Zim at ground zero – Obert Gutu

via Zim at ground zero – DailyNews Live by Obert Gutu  13 NOVEMBER 2013 

“I am an African. I was born of the peoples of the continent of Africa. The pain of the violent conflict that the peoples of Liberia, Somalia, the Sudan, Burundi and Algeria is a pain I also feel.”

“The dismal shame of poverty, suffering and human degradation of my continent is a blight that we share. The blight on our happiness that derives from this and from our drift to the periphery of the ordering of human affairs leaves us in a persistent shadow of despair.”

“This is a savage road to which nobody should be condemned. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper! 

The above-quoted words are derived from the historic speech made by Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town, South Africa, on May 8, 1996 on the occasion of the passing of the new Constitution of South Africa.

At that time, Mbeki was South Africa’s vice president under the Presidency of the iconic Nelson Mandela.

In my book of rules, that speech remains arguably the best and most incisive speech ever made by Mbeki.

It articulates the vision of every Pan-Africanist.

It is a sublime and passionate summation of the African dream. Put simply, that speech was a masterpiece.

Africa is on the rebound. A beautiful and otherwise rich continent made up of 53 countries, Africa is on a new trajectory of hope, peace, civilisation and socio-economic development.

Africa is not a dark continent. Africa is beautiful. But in the same breath, Africa is at the crossroads.

It is a continent that is, unfortunately, still ravaged by poverty, war, hunger and disease.

Still bearing the savage scars of a brutal history of colonial subjugation and the economic plunder that defined the very essence of colonialism, most of Africa is yet to recover from the ravages of dictatorship and socio-economic subjugation of the majority of its 1,2 billion inhabitants.

Sadly, Africa is fabulously rich but at the same time hopelessly poor. Zimbabwe is a small African country of about 14 million people.

With virtually every natural resource known to mankind (with the exception of oil and natural gas for now), Zimbabwe deserves to be called the warm heart of Africa; with its beautiful sub-tropical climate and abundant savannah vegetation.

Reality, unfortunately, points to the contrary.

At least 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s population live on less than $2 per day. In other words, they are classified as living in abject poverty.

The nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of Zimbabwe in 2011 was put at just over $9 billion thus putting Zimbabwe at number 31 on the African continent in terms of ranking. GDP measures the market value of all final goods and services from a country in a given year.

In the same year, South Africa, which is currently Africa’s biggest economy, had a GDP of $408 billion.

Nigeria, which is Africa’s second largest economy, had a GDP of $238 billion. The figures for the nominal per capita income for Zimbabwe do not look good either.

In 2011, the per capita income in Zimbabwe was a lowly $741; ranking Zimbabwe an embarrassing number 31 on the African continent.

Compare this figure with Botswana which had a per capita income of $9,480; ranking Botswana number four on the African continent.

The country with the highest per capita income in Africa in 2011 was Equatorial Guinea at $14,660.

South Africa was number six with a per capita income of $8,066 and Nigeria with a per capita income of $1,490 was at number 19.

Zimbabwe’s statistics did not compare favourably with other countries within the Sadc region.

Mauritius had a per capita income of $8,776; ranking number five on the African continent. Within the Sadc region, Botswana had the highest per capita income. Zambia’s per capita income was $1,413; ranking number 22 on the African continent.

The statistics for our beloved country, Zimbabwe, are anything but impressive. These figures point at an economy that is not doing very well.

It is beyond the scope of this opinion piece to undertake a detailed analysis of the impact of the restrictive measures that were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 as a direct consequence of the so-called land reform exercise which was generally carried out in an extremely chaotic and violent fashion.

This particular topic deserves to be tackled in a more detailed article space permitting. Suffice to state that Zimbabwe’s economy is not yet out of the woods. Put bluntly, Zimbabwe‘s economy is not performing favourably compared to other countries within the Sadc region.

Taking into account the fact that we have a fairly sophisticated industrial infrastructure, we certainly deserve to do better than what we are currently doing.

Where, exactly, is Zimbabwe getting it wrong?

This is a clarion call for all patriotic Zimbabweans to take a long hard look at ourselves; introspect and ascertain why our economy still remains tottering on the verge of collapse.

Is it the impact of the restrictive measures? Is it because of the well-documented and rampant corruption that has virtually become a way of life in Zimbabwe? Is it because of bad politics?

