The Tragedy of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has gone through a turbulent time from the late 90s till now. There is a whole generation that has never known what it feels like to get Z$ 0.50 as pocket money and still not be able to spend it all. They will never know about milk being delivered in class everyday, or a functional public transport system every hour in the neighbourhood. This generation has no memory of the beautiful currency we used to have, the $2 with balancing rocks, the red $10 note or the green $20. There are a lot of things that only my generation and those older, will reminisce and long for the good old days. I often wonder how we got where we are and what it will take to get out of this rut?
The way I see it is that Zimbabwe has a leadership crisis, economical instability and bad political decisions. I see a government which had a promising start at independence but this has been overshadowed by a legacy of bad things. The tragedy of the ZANU PF government is not only in the things that they have done but also the consequences of what is not being done. A culture of impunity and corruption has overtaken the whole nation. The notion of holding on to power in any sector at any cost, I fear, this has created mini gods in every aspect of our lives. From the church to the state we mirror the state of the nation. How many times in this country have you heard of someone relinquishing power? It is unheard of, leave office, to go where? Church leaders, company executives and political party presidents mostly have one thing in common. But before we cast the first stone, let us consider a few things first.
I have often wondered how many of us castigate ZANU PF’s behaviour but act in the exact same way? For example, how many where outraged when Mugabe’s son in law was appointed COO of the national airline, Air Zimbabwe? In the same vein how many of us have appointed our nieces, nephews, ‘small houses and boy friends’ etc to positions of power in our companies/organisations? We always say but am I the state? Maybe not but the principle of nepotism is the same. Outraged that the ruling party runs the country like their personal tuck shop? How many of us run companies/organisations and churches like they are our personal business? How many of us treat our own employees as if they were our servants? As a nation we have become that which we hate. We are outraged at how ministers’ companies are ‘awarded’ tenders. We often ask how is that even allowed? It’s a clear case of conflict of interest but we don’t care about those things in our country right? In the same vein our organisations and businesses are doing the exact same thing!
The argument is always I am not the state and it’s my personal business etc. However, I really believe that “he who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much”. The character of a man does not change, it is only magnified in the position he is. If you put a corrupt man as a church leader, he corrupts the position he is in, same as a corrupt man in government. It is about the person and opportunity to reveal himself.
The danger of where our nation is, is that we have allowed so many things to go on that they have become a culture. Long after this government is gone, we will still be battling corruption, nepotism and impunity. It has become imbedded in our homes, churches, organisations and government that it will take a long time to change. It is not to say it is impossible, however, we know that culture is difficult to change. We have made this behaviour acceptable at different levels, so the same people will carry over the bad practices they have acquired to the next generation.
I don’t know if this phoenix called Zimbabwe will ever rise again in my lifetime. I don’t know if we will ever restore what we remember as the Great Zimbabwe we were born into. What I do know is that we have to work extra hard and like the children of Israel some of us will not make it to the promised land, but we will hold on to the promise of a better Zimbabwe. We will not remain a tragedy!
Caroline Kache 18.05.17