Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Mnangagwa regime's concept of 'development' is to impoverish citizens then come in as 'saviors'!

14 Sep 2022 at 12:29hrs | Views
Picture these scenes in Zimbabwe.

A group of urban dwellers gather in the scorching sun, awaiting President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa's much anticipated arrival, in order to officially handover a borehole and clinic to the community.

The crowds are understandably enthusiastic - considering that they have gone for years without any tap water coming out in their homes, and forced into fetching the precious liquid from a solitary borehole some miles away, or begging and buying from exasperated neighbours who have their own private sources.

Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of sickness or even a pregnancy within the family, or urgent need to restock ART (antiretroviral treatment) pills - residents have to travel long distances, oftentimes forking out hard-to-get cash for exorbitant transport fare, so as to reach faraway health care facilities.

Indeed, this community seemingly has every reason to celebrate - as Mnangagwa proudly commissions these two desperately-needed 'projects' - in what is touted as 'a clear sign of his administration's development thrust'.

However, let us hold our horses, before we all get too excited!

How did a country that once had water flawlessly flowing in its taps, and functional modern health care institutions, end up in this shameful and deplorable situation, in the first place?

For all those who care to remember, Zimbabwe was at some point, one of the most highly developed countries on the entire African continent.

Admittedly, after ZANU PF took over power in 1980, the new government made commendable efforts - through massive capital injection in infrastructural development, and major inroads in extending educational and health care systems to most parts of the country - during the first decade of independence.

Yet, after 1990 - maybe as a result of complacency, influenced by the dampening of the liberation fervor, and fueled by the absence of any formidable opposition to keep the regime constantly on its toes - the ruling elite quickly lost focus, sat on their laurels, and discovered a new interest in looting national resources for personal enrichment.

Consequently, investment in the construction of new viable water sources to cater for an exponentially increasing urban population, as well as modernization of water treatment facilities and distribution networks, completely dried up.

The establishment of new health care institutions, and upgrading of equipment screeched to a halt.

Major roads that had made the country the envy of the southern African region - some of which connected the ports in South Africa and Mozambique to the rest of the continent - were woefully neglected, and abandoned to the fate of potholes.

This is not to mention schools and others educational institutions - that were practically allowed to rot and be run down, with hardly any significant investment - save for the setting up of a few state-run universities, most of which were simply converted polytechnical or teachers' colleges.

As everything on planet Earth will surely die, without any adequate maintenance and care - the same dim predicament was not to escape Zimbabwe's hospitals/clinics, water provision, roads and schools.

By the turn of the new millennium, virtually everything in the country was on the brink of collapse - which is one of the main reasons the formation of a new political party, the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai-led MDC in September 1999, was overwhelmingly welcome by the generality of the citizenry.

Which explains why the ruling ZANU PF party was nearly walloped by a nine-month old party, in the June 2000 general elections - whereby, the MDC won all urban constituencies, on account of a seriously dismayed and disgruntled people.

Of course, I will not even bother talking about the economic ruination that appeared married to the callous abandonment of every other facet of Zimbabwean infrastructure - with the collapse of the economy, through woeful mismanagement and rampant corruption, leading millions into unimaginable unprecedented poverty and suffering.

Unemployment reached shocking levels - as state-run enterprises (like the steel-making giant ZISCOSTEEL, which once supplied the entire region) were plundered out of existence by the political elite - whilst, other private companies found the economic environment inconducive for profitable operations.

Therefore, after throwing the people of Zimbabwe down the abyss of unspeakable pain and need - lacking nearly everything required for a semblance of a normal existence - the ZANU PF regime decides to ride in as saviors.

Is it not amazing how even the president, and all those in attendance, fail to spot the irony of commissioning boreholes and clinics - more so, in areas that, at some point in their history, had functional medical facilities and top notch service delivery?

Does packaging this as some sort of 'development' not make the entire circus even more absurd and shameful?

Is it not a mockery to Zimbabweans, when the government seeks praises and glory for 'coming to the rescue' of the same people whose suffering and lack they authored - through the ruling elite's greed and reckless abdication of their duties?

In fact, by now (forty years since taking over power) - had the ZANU PF regime not taken the citizenry for granted and slept at the wheel - each and every household would have geysers supplied by tap water, and local clinics where major surgical operations could be carried out.

Throughout the country, so-called 'spaghetti roads' would have been the norm - and, all our schools, including those in rural areas, offering the most advanced educational standards, with state-of-the-art science facilities.

There is absolutely no logical reason why we have failed to attain such a high level of development by this time - if only, our leaders had done what was expected of them, especially continuing the momentum set during the first decade of our independence from colonial rule.

Yet, here we are - still patching up colonial roads, and calling that 'development'.

Instead of constructing new schools, the government wants to be thanked for erecting one or two classroom blocks at the already severely inadequate institutions - and, that should be regarded as 'development'.

Such is how low the Mnangagwa regime has sunk!

Letting the people of Zimbabwe to suffer, to sad levels of desperation - and, then coming in as 'saviors' holding some mediocre projects to save the day - can never, and should never, seriously be considered 'development'.

‚óŹ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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.