via Grace, beware of your political sunset – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2016
ALL things being equal, Zimbabwe is not supposed to be in the league of the world’s poorest countries.
Yet, with most of the citizenry living on less than a dollar per day, the country languishes at the universe’s hindmost impoverished zone.
With no currency of her own and a predominantly dormant industry, Zimbabwe is indeed a classical case in point of a failed State.
So dire is the situation that even government employees no longer have fixed salary dates.
Yet, at independence in 1980, President Robert Mugabe was handed over a vibrant country.
It was so propitious that former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere advised during his State visit in the immediate aftermath of the attainment of nationhood: “You have inherited a jewel, please keep polishing it.”
But, instead of polishing the jewel, national fortunes were trampled under foot and sullied with reckless abandon.
Now, there hardly is hustle and bustle in industry; tractors and combined harvesters no longer roar in commercial farms.
Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product — the total value of the goods and services produced by the people of a nation during the year, not including the value earned in foreign countries — has progressively been free-falling to a mere dime.
As the unemployment rate soared higher than the new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe building, an exodus ensued.
More nationals took flight from the economic meltdown than those who left to fight colonialism in the armed liberation struggle.
Although the populace has heard it repeatedly stated that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again, the country is, by and large, an economic colony.
In fact, Zimbabwe is more dependent than independent.
With the First Family dependent on Malaysia for medical care, and the citizenry dependent on the Diaspora for employment, the country is, by all measures, an economic colony.
And, the dependence on the United States for monetary currency amplifies the viewpoint that Zimbabwe is an economic colony.
Ever since former British Prime Minister Tony Blair heeded the billowed call to keep his Britain, the Zimbabwe economy has, year-in year-out, become languid and eventually got discarded.
State-owned enterprises spell the magnitude of the economic demise.
With Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries now defunct, a common thread of ruination runs through National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, Grain Marketing Board, Cotton Marketing Board and Cold Storage Company, to randomly mention but a few.
It is stranger than fiction that the country slumped from being the relied-upon breadbasket of the region to dire destitution.
Thorns and thistles now abound where cash crops, which were the backbone of the country, used to grow.
Despite abundant human and natural resources, it is inconceivable that the country now dangles the begging bowl.
A comparison with neighbouring Botswana is startling — at independence in 1966, Botswana had nothing save for villages, yet she is a now an economic haven for Zimbabweans.
At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe was the envied jewel of Africa. Sadly, all towns and cities are virtual villages.
With no electricity and running water, and pothole-riddled roads, all urban centres are as good as rural settlements.
Infrastructure dilapidation is evident wherever one looks at.
As multitudes of born-frees wallow in joblessness, with no prospects whatsoever of earning a living, it is clear that Zimbabwe is a failed State.
With Mugabe capping many youths annually from national universities, the sad reality is that he is clueless about their future.
Despite undergoing several economic structural adjustment programmes, prospects of recovery are still in the distant future.
With the unemployment rate at the highest-ever recorded level, economic hardships continue to scatter citizens into the Diaspora.
Amid the backdrop of the demise, elections have been neither free nor fair.
Since Mugabe lost the constitutional referendum in early 2000, elections have never been credible.
Smarting from the referendum loss, the government used various State institutions, including the police and the army, to unleash a reign of terror on opponents.
Opposition politics became the most life-threatening enterprise one could ever undertake.
Many paid the ultimate price, while those who lost leg or arm, regard themselves fortunate.
A police pass-out parade in which the right marker held aloft Mugabe’s portrait was clear evidence that the police were not apolitical.
Led by a Commissioner-General whose book narrates his political leanings, it will take concerted effort to professionalise the police service.
Thirty-five years of independence have been more bitter than sweet.
However, with Mugabe now tottering in his second childhood, Zimbabwe stands on the threshold.
Downsizing the Cabinet is a task that is crying out the loudest.
All departments that were elevated to ministerial portfolios ought to revert to their rightful departmental status.
And, the lavish privilege of dual Vice-Presidents has to stop.
It is, however, damnable that First Lady Grace Mugabe is muddying the political waters, amid Presidential succession overtures.
Unlike the scriptural Queen Esther, who acted judiciously, for she knew that she came to royal position for such time as this, Grace is swelled.
It suffices to implore her to take cognisance of the fact that her political sun is destined to set as did that of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru subsequent to her widowhood.
With Grace’s political napkins still dumpy, she is ill-equipped, like an ass on the lyre, to deliver the land of milk and honey her husband promised.
Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker and speechwriter. He can be contacted on email@example.com