Is it a direct result of poor governance coupled with a system that promotes and rewards patronage at the expense of merit and genuine, honest hard work?

There is no denying the fact that something is fundamentally wrong somewhere. The hotly disputed harmonised elections that were held on July 31, 2013 cannot just be wished away. Did the results of the July 31, 2013 reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the majority of the people?

Was the election deliberately massaged and manipulated in favour of a particular political party?

These are the hard questions that we cannot and in fact, we should not simply wish away.

The ghost of the July 31, 2013 election is morbid and rabid. If we fail to carefully and resolutely deal with this ghost, Zimbabwe can easily embark upon an irretrievable path to socio-economic doom and trepidation.

The winner-take-all syndrome that is currently obtaining in the country will only serve to further divide the nation and drive an otherwise recovering economy into an abyss of despair, hopelessness, retrogression and trepidation.

As long as a significant portion of the population feels marginalised, trashed and left out, Zimbabwe is going nowhere very fast.

Even the much touted Zim Asset economic blueprint will soon be proved to be an exercise in political  futility; a dodgy and utterly misdirected trajectory into socio-economic kwashiorkor.

We have to get our act together very quickly or else we shall all perish and die.

We have to reach out to one another as patriots. No one has a monopoly of patriotism.

We are all of us sons and daughters of the soil.

Why should we allow a situation where other citizens deem themselves super patriots? We should refuse to allow our otherwise beautiful country to be torn apart by polarisation, hate and intolerance.

At this rate, we are fast approaching the lowest ebb of our human existence. Is it our wish and desire to hit ground zero?

Obert Gutu is the MDC Harare Provincial spokesperson. He is also an international corporate legal consultant.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 21
  • comment-avatar
    Boss MyAss 8 years ago

    TELL ME MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS: Where, exactly, is Zimbabwe getting it wrong?The world will not wait; progress and development will not stop as we dither and have to entertain political greed.While there is a lower class I am in it, while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. We didn’t all come over on the same ship, but we’re all in the same boat. Wouldn’t life be easier if we just stopped comparing ourselves to others? We are all the same; no one is higher or lower than you. We continuously try to trip our brothers but we forget that we are chained ankle to ankle with them and when we hurt them, their pain reflects back to us.

    This is a clarion call for all patriotic Zimbabweans to take a long hard look at ourselves; introspect and ascertain why our economy still remains tottering on the verge of collapse.
    Is it the impact of the restrictive measures? Is it because of the well-documented and rampant corruption that has virtually become a way of life in Zimbabwe? Is it because of bad politics?

    Is it a direct result of poor governance coupled with a system that promotes and rewards patronage at the expense of merit and genuine, honest hard work?There is no denying the fact that something is fundamentally wrong somewhere.The winner-take-all syndrome that is currently obtaining in the country will only serve to further divide the nation and drive an otherwise recovering economy into an abyss of despair, hopelessness, retrogression and trepidation.

    As long as a significant portion of the population feels marginalised, trashed and left out, Zimbabwe is going nowhere very fast.Even the much touted Zim Asset economic blueprint will soon be proved to be an exercise in political futility; a dodgy and utterly misdirected trajectory into socio-economic kwashiorkor.

    We have to get our act together very quickly or else we shall all perish and die.We have to reach out to one another as patriots. No one has a monopoly of patriotism.We are all of us sons and daughters of the soil.Why should we allow a situation where other citizens deem themselves super patriots? We should refuse to allow our otherwise beautiful country to be torn apart by polarisation, hate and intolerance.

    At this rate, we are fast approaching the lowest ebb of our human existence. Is it our wish and desire to hit ground zero?

  • comment-avatar

    Obert is at ground zero where he should and belongs, but the nation will get better now there are less mdc trying to line their pockets,

    • comment-avatar
      Boss MyAss 8 years ago

      At least you are optimistic

    • comment-avatar

      john do you have cork between your ears??

      • comment-avatar

        Mark I am okay I write from fact its you that has a problem using grey matter if you think MDC did not line their pockets at your expense, show one that is poor and they have only been in government 5 minutes.
        They even had the cheek to ask for a golden handshake when they left government – the first time in this countries history any politician has asked for that – probably in the world.
        An example for all of someone who represents himself.

