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Zim @ 40, A New Dispensation that never was minus Mugabe's booming voice

19 Apr 2020 at 07:42hrs | Views
It's dreary Saturday and somewhat overcast midmorning in Pretoria as I watch live news feeds from the North across the mighty Limpopo River.

Life away from home has turned many into creatures of habit- newsjunkies who consume anything written Zimbabwe.

My teapot-shaped country of birth has turned a milestone, 40 year Independence anniversary since shaking off the yoke of colonial rule from Britain.

Pretoria just like it's twin city Harare is on lockdown amid measures to stem the tide of rampaging coronavirus.

It is quiet and i chuckle incoherently as President Munangagwa walks on the red carpet to the podium to address the nation rather the world. It's a fact Zimbabwe' s internal affairs have countless interested people scattered in the remotest backwaters of the world. It's children yearn for a better life back home and voraciously keep abreast with events unfolding over yonder.

Nobody notices me as I squint eyes watching my cracked gadget with animated gusto. My nearest neighbours are a distance away,  inmates of their own homes, banished from the streets, too worried and uncertain of the future.

Coronavirus has changed the way of the world. People are dying in unprecedented numbers globally.  To date, Zim has 3 confirmed deaths and over 24 active cases with anticipation of galloping statistics.

South Africa, the region's gateway to the continent is witnessing a runaway trend, figures are hurtling well past the 3000 mark of those infected while 53 have been confirmed dead. It's scary. It's like trying to shoot a moving target.

Regional airports and seaports have been cordoned off open only to special landings- they are  danger zones and a tacit confirmation of the gravity of the matter.

Yet still, for crying out loud, South Africans clamour for booze to drown their sorrows in a world uncertain. Authorities show them the middle finger. Either go to jail or red-hot Hell!

World economies are struggling. The only hope is to stay clean, and pristinely sanitized away from the madding crowds. Who can have the luxury of being sure?

' Fellooow Zimbabweans' the President voice bellows in cue from the stoep of the elegant white and green painted Statehouse. Across the miles, rivers and mountains I can see a motley crew of old familiar faces behind him.

Yes I can see Amai Munangagwa, VP Chiwenga revered for being the face of November 17 coup that toppled Mugabe. There is State Security Minister Owen Ncube, a confirmed Munangagwa henchman, ZDF Chief Philip Valerio Sibanda,  stiff as wood and a few other Public Service Chiefs seated attentively listening to the President. It's duty Aha! They look immaculate, bedecked in uniforms just like they did during Mugabe's over three decades in power.

It's the same old story. President. Munagagwa looks stern, eyes puffy- a man who has seen a lot since the turbulent years of the war of Independence. His steely bearing has won him adulation for not showing emotion even in the face of pressure and calamity. He looks determined to make a show today and appears to look far into the future as he exaggeratedly pronounces words from the script.

However, it would take immense strength to wish away the thought of Mugabe on the microphone. It has been two years since the drama when his family snubbed the national Mausoleum for a reinforced concrete grave for him in the family courtyard in Zvimba.

Yes Mugabe's booming voice is nomore. It was synonymous with independence celebrations. It echoed Zimbabwes birth on 17 April 1980 at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare. In the ensuing years, Mugabe would often mark the day trekking down memory lane re-living scenes in the bushes of Mozambique, Zambia and other places. He cracked jokes waving thin admonishing fingers and his clenched fists would intermittently pound the podium fighting invisible enemies. The man had deep flaws both as a person and leader but in many ways Mugabe left quite big shoes to fill. The bar was just too high.

At 40, Zimbabwe is beset with with a myriad of challenges, far worse than those with Mugabe at the helm. Unemployment figures have since shot through the roof, water and electricity supplies are erratic or none-existent in many urban areas.

School fees are a Herculean task for many parents despite Mugabe championing education as a basic right for every child in the country. At one point, Zimbabwe was the torch- bearer on the continent with beautifully encouraging literacy rates.

