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When a president becomes less popular than a musician, then the writing is on the wall!

23 Dec 2022 at 22:45hrs | Views
As far as I am concerned, retaining political power is one of the easiest tasks a leader is to expect.

One simply has to implement policies and programs that improve the livelihoods of the citizenry, make them happy, and you are good to go!

In fact, a leader who places the interests of the people first, can become more popular than a rockstar - thereby, winning free, fair and credible elections virtually without breaking a sweat.

This equally applies to our own President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

Had he been doing what was expected of him as head of state and government - placing the people ahead of his, and his allies', own personal interests - the man would have had a genuine following far exceeding those of people like Alec Macheso or Jah Prayzer.

However, is it such a shame that such a leader would actually need the assistance of more loveable and famous individuals as musicians to attract sizable audiences at his rallies - since, he severely lacks the same clout and lure.

It is even more embarrassing that the general public would rather pay through their noses to watch a musician singing - yet, have to be whipped or forced, via both threats and promises of handouts, to attend a gathering addressed by our own national leader.

What does that show about the calibre of individuals at the helm of our country?

When a leader feels the need to be surrounded by over a hundred security personnel when interacting with 'his own people', then it is time for some serious introspection!

One needs to look himself in the mirror, and ask the tough questions - am I really meeting the citizenry's demands, and living up to expectation?

Am I a worthy leader - or have I dismally failed in my mandate?

It is, therefore, not surprising at all when a president becomes so unpopular, such that has to rely on patronage based on a people's desperation - who are facing unbearable suffering and poverty - to the extent of forming dubious organizations, under the pretext of supporting a discredited leader, merely in order to receive crumbs off the opulent table of power.

Let us be brutally honest with ourselves - not many of the people joining these proliferating '4 ED' groupings either genuinely adore the president after which they are named, or have any real intentions of voting for the same person who has presided over their misery.

However, when a country is reduced to a nation of degreed vendors - sprouting all over the place, in a desperate search of a semblance of livelihood - then that is an undeniable sign of failure of catastrophic proportions.

These are the thoughts which went through my mind this morning - as I struggled to traverse the hordes of vendors amassed along pavements originally designated for walking within Kwekwe CBD - but, are now filled to be brim with vendors selling their predominantly second-hand clothing items of all shapes and sizes.

As I watched the hive of activity, and the subsequent hassle and bustle - I was filled with so much anguish and pain at the clear sight of the demise of a once prosperous country (where citizens enjoyed a functional economy, with decent opportunities) - yet, now seemingly taken back to the medieval age, where people have to stand on streets to make a living.

Ironically, there is also a 'Vendors 4 ED' group - which to me, is nothing more than a symptom of the disgusting depths Zimbabwe's economy has sank.

Out of desperation, the nation has been crudely conditioned to accept poverty and struggling as normal, and even some warped interpretation of 'economic development'.

Let it be clear - turning science, maths, engineering, IT, and arts university graduates into selling second-hand shirts and trousers on thoroughfares can never, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as 'economic development'.

There is definitely no 'ED' in vending!

Let us face the facts - our lives have been savagely ruined and turned upside down by those whose duty it is to improve our country and welfare.

Yet, they have resorted to brazen stealing, killing and destroying - as if the epitome of the devil himself - enriching themselves, at the expense of the majority of Zimbabweans, who are left to wallow in poverty.

To add insult to injury, we are, then, expected to praise and sing the glory of our tormentors.

Nonetheless, it does not matter how many '4 ED' organizations are established, or those wearing t-shirts and wrapping cloths ('zambia') adorning Mnangagwa's smirky face - the truth is that, all these people are fed up with their seemingly unending suffering - but, have been forced into desperate measures merely for the sake of survival.

If the president was popular, why would there be a need to force or order people (including, nurses, as occurred a few days ago) to attend his gatherings?

It goes without saying that, citizens who genuinely adore and admire their leader would actually have to be wadded off by security teams - as they flood stadiums, in the hysterical hope of seeing their hero.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly what happened in 1980 - at the return of then revolutionary icon, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, from leading the liberation struggle in Mozambique - when my own father ended up losing a shoe, in the midst of intense pushing and shoving at a rally in the then Salisbury (now Harare), where the nationalist leader was to address the people.

Of course, these supposed 'liberators' did not waste any time showing their true colors, and proving the greedy self-serving entitled brats that they truly were - as they were soon to plunder the country's vast resources for their own aggrandizement, whilst the people they 'liberated' fell deeper into poverty.

Here we are today, where a country that once boasted of most of the major multinational and domestic conglomerates - making Zimbabwe one of the most envied economies on the continent - now filled with vendors, and people generally scrounging to make a living.

This is failure at a grand scale!

No matter how much some shamefaced characters may attempt to package this as some version of 'economic development' - but, the reality is there for all to see.

When a president becomes less popular than a musician, then the writing is on the wall!

- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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