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Why should only ordinary Zimbabweans 'pay the price' whilst ruling elite enjoy lavishness?

31 Dec 2022 at 19:44hrs | Views
For as long as I can remember - and, that goes back three to four decades - the ruling establishment in Zimbabwe has repeatedly alleged that economic hardships being faced by ordinary citizens were just a passing phase, of which, Zimbabweans needed to hold tight and 'tighten their belts'.

Ever since the era of the mismanaged and ill-conceived ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Program) of the early 1990s - which caused immeasurable anguish and torment upon ordinary Zimbabweans - those suffering the brunt of this misery were told to be strong and patient, since joy and happiness, as a result of economic prosperity, were just around the corner.

In fact, although I had already been contributing news reports to a local Kwekwe weekly newspaper from the time I was a mere sixteen-year-old in 1989 - the harrowing turmoil and sorrow inflicted upon the people of Zimbabwe, especially in my hometown of Redcliff (as I watched hundreds of workers being retrenched from the state-owned iron and steel maker ZISCOSTEEL) - led me into writing my own regular social justice column (The Un-Oppressed Mind) from 1991, when I was now in the Lower Sixth Form.

What I found most deplorable and unacceptable was how the already poor were the ones only expected to 'tighten their belts' and endure the tough times - yet, the political and privileged elite remained largely unscathed, in fact, getting richer and richer.

As such - my question then was, and my question today is - "Why should only the suffering and already marginalized be the ones to be sacrificed on the altar of economic recovery"?

To make matters worse, had this treating of the impoverished and alienated as sacrificial lambs yielded the desired results of subsequent economic development - maybe, just maybe, this cruelty would be more tolerable.

However, in spite of the countless economic programs implemented by the ZANU PF administration over the past forty-two years, ever since attaining independence in 1980 - including the supposed 'Five Year Development Plans', ZIMPREST, ZIMASSET, and various 'Visions' - not a single one ever bore the stated outcomes.

In fact, the economic situation in the country - and, by default, that of the general populace - appeared to only worsen, up to the unbearable state we find ourselves today, yet the wealthy somehow managing to amass more wealth.

Nonetheless, in all this, the ordinary citizenry were the only ones required to make the sacrifices.

Today, I bumped into just a snippet of the Acting President Constantino Chiwenga's address to those gathered for some supposed prayer session for the country - in which he repeated, again, this tired and, quite frankly, insulting claim that the ordinary people had to 'pay the price' for the economic reform Zimbabwe was purportedly undergoing.

This time around, the ZANU PF regime is making noise about 'Vision 2030' - with the delusional hope of an 'upper middle-income economy' by that year - buttressed by NDS1 (National Development Strategy One).

Well, well, well - where have I heard all this before?

Wait, it was not once, not twice, not even thrice - but, possibly twenty or more times!

In all this, nevertheless, not a single promise has ever been fulfilled.

Are these not the same promises, and demands for 'tightening of belts' - with only the poor expected to make all the sacrifices - that pushed me to begin writing, in 1991, the type of articles I still pen today…31 years later?

So, I can confidently declare that I have become sort of an expert on the Zimbabwe ruling elite's repugnant and shameless lies.

As the ordinary people of Zimbabwe 'pay the price', this time around - what payment are those in power making?

Let us even start with the utterer of those words - what sacrifices have Chiwenga made, as Zimbabwe ostensibly revives and raises from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix?

What about his boss?

What price is President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa paying, as the country allegedly moves from near economic collapse, to stability and an 'upper middle-income economy by 2030'?

Or, are their own economies and economic fortunes already in the super-rich class - as if they reside in a different Zimbabwe from the rest of us mere mortals?

For a country supposedly reeling under the 'yoke of economic sanctions' - surely, these do not appear to be affecting those in power - but, for some strange reason, only the poor.

That is why I really need to know which Zimbabwe was allegedly 'crippled by these targeted sanctions', and which Zimbabwe do Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and their comrades live in - where only the ordinary citizens are affected, whilst the ruling elite remain untouched, and actually becoming richer?

Let us stop with all these lies and false promises.

Not only is it cruel, but downright evil - since it is clear that the rampant looting of our national resources by a handful, at an alarmingly grand scale - is the main cause of Zimbabweans' unimaginable pain and suffering.

This has been the case since the country gained independence - which is why I started writing my brutally frank articles calling out those in power, way back as a teenager - decades before any so-called 'sanctions' were imposed  

That is why it is virtually impossible for someone like me to buy into this yarn that travel, assets and business restrictions on a handful of individuals and entities - no matter the fact that the repercussions may be felt by the economy - can bring an entire economy of a country so richly-endowed as Zimbabwe to its knees.

It is akin to someone who is punched in the face - but, ends up with all his limbs falling off, and stomach wide open, as if cut by a machete.

That just does not make any sense!

As a mater of fact, I have seen this script numerous times before - such that, whenever I listen to those in power speaking, it is as nauseating as watching the umpteenth rerun of a boring pathetic B-movie.

All I can say to the political elite in Zimbabwe is - please, stop treating us as fools, who are too stupid to understand what is really going on!

You have ruined our lives and destroyed our once prosperous country - through your own insatiable greed for ill-gotten wealth, acquired through disgraceful plundering and pillaging of our resources.

We know the truth.

Who, then, should be 'paying the price' for your own greed?

- 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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