Zimbabwe – from Animal Farm to Chicken Farm

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.

Moses Chamboko is the Interim Secretary General for Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). He writes in his personal capacity. Visit ZUNDE at www.zunde.org or contact info@zunde.org


  • comment-avatar
    Davidzo 9 years ago

    True, poetic, humourous yet so sad!!!

  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 9 years ago

    Good sentiment expressed here.

  • comment-avatar
    maita 9 years ago

    Zimbabweans are now stuck with news all over. Tsvangirayi must go, Mnangagwa is a Mafia, Mliswa extortionist, Mutasa got viagra, the press is ignoring Gono, Grace has been denied a visa.Rautenbach is a thief, Moyo is supporting his tsholostho declaration, and we get siezed in this maze and forget what should happen to Zimbabwe. I don ‘t see any reasons why MDC should be stuck in trying to unconstitutionally remove Tsvangirayi when the country is burning and are supposed to be strategising and mobilising people to raise avoice against the desease which has affected the country. Yes ZanuPF say arrest them for trying to incite the people but what we read is good enough to incite people if Zimbabweans were not a docile lot.

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    Gomogranny 9 years ago

    So the President takes a stroll around an Intensive Chicken Farm and is mightily impressed. 10 years ago….maybe. We now know that this system is a disaster when compared to free range management systems. Keeping 10 0000 birds in a shed means antibiotics, growth hormones and no sunlight for the birds…..leading to meat which is known to be unhealthy for humans. Zimbabwe has the advantage over most countries…we have space and excellent weather – We should be encouraging small scale free range organic chicken rearing….on a scale that EVERY SINGLE peasant farmer and rural household can do.
    Free range chickens keep insects under control, are easy to manage and healthy to eat.

    • comment-avatar
      Parangeta 9 years ago

      All that will happen again soon.
      That will be when M’Garbage is dead,
      ZPF is dust and white Zimbabweans are allowed to farm again.

      The white Zambian, Ugandan and Malawian farmers are prospering.
      The white Zimbabweans will once again come to the hungry masses
      and feed them, as before.

      You can’t eat tobacco, diamonds or infected Gono-chickens!
      Let’s get that Electoral Voters Roll cleaned up and transparent.
      get rid of Nikuv and M’Garbage and move ahead after 35 years of poverty and embarrassment!

  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    Vanity, vanity, vanity, We need to move away from that philosophy that ZANU has cultured. The leaders that we have are like kids continually looking for the next new toy to appease themselves.
    Bob pretends he does not like the Germans but he is still happy to pay millions for a car. He has 2 state houses, a home in Zvimba, borrowdale, Hong Kong,SA and more we are not informed. Plus 10 farms and still counting.
    This is our dear leader. A student of Mao And Juche.
    Chamboko,I am glade you are aware.
    Tanks for the article.

  • comment-avatar

    The book “1984” is also a very goog read

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Gono looted Lybias deposits in Zimbabwe that’s how he has such a ” successful” business. Well supposedly one can live off under a pretence of good management for just so long. Haha Zimbabwe is filled with idiots.

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 6 years ago

    This original post is now over 2 years old, so few will ever return to read it. However, I add this comment, nevertheless.

    “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.” With that quote, I dunno if the author is being sarcastic, or misunderstands the story. Old Major does not equate to Mugabe… Napoleon does. Napoleon and Snowball take Animal Farm to the place where Zimbabwe is currently mired in corruption, nepotism, ineptness, patronage, and government-sponsored violence. They take it from “all equal”, to “some more equal than others”, to “first among equals”, then to “all equal except Napolean, and therefore all serve Napolean”. THAT is Zim.

    If only those who first suspected moves and motives had voiced their concerns; if only those who sounded cautions had been heard; if only those willing to see the future and rang the alarm bells had not been silenced; if only, if only…..

    No, Zim does not need a Napolean or Snowball… there is already one who has hijacked the process to hold for themselves the strings of power, and having become traitors to those they used to gain the advantage, they surround themselves with mindless loyalists, and abuse all the rest.

    Such was Animal House, and such is Mugabe and today’s Zimbabwe.