    • comment-avatar

      JOHN YOU HAVE EARS BUT YOU DO NOT HEAR. YOU HAVE EYES BUT YOU DO NOT SEE. WORST OF ALL YOU HAVE NOSE AND HANDS BUT YOU NOT SMELL AND FEEL

    • comment-avatar
      suziq 8 years ago

      boy do you live in la la land

      • comment-avatar
        suziq 8 years ago

        the above reply was meant for John who oviously does live in la la land…someone try and explain to him that zanu-pf have been lining up there pockets for 32 years, that is why nobody in the world will ever invest in zim….

  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 8 years ago

    Leadership failure

  • comment-avatar
    Wilbert Mukori 8 years ago

    Obert Gutu is one of the most incompetent politicians of our generation. It was him and “motor mouth” Mwonzora who never stopped telling the nation how the Copac constitution would deliver all our democratic rights and freedoms including the right to free and fair elections. All efforts to point out the very serious shortcomings of the document fall on deaf ears.

    Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating; we have just had elections in which Mugabe and Zanu PF blatantly rigged the elections exploiting the yawning weaknesses in the Copac constitution. People thought that reality will force the likes of Gutu to shut up and for once in his life think. No such luck!

    He is off at a tangent again. ” Africa is on a new trajectory of hope, peace, civilisation and socio-economic development,” the idiot tells us.

    The nation’s hopes of forcing Mugabe to end this overbearing dictatorship have been dashed because Gutu and his MDC friends failed to implement even one democratic reform in five years. How is it then possible that we can still be on a new trajectory of hope?

    • comment-avatar

      This new constitution is the worst constitution in the world, far worse than the one we had,
      It doesn’t even comply with the UN charter – its an example of what happens when you give funds to inexperienced fools and tell them to make laws.
      In the passage of time it will have to be changed as it is challenged. politicians and trafe unions are the last people to put input into a constitution all they know is how to loot.

  • comment-avatar
    Jenandebvu 8 years ago

    Dzikama Wiribert, pora, mbombonoka takanga paGround Zero. Verenga comment ya Boss HisAyss pamusoro unzwe uchenjerii hurimo!

    To errr is Human, Wiribert, but to forgive is Divine. Work together nevamwe goodd and bad so as to build Zimbabwe

  • comment-avatar
    Jogo Bonita 8 years ago

    Well written Obert.

  • comment-avatar
    Moses 8 years ago

    Ground zero and still falling. incompetence and greed abounds

  • comment-avatar
    Bruce 8 years ago

    Zimbabwe have it wrong by silence, they must speak loudly about misgovernance of ZANU PF since 1987 after the unity accord. Tolerating the rigging since 1990, 95,200, 2002, 2008 and massive of 2013. political risk caused by ZANU pF and Mugabe is the devil of all devils in Zimbabwe.

    • comment-avatar
      Boss MyAss 8 years ago

      Let’s ask J who has very strong connections to complain for us.

    • comment-avatar

      I think the electorate spoke very loud at the ballot about MDC’S misgovernance and looting to the extent that MDC had meetings after they lost about changes in their party.

  • comment-avatar
    Shebah 8 years ago

    The major problem, Moyo is that you yourself are not patriotic. Those who are not patriotic like yourself have been pulling us down for the past 15 years.

  • comment-avatar
    Hisexcellency 8 years ago

    Free speech has long been a hallmark of a healthy democracy and a free society. The Internet and new communications technologies have become unprecedented tools for expanding the ability for individuals to speak and receive information, participate in political and democratic processes, and share knowledge and ideas.The government of Zimbabwe has important legal obligations under African and international human rights treaties that require it to respect the rights to life, bodily integrity, and liberty and security of the person, as well as freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.t Mugabe should seize this opportunity to set Zimbabwe on a path that respects human rights and the democratic process.

    Under international human rights law, governments have numerous obligations to protect their citizens’ right to life and to health. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) all establish the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Under the ICESCR, the right to health includes an obligation to improve environmental health, to protect citizens from environmental health hazards, to guarantee healthy working conditions, and to protect the right to safe food and safe water.
    Yet, many governments regularly fail to protect and uphold these commitments.Zimbabwe’s new constitution for the first time includes articles that aim to protect the rights to expression, assembly, association, freedom of arbitrary searches and prevent unlawful entries into their homes, premises or property. While the digital age has ushered in an era of information sharing and communication on an unprecedented and global scale, these troves of information are more than ever targets of government surveillance and collection. Protecting individual human rights to freedom of expression, opinion and privacy is more urgent than ever for Zimbabweans and people across the globe.