Today, aged 40, Zimbabwe' s universities and technikons continue churning out graduates that will struggle to live and earn from what they learnt. There are simply no jobs, multinational corporations have since packed up and vamoosed. The economy is down and dead. What's left is a highly informal matrix that is unsustainable in the long run.

Hospitals have become houses of horrors with pregnant mothers shunning them in most instances giving births in backyard cottages assisted by grandmothers with the barest equipment and resources for a modern society.

Yes it's 2020 but the tales of death and disease in hospitals without water, power and medicine are just too ghastly. Malaria has killed a fairly big number of people this year. Benevolent benefactors like telecommunications boss Strive Masiiwa and others have been jolted into action by coronavirus giving ventilators, masks, sinking boreholes for water and solar energy as a substitute. The government behaves like a child with ants in the pants, restless and unsure of what to do.

One day i would wish to write beautiful stories about Zimbabwe and the leadership but it's is a struggle to highlight any.

Yes, we see the President getting on and off expensively hired jetliners. Again the entire Presidency poses for photos on donations from well-wishers helpful in the fight against coronavirus.

Mr Munangagwa is a neatness fanatic with hours of Presidential time dedicated to streetcleaning.

Once in a while, there is a smattering of top chefs at the President's Sherwood farm in Kwekwe in the guise of field days and sometimes as POLAD members to thrash out 'business'.

The President is a farmer of note yet the majority of the farmers who repossessed the land from former colonial owners struggle with farming implements, fertilisers and seed.

Those that were landowners but perceived enemies of the erstwhile leadership have had their portions taken back by the government.

These include former Zanu PF Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, former Government Information C'zar Jonathan Moyo, former Minister Walter Muzembi, Mugabe nephew and former Minister Patrick Zhuwao.

All including Mandy Chimene of Manicaland continue living in exile for fear of the unknown once they set foot on home soil.

There were millions of money set aside in the command agriculture scheme yet it was allegedly stuffed in some people's back pockets. The project suffered still birth and could not be sustained for long. It boggles the mind how 7.7 million Zimbabweans are in dire need of food.  The World Health Organisation ( WFP) termed them 'food insecure'.  My only guess is the leadership is getting priorities wrong . Apart from periodic spells of drought, the leadership is having friends reunions and feeding frenzies. At such Sherwood jamborees, they even feed fish in fish ponds amid smiles and laughter. It's a beautiful and wonderful world for the elite but a matter of life and death for millions.

Last week,  we saw live an immaculate convoy of cars patrolling at full throttle the streets of major urban centres as the President assessed the lockdown in the wake of coronavirus. He even thanked citizens for the 'discipline' of staying indoors even when their wives and kids sleep hungry.

It has been almost four years since Munangagwa took office under the military's assisted coup. And wool was pulled over our eyes with terms like 'New Dispensation' and ' Open for Business' . Have we seen anything new as citizens? What has gotten new are the faces of Owen 'Mudha' Ncube and Kudakwashe Tagwirei of Sakunda Holdings as additions to the feeding trough that even America and Australia added them on their sanctions list that includes travel bans and assets freezes.

And before my pear brain could digest the spectacle of the President, opposition leader Chamisa also took over the internet of things. Sleek, youthful, savvy and eloquent. He delivered a speech only a snake oil salesmen could surpass to adoring supporters.  He relived the election promises of spaghetti roads and bullet trains. He stressed the need for unity as a people. He rejuvenated hope in a mass that has become hopeless. A catalogue of government failures and proposed measures was laid bare with devastating eloquence. Reforms! Reforms, he almost screamed and made it known he is willing to partner with the government given half a chance. Chamisa has the gift of the gab and as he almost frothed at the mouth, my heart sank as I realised we have been down this road. Our leaders talk. We have been sold a dummy. Zimbabwe's birthday celebrations at 40 simply degenerated to a contest of words. Behold more of the same archaic script without Mugabe's booming voice of course.

Josiah Mucharowana is a media graduate and writes in his personal capacity. Feedback; or +27 84 587 4121

Source - Josiah Mucharowana
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