via Still not yet free after 34 long years! – DailyNews Live 17 APRIL 2014
Tomorrow is Independence Day, and ordinarily, it should mark one of the happiest, most cherished and revered days in the life of our nation.
Alas, that is patently not the case. The day is now, at best, just another off-day for the few Zimbabweans who are lucky enough still to be gainfully employed.
No matter how much this may rankle with our touchy political leaders, the incontrovertible truth is that our National Day has lost its meaning beyond the crass politicking and free football matches that our government perennially dishes out on this day.
This is leading many Zimbabweans to ask what it is, indeed, that those gallant sons and daughters of this once proud nation died and sacrificed their lives for, as they battled white minority rule, because the majority of our citizens are today worse off — by any measure — than they were before April 18, 1980.
But do the corrupt and ruthless politicians who have presided over this Uhuru care?
Not at all. For their unearned, super-luxurious lifestyles are sustained by the misery of the majority. Just consider the following revealing tidbits to get a clearer picture of both the scale of incompetence and the disdain with which our self-serving rulers hold fellow Zimbabweans.
When President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF assumed power in 1980, Zimbabwe was, staggeringly, ahead of South Africa on most socioeconomic indicators, and we had a higher GDP per capita than China! Not only that, our now buried currency, inherited from sanctions-ravaged Rhodesia — and we mean real, not slap-on-the-wrist targeted sanctions — was worth twice the value of the much vaunted US dollar!
Today, our GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, with at least 90 percent of our people living in abject poverty.
The Zimbabwe dollar, embarrassingly, is dead: killed years ago by avarice, gross corruption and tragic mismanagement by the gits who run our lives.
And notwithstanding the hopelessly contrived “positive” narrative around our chaotic land reforms of the past 15 years, Zimbabwe today is donor-dependent, on the very “evil” West that our leaders denigrate all the time (witness the ongoing and disgraceful endeavours to coerce Western-funded NGOs to assist the abandoned Chingwizi camp dwellers). And we now import virtually everything that we consume.
Yet until the late 1980s, we produced most of what we ate and our farmers employed 350 000 people on their own. Juxtapose this against our new “cellphone farmers” — most of them clueless, shockingly lazy and undeserving multi-farm beneficiaries of Zanu PF’s disastrous fast-track land reforms — who very often don’t have a single person on a regular and fair payroll!
Ditto the carnage that has decimated commerce and industry.
Given the grim picture above, it really is not a great mystery that Freedom Day has lost both its lustre and meaning among the majority of our people. For what is independence without real freedom?
Meaningful independence must entail the right to vote, act, speak, or think as one wants. It, crucially, must also include freedom from economic misery and dependency, as is now widespread in a supposedly free Zimbabwe.
All these rights remain a pipe dream for most Zimbabweans.
Many Zimbabweans will thus be hoping, and praying, that just this once, on this 34th Independence Anniversary, that our rulers will pause and reflect on the true meaning of Uhuru, as well as their culpability in the nation’s ever-deteriorating well-being.
It is surely not too much to hope that our clueless leaders, who sully and dishonour our “independence” with their gross incompetence, brazen corruption and misrule will finally start to work for the good of all Zimbabweans.