via Ncube: “Xmas Yes, Joy? Certainly Not! – NewZimbabwe 24/12/2015 by Welshman Ncube
ON Christmas Day you and I are supposed to be beside ourselves with ecstatic excitement and frenzied pleasure. Actually, thirty years ago, this would have been the likely scenario. If you were employed in the city, you would have collected your bonus, taken a hurried walk to the nearest shopping mall and bought hoes, fertiliser, clothes, groceries, bread and sweets for your extended family. It would have been chaotic, but nonetheless, you would have hassled your way at Mbare Musika, Kudzanayi or Renkini bus terminus and bundled your family into a crowded bus to Zaka, Sogwala, Mhandamabwe or Tsholotsho. On the eve, you would have been relieved to disembark from the bus and find your wide-grinned cousins or siblings patiently waiting for your arrival with a scotch cart parked under the shade of an umkhuna – muchakata tree.
Christmas eve would have been amazing – sitting it out under the summer moon, ‘washing down’ isitshwala with a hot cup of tanganda tea poured from a brown kango teapot, your family sharing stories about corruption in the city, politics, the fields, lightning strikes and abathakathi for good measure. Christmas Day, your family and you would have woken up to another big breakfast of peanut butter porridge, boiled eggs, and bread draped with red sun jam. By now, you would have identified which goat or chicken to slaughter, which ‘township’ to spend the afternoon with old friends and what music to dance to. If you were more privileged, you would have filled up your car tank with fuel, bundled your family and driven to the lake, countryside hotel or shopping mall for pizza and ice cream. The previous night would have been an evening full of laughter, Christmas presents, drink, braaing, gossip and music.
In civilised countries, Christmas season is a time for celebration, family reunion, culinary excesses, music and dance. By mid-October this year, Christmas carols were playing in Nairobi, London, Berlin, Gaborone and Johannesburg. Retail malls were a hive of decorative and musical nuisance, excited citizens and anxious retailers pushing each other for holiday bargains. Newspapers, radio and television stations chocking space with holiday advertisements as vocation destinations filled up their rooms. Pavement restaurants teeming with diners as with nightclubs, chapels and hospitals.
A nation that is not at war with itself; a government that is not vindictive on its citizenry – creates an environment where citizens welcome the Christmas holiday for rest and festive celebrations. In the old Zimbabwe that I know, at this time of the year, it was impossible to get space to maneuver in shops, on the highway or at long distance bus termini. There would be thousands of citizens pouring through the borders as ‘GP’ cars took turns to show off their shiny bodies in the streets of Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Harare. It would be impossible to walk past a hall, park or village without encountering starry-eyed bridal teams in joyful marital combat.
Sadly, there is a generation of Zimbabweans which is yet to experience the excitement, anxiety and spirit of true Christmas celebrations. This is the generation whose parents bear the full brunt of vindictive, incorrigible and corrupt governance of Zanu PF. A large chunk of their life, their humanity – has been chain-sawed away. They have watched with horrifying dismay as a small band of shameless politicians and their spoilt families enjoy the full benefits of independence. Actually, the rulers and their families do not know what Christmas holiday is like in local cities or rural areas. This little group of elite plunderers board planes to the VA Waterfront, Cape Town, pyramids in Egypt and Disneyland in USA. The rest of the population on 25 December 2015 is discarded, penniless, frustrated and mind you, already nervous about school fees and uniforms for January 2016.
Our government, infact our Zanu PF rulers- have left nothing but a legacy of obscene poverty, famine, worthlessness and despair. Every year, members of my party, the MDC, comment that this Christmas is worse off than last years’; hoping that sooner than later, a government that creates an environment for citizens to express themselves will come soon. The era of pervasive bad governance seems to repeat itself every year, progressively getting worse. A year when thousands have lost their jobs, thousands have not been paid their bonuses, millions face starvation and a government staring bankruptcy in the face can never produce genuine Christmas and New Year celebrations. Zimbabweans can only spare money to celebrate if they have enough for their school fees, uniforms, fertilisers, fuel, electricity, medicines and clothes. Christmas celebrations work in a country of high industrial productivity, bustling commerce, secure employment, effective popular democracy and transparent governance.
Zanu PF has completely lost focus – investing valuable state resources in unending political wars, dismissals and personal vendettas. The tremors of such tragedies are felt in shops that make big orders from manufacturers but sell less; bus companies that service their vehicles, employ extra drivers but spend long hours at bus termini failing to find enough passengers. Companies spend millions of dollars advertising products and services in newspapers but progressively attract fewer customers. Clubs, bottle stores, shebeens and beer halls stock up with products that will never be sold – thus tying up valuable working capital.
And yet, at Christmas Day, 25 December 2018, things could be completely different if there is a new and responsible social democratic government in power. Zimbabweans deserve to celebrate their humanity. What have we wronged God to deserve such political, economic and social abuse? The State-controlled – nay – Zanu PF controlled public media will try the best it can to portray an image of normality, but all in vain. Christmas 2016 and 2017 will be progressively worse until we Zimbabweans take the right electoral decision to have an MDC-type government by December 2018.
Nonetheless, let us, this Christmas, make the best of what we can. Christmas is a time of giving; where we cannot give both love and cheer, let us give of our love that we have in abundance even when the cruel and ruthless Zanu PF government has taken from us our earthly possessions. Let us show the selfish ruling elite that they can break our hearts but not our spirits. We deserve to be happy, and this is why I and the MDC leadership at all its levels wish each and every Zimbabwean in the country and in the Diaspora, the best of Christmas 2015 and a better 2016. Keep on hanging in there. Sizanqoba. Tichakunda. We shall overcome.