with them – usually through shady and dubious dealings – live in extravagant opulence, building or buying Hollywood-style mansions, acquiring the latest most expensive cars (which even the richest people in the world like Bill Gates do not own), manage to send their children to the best schools and colleges in the world, easily access medical treatment overseas, and even charter private jets to watch soccer matches in the United Kingdom.
Surely, using simple arithmetics, can our children not easily figure out where these billion upon billions of dollars, the country is supposedly earning, is being channelled?
Our children are not fools, by any stretch of the imagination – no wonder I earlier said that it would be folly to try lying or indoctrinating them, as they can deduce these things for themselves.
Their parents are teachers, nurses, doctors, police or military officers, journalists, writers, security guards, or even self-employed – and, they know the shameful paltry salaries that we bring home.
They, then, ask the question – where are all the billions going? What is that budget surplus being used for? Where is the money from our gold, diamonds, and platinum, on top of tobacco, and other agricultural products?
Let us not forget that, these are the same children, if you were to return home in a drunken stupor, and the following day asked you for money to buy a new pen – yet, you tell them same lame excuse that the situation is really tight – would lose all respect for you, and tell you how irresponsible you were.
So, why would they not be discerning enough to see through the lies and deception of those entrusted in leading this country?
Our children, by and large, are truly patriotic – are not easily manipulated – and, can tell who is responsible for the ruination, misery, and suffering being faced by the vast majority of the people of Zimbabwe.
No yarns about ‘economic sanctions’, saboteurs, and all manner of gremlins apparently out to destroy the country, will wash with our brilliant sons and daughters.
As I write this article, I am multi-tasking, and also listening to a very vibrant live debate on SABC News (open to public questions) featuring political party candidates competing in the forthcoming local government elections in South Africa.
I find myself wondering why our own leaders are not prepared for such a platform, if they are so confident in their tales and fantasies of sanctions and other external factors being responsible for the sorry state Zimbabwe finds itself.
Simple – they know that not many Zimbabweans truly buy that tired and worn out story.
Is there any wonder that the government ended up roping in some United Nations special envoy, in a last ditch attempt to convince the country that these alleged ‘economic sanctions’ were real.
Surely, if the government’s claim had been genuine, Zimbabweans (as intelligent and learned as we are internationally renowned for) would have easily figured this out for ourselves – considering that these restrictive measures on a few individuals and entities have been with us, and talked about, for the past twenty years.
Quite frankly, if I fail to convince my wife that I am actually a white man – especially, having stayed together all these years – then, the reason will simply be that, I am not white!
© 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