Zimbabwe: A village of fools

IN Zimbabwe, everyone is an expert, everyone is an analyst, everyone has a strategy, everyone has a valid opinion, everyone is educated, everyone has an organisation, everyone is everything and on top of that there are over 50 registered opposition political parties.

Source: Zimbabwe: A village of fools – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

guest column: PATSON DZAMARA

However, it is mind-boggling that for 36 years, one man, together with his legion of clueless minions, has been urinating on the heads Zimbabweans. A village of fools?

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Southern Africa. It has the best arable land in all of Africa. Zimbabwe is extremely rich in natural resources, it has plenty of minerals including diamonds, platinum and gold.

It’s fauna and flora are second to none in Africa. Zimbabwe is the most literate nation in Africa, with an adult literacy rate of 90%.

It was once the most industrialised and developed nation in Southern Africa after South Africa. Its infrastructure, inherited from its colonisers, was among the best in Africa.

But how has this great nation plummeted to these shocking levels of stagnation, regression, failure and hopelessness?

The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe’s problems are deeply entrenched in Zanu PF’s leadership failure and inadequacies.

Our problems are not an act of nature, they are a result of a perennial leadership drought we have experienced for the past 36 years.

For some unknown reasons, perhaps President Robert Mugabe’s cunning, the world, the continent, and, more shockingly, Zimbabweans, seem to believe Zanu PF has reformed, or will reform, if only they are given a chance.

It signals how short people’s memories are, and how desperate we have become. Barely three years ago, in 2013, Mugabe had one of the highest approval ratings for any leader, according to AfroBarometer.

Having destroyed the country for over three decades, Mugabe somehow convinced a lot of people he could reform, and go one step further and create 2,2 million jobs.

Zanu PF has destroyed the country and the economy. They have done so twice in nine years, and with a different cast altogether.

Summarily, reality shows the following.

It is a fact that Mugabe and his Zanu PF have a history of enacting draconian laws that scare away investors.

That’s the reason why there is no foreign direct investment to talk about other than some dubious Chinese “deals”, which have not come to fruition because the Chinese themselves simply do not trust Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s industrial utilisation capacity is at 15% (1950 levels). We even import toothpicks. Investors have fled Zimbabwe on their own, not because anyone told them to leave.

Zanu PF is past its sell-by date. Trusting that mafia to continue running the affairs of our nation is ludicrous and regressive.

Zanu PF has presided over monumental corruption. For example, the country lost over $15 billion diamond revenue as a result of the party’s modus operandi and corruption.

Zimbabwe is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

Zimbabwe’s national debt is officially estimated to be $10bn. Other authorities posit that it’s now approximately $30bn.

Sadly, Mugabe and his minions are not the ones who shall service these debts, seeing that they are already in their twilight, yet they are the ones who have sustained their opulence through abusing such facilities.

The country’s life expectancy, 57 for men and 59 for women, is one of the lowest in the world. This is attributed to poverty and the HIV and Aids epidemic.

Although there has been a noticeable decline in HIV and Aids, Zimbabwe is still battling with poverty.

Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food needs. A haphazard land reform programme presided over by Mugabe’s government has largely precipitated this scenario despite the reality of drought in some instances.

About four million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid. It is estimated that a million of pupils go to school hungry.

About three million Zimbabweans are in the Diaspora. They ran away from harsh economic conditions and Mugabe’s oppression.

More than 95% of Zimbabweans scattered all over the world want to return home. I have travelled far and wide, but I do not ever wish to make any other nation my home.

The unemployment rate is over 90%. It is, therefore, not surprising that three million Zimbabweans are in the Diaspora and the crime rate is very high in Zimbabwe.

Businesspersons travel to other countries to import things such as toothpicks and clothes. That’s nothing to brag about. It’s a manifestation of failure.

Poverty levels are alarming.

Ninety-six percent of villagers across the country live on less than one dollar a day. Seventy-two percent of the population lives below the nation’s poverty datum line.

Meanwhile, some still nod, ululate, clap and shake their backsides at anything Mugabe does. A village of fools?

I am reminded of my primary school days. There was a class that was called a special class at our school. It was essentially a class for those students who had special learning needs.

In the midst of all that has happened and is happening in Zimbabwe, others do not see anything wrong with our status quo, others are just not at all moved and they don’t care. They are indifferent and fatalistic. One wonders whether Zimbabweans are a mystery in a special class. A village of fools?

As though that is not enough, in Zimbabwe, those who gather the courage to take a stand for what is right, are lampooned left, right and centre by those who do not have that courage.

It’s as though Zimbabweans are happy slaves, who have an amazing ability to make fun of anything and everything, even their oppression. Their proclivity towards romancing trivia is petrifying. A village of fools?

