I am sure we all remember those school days – with all the craziness of youth.
Surely, who can forget those ever-present mind-boggling scenes of pupils who would helplessly weep in agony, after coming in second or third in class at the end of the year, after amassing an average pass rate of around ninety percent (90%)?
Yet, there were those on the other end of the maddening spectrum – those who readily celebrated, and broke into wild transports of jubilation, after attaining examination marks in the thirty percent (30%) range.
Clearly, as much as such understandably perplexing and hugely paradoxical scenes easily left most people thoroughly bewildered – there was, nonetheless, some justifiable reasoning behind what may have appeared weird.
For starters, those who cried after coming in second or third in class (with pass rates in the ninety percent) – a result which most pupils could only dream of – were usually high achievers, who had tremendous ambitions, and possessed a resolute understanding of what they were capable of, and had unambiguously defined goals in life.
Therefore, finding themselves being beaten to the top rank by anyone else was their worst nightmare.
This brings to mind memories of my late childhood best friend, Brian Taurai Murau – a genius in his own respect, driven by unrestricted ambition and objectives in life (who always assured me, whilst still way back in primary school, that his first car would be the latest Mercedes Benz) – and, who never settled for anything less than the best.
Expectedly, he did achieve his dreams, with flying colours!
These are people who were so focused that they was never a doubt that they would reach whatever heights they set themselves.
However, the people who concern me more in this discourse, are those who would literally throw celebratory parties after getting mediocre results from their examinations – even finding unparalleled joy in a thirty five percent (35%).
These were those who had practically no hope of ever making it big in the academic world – such that, ‘graduating’ from their usual twenty something percentage, to the thirties, was a gigantic achievement, which warranted jubilation.
I always remember such people whenever I read the numerous social media posts, that hail and laud the ‘visionary leadership’ of Zimbabwe president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – whose followers never spare any efforts in trumpeting whatever his administration is supposed to have achieved over the past four years, ever since assuming power after a military coup d’etat that toppled long-time ruthless tyrant, Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November 2017.
These people never waste any time telling whoever has the time and patience to listen, how their leader has managed to stabilize the local currency and economy, commissioned or officially opened several privately-owned companies, reintroduced urban transport (ZUPCO) buses (only after pressure from public protests in January 2019), and is finishing off the work started by his predecessor.
Of course, they conveniently omit the fact that the charade of a stable currency and economy is swiftly unravelling (witnessed by a runaway parallel exchange rate, that is more reflective of reality), or that there are many more business enterprises closing shop (or, downsizing, and paying their workers peanuts) than opening up, or that ZUPCO’s scandalous state-imposed monopoly has undoubtedly failed due to insufficient vehicles and inefficient management (leading to most commuters resorting to unsafe and illegal alternatives).
These praise-singers also appear not to be overly perturbed by the paltry salaries – only about a third of the average monthly food basket – this ‘visionary leadership’ is awarding its own workers, who do not even earn enough for a week or two of basic necessities.
Or, that the UN (United Nations) has already declared that about half of the country’s population now survives in extreme poverty (earning less than US$1.90 per month), and that millions of children under the age of six (6) years have no access to nutritious food – leaving most suffering from stunted growth.
They do not even tell us that their ‘visionary leaders’ are involved in widespread disgraceful corruption – never seen in this country before – characterized by fraudulent deals fraught with misappropriation of taxpayers’ funds, and mortgaging of the country’s vast resources to unscrupulous questionable individuals and states…which has led to the wanton destruction of our environment, displacement of villagers from their ancestral lands, and desecration of our heritage sites.
As I write this article, the state broadcaster is busy touting the removal of COVID-19-inspired travel restrictions (red list) of Zimbabwe by Britain – as some form of recognition of outstanding accomplishment by our ‘visionary leadership’ – despite the fact that most countries benefited from the same.
The question then is – what ‘successes’ and ‘achievements’ are these sycophants seeing – which, the rest of us can not?
The answer, as I see it, is that this is a result of a similar mindset as those schoolmates of ours, who regarded attaining a thirty five percent (35%) as noteworthy work of pure genius.
I am forced to conclude that such people who are applauding this mediocrity by the so-called ‘Second Republic’ are those who do not expect much of themselves, and lack ambition for greatness – such that, are willing to celebrate this pathetic performance by their leaders.
Yet, there are the rest of us, who believe that Zimbabwe deserves much better, can achieve exceedingly more – if only we had the right leadership.
We refuse to accept rundown 1960s trains, traveling in ramshackle and crowded ZUPCO-franchised commuter omnibuses, living without running water, unpredictable electricity supplies (as opposed to those who jump for joy whenever power is restored after endless hours of load shedding), our children receiving second-class education, and a health care system that is even a shame to a nineteenth century peasant.
Only those who do not see the sky as the limit for our country can celebrate grand failure.
© 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