via Zimbabwe – from Animal Farm to Chicken Farm April 2, 2014 by Moses Chamboko
Some of us were first introduced to George Orwell’s Animal Farm as junior students when most English teachers then thought if you didn’t read the book, then you had not read anything yet.
“War is war. The only good human being is a dead one.” As well as “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” were quotes that any student of our time, even the dullest one, could easily repeat any time without much effort. Nevertheless, not many of us really appreciated the practical significance of this fairy tale to our own political situation. We were blindly obsessed with independence euphoria and also too young to understand what was going on.
Reading the book again, many years later, it sounded like a script from the Zimbabwean story. Unfortunately, we still have people who just can’t see how ZANU PF literally turned our beautiful Zimbabwe into a typical Animal Farm. To them, it is simply sanctions, not ineptitude and corruption.
For years, they made several promises which they never kept. Instead, they and their cronies got richer by the day. They stole from us and built mansions far from the people. As we speak, there are families in Mbizo, Rimuka, Rudhaka, Mucheke, Makokoba, Dangamvura, Tshovani, Mutapa, Mbare, St Mary’s and other old suburbs who never know what it means to own a flush toilet, literally. Yet, when it’s time for political contest and campaigns, these are some of the first stops that opportunistic vultures masquerading as politicians or national leaders decent upon for the all important votes.
When they embarked on the so-called land reform program, best pieces of land were dished out to “chefs”, their cronies and families. The rest of the ordinary people were dumped onto areas that were previously preserved for game due to cropping unsuitability. Initially, unsuspecting beneficiaries viewed this as manna from heaven because there was plenty of free meat available. Between Zaka and Chiredzi as well as Ngundu and Triangle, one had to drive extremely carefully in the olden days especially at night because of the likelihood of driving into herds of game. Today, most kids in that area would only hear about ngongoni, mhara or nhoro without having an idea what those animals look like. The ZANU PF-created farmers, after hunting down and snaring all the animals, they started cutting down trees indiscriminately and selling firewood on roadsides. A few years later, they are now faced with the reality of barren land; no trees, no animals, no crops but hunger yet the most incompetent Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made, continues to deny this fact.
Some rose from very ordinary primary school teachers to becoming formidable land barons overnight. All they needed to do was to sing praises for the dear leader. Unfortunately, this gravy train mentality was quickly mimicked by some of our own colleagues. A ceremonial Deputy Prime Minister acquires Hollywood-type furniture worth USD90,000.00 on government account, his colleagues have exotic irrigation systems installed for them by Nikuv, others demand luxurious vehicles to prove they are ministers, the list is endless. For bluntly saying “Mugabe must go” Dzikamai Mavhaire was not fired from ZANU PF nor physically harmed. His shirt was not torn. On the other end of the spectrum, talk of leadership renewal has been criminalised, literally. Evidently, something has gone terribly wrong on our farm! Old Major has lost his marbles; we need Snowball and Napoleon to lead us into the future.
Moving to Chicken Farm, we recently saw President Mugabe on a tour of Gono’s Donnington Farm in Norton. While it’s commendable to parade successful indigenous farmers, it is highly improper for a president to pretend that it’s business as usual when it’s not. We don’t have to be worse than Somalia to admit dismal failure. If we may ask; how many people does Gono employ? What does he pay them, when? How much tax is his farm paying? What contribution is the farm making to GDP? These are simple questions that don’t need anybody to be a Keynesian student in order to appreciate.
Lastly, may the huge amount of money saved through the “EU Presidential Boycott” be diverted to some of our general hospitals? I’m sure this will significantly improve health service delivery and reduce the number of hungry patients sleeping on the floor often without enough blankets. It might even positively diminish the frequency of trips to Singapore. Some radicals would rather say “let the charter plane disappear, we won’t miss it”. May I also remind The Herald editor that the world does not stop because Grace Marufu-Mugabe has been denied a shopping visa to Europe? Life goes on.