Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

'Zimbabwe is an amazing place to live' boasted Cross - not for the millions living in abject poverty

04 Apr 2019 at 08:13hrs | Views
When Zimbabwe gained her independence in 1980, the country had the potential to become a prosperous nation, the South Korea of Africa. The last 38 years of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu-PF dictatorship has changed all that. Zimbabwe is in economic ruins; unemployment has soared to the dizzying heights of 80% plus, basic services such as supply of clean water, working sewage, health care, etc. have all but totally collapsed.

3/4 of our people now live on US$30 or less per month; the poverty datum line is US$650 per month.
The nation has had many opportunities to end the Zanu-PF dictatorship but has wasted them all.

"Chawawana batisisa midzimu haipi kaviri!" so goes the Shona adage. The English/Latin equivalent would be "Seize the day!" "Carpe diem!"

Most of the golden opportunities to end the Zanu-PF dictatorship fell to the MDC and one has only to listen to some of the party's leaders to know why the opportunities were wasted.
"Today Zimbabwe reminded me why I think this is such an amazing place to live," wrote Eddie Cross, a leading MDC leader since 1999 until his retirement from active politics last year.

"I drove down town to a cafe for breakfast with a few friends and enjoyed a cup of coffee at a place where I was greeted by name by the security guard at the gate and by every waiter.
"And it's not just the physical beauty of the place and the magnificent weather, it is the people. … A church put out an appeal for aid for the people caught up in the cyclone in the east and the police had to direct traffic when the response simply overwhelmed the church. One elderly woman walked 17km to give her surplus kitchen utensils — carrying them on her head. A local businessman who saw the picture of her doing so came up with an offer to buy her a home of her own."

Are we talking about the same Zimbabwe where 3/4 of the population are so poor they cannot afford even one decent meal a month much less a treat of breakfast in a cafe!
If the aid from fellow Zimbabweans was so "overwhelming" then why was it that two weeks after the cyclone there were still many Zimbabweans in desperate need of food, drinking water, etc.

I know there are some filthy rich Zimbabweans out there who live in palatial mansions, own multiple farms and businesses, have a fleet of posh cars, travel outside Zimbabwe for all their education and health needs, live extravagant lifestyles, fly in luxury private jets (at taxpayers' expense), etc., etc. This is the first time I have ever heard of a businessman buying an old lady a home of her own, just like that!

If this was the real Zimbabwe then why would anyone want anything changed.

Mr Cross is careful to distinguish the Zimbabwe now from the Zimbabwe of Mugabe days which he, readily admits was a disaster for the nation.

"When President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the exercise in November 2017 to remove the then President Robert Mugabe from power, it was our people who gave the operation legitimacy by a national demonstration of joy and support for the tough soldiers on every street corner. This was not contrived and people across the globe watched as we freed ourselves from a tyranny — many with tears in their eyes as they watched history being made in a small way in an African State that had lost its way after Independence in 1980," wrote Mr Cross.

"And boy, had we lost our way!"

So why did MDC fail to implement even one democratic reform to end Mugabe's tyrannical rule when the party had the golden opportunity to do so during the 2008 to 2013 GNU? This is the question Mr Cross has failed to answer in his article and in the past.
"Facing a hostile and sceptical world; including the Zimbabwe population, the new leadership struggled to convince people that anything had changed — but it had," Cross continued.

"A transition was underway and the new government needed the help of both the domestic and international community to fix the problems they had inherited."

The truth is, other than the cosmetic change of replacing the top dog, Robert Mugabe, with Emmerson Mnangagwa; nothing had changed. Mnangagwa promised to end corruption but has failed to do so.
In 2015 Mugabe admitted the country was "swindled" out of $15 billion in diamond revenue. He never arrested even one swindler or recover one dollar.

Indeed the swindling continued as the then Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told parliament in 2016 that the country was getting 1/6 of the expected diamond revenue.
Mnangagwa has been in power for over a year and a half and yet he too has yet to arrest one swindler and recover one dollar. The same players are still mining the diamonds and collected revenue has not improved and so the looting is still taking place.

"An amnesty for stolen funds has recouped $825 million in three months but, as Mr Mnangagwa admits, the difficulty is in fighting a corruption so deeply embedded that even government officials cannot tell who is (not) tainted," reported The National, Abu Dhabi.

Mnangagwa also promised to hold free, fair and credible elections but has failed to honour that promise too. By blatantly rigging the elections, Zanu-PF has confirmed that Zimbabwe was still a pariah state.

The flood gate of new investors who were expected to answer Mnangagwa's "Zimbabwe is open for business!" call has not happened. The nation was assured new lines of credit would soon open so the IMF and WB will once again bankroll the country's development efforts; that too has not happened. The domestic and international help Mr Cross is talking about has not materialised.

Ever since the July 2018 rigged elections the country has lurched from one economic crisis to the next caused by shortages of fuel, food, medicine and foreign currency. Since the regime allowed the de facto local currency, RTGS$, to float it has already lost a quarter of its value compared to its value in January.

As long as Zimbabwe remains a pariah state ruled by corrupt thugs there will be no meaningful economic recovery. The economic meltdown and the shortages and the hardships they bring are set to get worse.
"Did we really think we could fix all our historical problems without pain? If we did, we were mistaken," says Eddie Cross.

How ironic and absurd is that! Zimbabweans have risked life and limb to elect MDC leaders into power on the ticket they Eddie Cross and company will implement the necessary reforms to stop Zanu-PF rigging the elections. As if it was not bad enough MDC leaders sold-out on reforms, they now have the chic to ask the people to bear even worse human suffering and deaths in the vain hope that will bring about economic recovery regardless of the continued Zanu-PF corrupt and tyrannical misrule.

By being incompetent and corrupt, rigging the elections, carrying out the murderous oppression, etc. Zanu-PF leaders have proven they are unfit to govern this great country. Zanu-PF does not have the people's mandate to govern and should step down. Why anyone should want the regime to remain in office for even one more day is a mystery

Source -
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.