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Why Zimbabwean crisis is insoluble!

08 Mar 2020 at 08:37hrs | Views
For a 15 million population, a resource base that reproduces every mineral available in South Africa, the best educated population in Africa, Zimbabwe's problems should be easy to solve.

In this letter, I will make the following proposition. Zimbabwe, under present circumstances, cannot arrive at anywhere near a solution to its employment problem for the following reasons.

The founding leader, Robert Mugabe, 1980-2017, laid a foundation of statecraft, which separates the populace from the ruling elite. The ruling elite was allowed some form of immunity in their business dealings, and through the Central Intelligence Organisation, there was no activity, private, social or public, criminal or virtuous, which was beyond the knowledge of government.

This is, in educated parlance, called the Saddam Hussein (of Iraq) syndrome. When the US invaded Iraq, the US high commissioner dismissed all former government apparatchiks, including headmasters, senior clerks and military officers. He quickly found that there was nobody with any experience in government left.

When I first came across this realisation, from the testimony of Sir Garfield Todd (in Judith Todd's book, Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe), I found it difficult to believe.

For reasons of space, I will give only two examples.

James Mushore had extensive financial management experience. Out of 150 applicants for the position of Harare City town clerk, he was considered by far the best candidate.

He was hired on March 16, 2016. The next day, as he was still putting his desk in order, he received a call from the then Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere. "You should have told me that you were applying for that job. (We) cannot have someone who is not one of us."

Mushore advised Kasukuwere that he was a Zimbabwean, with impeccable indigenous credentials from the Mushore clan.

"You will do this job over my dead body," the minister allegedly said. Thus Mushore's career came to a bitter end before it had begun. Mushore, like me, failed to grasp the reality of the situation that unless he was one of them (the fraternity of thieves), he had no business enjoying life in Zimbabwe. In my old age I came to understand the saying, "tiri vamwe nomusangano (we are with the party)."

This story caught my interest. For years I wanted to return to my homeland. A historian of some reputation, my letters for positions at University of Zimbabwe did not receive any consideration. Even one's friends will not tell the inside story. Their existence depends on it.

Like the Biblical widow who visited a judge at midnight, seeking justice, Mushore has been at the court house for three years.

My painful advice to Mushore is that in an atmosphere of anomie (or fitna/moral chaos), the virtuous man is the fool because he misses opportunities for self-enrichment, which are obvious even to babies.

The parliamentary committee on trade received information from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that US$27 million (at an exchange rate of 1-1) was advanced to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ).

Two issues arise. The exchange rate is skewed. The bank rate is 1 to 18 (March 3). The black market rate is 1 to 30.

Secondly, when interviewed, Tafadzwa Musarara, chairperson of the GMAZ, said that he had received US$26.1m.

We will not delay our readers by pointing out that the missing $900 000 sold at the black market rate will bring home Z$27 million.

Roger Moyes, a researcher and former US State Department official, is a sharp observer. He coined the phrase "induced poverty". Surprisingly, Moyes argues, this induced poverty is advantageous to the ruling elite.

"The ambitious, the able-bodied, the desperate flee the country in droves. And the leaders are alright (sic) with that. Allowing their states to fail gives them a perverse advantage. It makes them indispensable." Both the donor community and the indigenous population themselves feel better with the Mafioso they know.

The award-winning writer, Pettinah Gappah, made another observation. Zimbabweans are a disgrace in international conferences. They have the largest delegation, are probably the best dressed, they "talk big noise" (my own interpretation) and yet they come with begging bowls.

The Mugabe state destroyed the moral foundations of civic society. There are two apparatchiks in every village. The headman and the precinct captain must record in a book every visitor who comes to the village. The record must show name, purpose, villagers who received the visitor and the time he spent there.

When I did research in the Saunyama paramountcy in Manicaland, I insisted on driving a patient I had picked up at St Mary's Catholic Clinic to Bande village.

The girl and her mother had suggested I leave them two kilometers away from the village.

As soon as we approached the village, the village headman phoned the Zanu-PF head office at the shopping centre. A scout arrived on a bicycle "to interview my intentions" (Zimbabwe English).

Fortunately, the scout was a fanatical reader of Letters from America, to which he credited his easy pass in the English Ordinary Level Certificate examination.

In cases of drought, or famine, these two officials act as government distribution agents, rationing seeds, maize meal, meats and soaps to those villagers who are in their good books. These two aficionados have immense social prestige and power.

Gappah may have missed the following issues. In any official group of 10 or more people, one of them is a member of the intelligence services. When I was doing research in Matabeleland, I developed goose bumps when I heard whispers that one of the chief academic officers was an intelligence officer.

It created in me the image of students disappearing in the middle of the night.

An important reason for travelling abroad is the per diem given in US dollars. On their return, these US dollars are as good as owning a gold mine.

The churches have been seriously compromised to the extent that the prophetic voice has been thwarted. I do not know a bishop who has not been given a grab farm with a clear understanding that the price was to shut his mouth, see no evil, speak no evil, and look the other way.

When the clergy love their places at the king's table, wine and dine like sailors, the prophetic vision disappears and the people perish.

Given this situation, a state of anomie, even if the government itself wanted to reform, the price of reform would require them to be born again. I think Nicodemus was right. "How can a grown-up man be born again? Can he enter his mother's womb?"

That is for you, readers, to answer.

l Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot who writes from the US. He spent 10 years researching Life and Times of Robert Mugabe, Dream Betrayed, available in Zimbabwe at INNOV Bookshops and in the world at

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Source - The Standard
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