Zimbabweans have created so many victims as a result of their special class condition, which decimates their fight and constricts them to a spectator’s bay. Individuals like my missing brother, Itai, were marooned in the open by the happy slaves, thereby, becoming victims of Mugabe’s insatiable propensity of oppressing his subjects and thwarting opposition.

Even with the benefit of hindsight, the special class still doesn’t grasp it. Today, those who dare take a stand to oppose Mugabe and his surrogates’ failure are labelled attention seekers, money hunters and traitors. A village of fools?

It’s nonsense.

One is tempted to believe that Zimbabweans deserve their leaders.

We are a bunch of spineless cowards and pathetic analysts. I am afraid that “cowards and analysts” won’t take us out of this pit of failure and despondency.

After all is said and done, I still believe that a new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime.

I commit to continue working towards its realisation and I dare all Zimbabweans to divorce their relaxed posture and mere talk.

Let’s work and pay the price for the Zimbabwe we want. It won’t be delivered on a silver platter.

It will cost us tears, sweat, blood and even lives. We are not fools, who will be oppressed forever. A village of fools?

Patson Dzamara is a leadership coach, author and pro-democracy activist based in Zimbabwe. This article first appeared on Khuluma Afrika


  • comment-avatar
    Homo Erectus 5 years ago

    Hey, Patson, when you next organize a demo for Harare, make sure that you have at least 1000 -1500 people at the ready, to march. This going to town with 100 or so demonstrators will never work. The security forces will overcome you everytime. What you need to do is to confront some of these riot police, battle with them and take their batons and use it on them – yes, beat the s…it out of them. You must remember that this evil regime will always use its security forces to undermine any form of democracy in this country, it is not interested in upholding the values of the Constitution – that’s clear for all to see just by looking at what those evil ZanuPF MP’s in Parliament do – NOTHING. Why don’t you block roads into town with the help of the taxis, shut the city down. You guys may not be a village of fools, but you need to be a bit more organized and be prepared to be a bit more aggressive.

  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 5 years ago

    The ZRP are targeting you guys before you undertake a demonstration. Start targeting police for a beating after hours – a terrorist war, if you like to call it.

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 5 years ago

    Hey Patson…….please stand for President next election.

  • comment-avatar
    TJINGABABILI 5 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Mazano Rewayi 5 years ago

    The complaints re genuine, the assessment true. Most Zimbos agree with you, some even admire your courage but not many will follow you because the strategy is not clear. Your article reminds me of my football playing days. When we played with anger we forgot the coach’s instructions and lost most of the time. True, courage is needed and some emotion will help but it is strategy and tactics that will carry the day. First, stretch the police thin by spreading the demonstrations. If you do the maths, a demo of just 10 people in every suburb in every town and village on the same day will achieve more than one demo by a 100 people in central Harare. The regime has no capacity to handle a nationwide protest. Two, exploit reality. Zimbos are cowards – why do you think we fought a guerrilla war? So no need for bravado just provoke and run as a first step. Do it over and over again and soon the individual policemen ill get tired then you can easily disarm them – remember these are the same guys who ran away from Mapostori in Budiriro. They too are cowards and right now they are very afraid and praying for an excuse to abscond their duties. Oblige them. This calls for organisation. Words might inspire but it’s well thought out action that brings results. Eliminate the force and the people’s fear will dissipate. Then the government will listen.

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    ngoober wasabi 5 years ago

    A return to white minority rule is the only solution for Zim as well as SA. Like it or not, conditions were far better for all blacks under the white minority rule of Ian Smith. Oh wait, there are no whites left in Zim… their property was taken from them and they were forced to flee.

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    Godsent Nehanda 5 years ago

    I feel Dzamara’s article summaries well the situation we are in. thanks to the education we have attained as a nation. I know Zimbabweans given pen and paper can produce very sounding documents, including the notorious ZIM-ASSET blueprint, which so far has nothing to show, but provision of a platform for political gimmicks. We know what we want , but what lacks is the strategy as to how we can implement whatever plans we may have. ZANU-PF’s ruthlessness is well documented so we don’t need to experiment in our actions that is if we are going to do anything. If it was a soccer match, a team doesn’t come to challenge a team in the premier when it is coming from division two. Go through interviews of Elias Hondo in the Sunday mail, then you will see for yourself that those guys have been so cunning from the onset. Yes, what you have said is correct, but what we need are focused courageous leaders, not the likes of TSVANGIRAI, MUJURU and the whole bunch who have registered their political parties as a way of stealing donor resources. The problem with all these people is that they secretly envy the current regime. They have no national agenda at heart, but they would want to use the electorate to achieve the selfish motive of replacing their otherwise much worshipped heroes. Mujuru is simply a victim of successionist politics and I know she misses “home” to the extend that I imagined her to cry because of nostalgia. We need to identify our own leaders. People who are interested in our nation to emerge victorious not their families only.