Zimbabweans are the poorest in Africa said a recent AfrAsia Bank report.
When the country gained her independence 37 years ago, Zimbabweans were amongst the richest in the world with potential to do even better. The late Tanzania President, Julius Nyerere describe Zimbabwe as the “jewel of Africa!” The Japanese scholar, Ken Yamamoto, who has studied Zimbabwe for years said Zimbabwe could have been the “Singapore of Africa!” A rich and prosperous and democratic nation at peace with itself and beaming with self-confidence and hope of an even brighter tomorrow.
Instead Zimbabweans are now the poorest people in the poorest continent on earth. In 37 years, the country has been turned from the bread basket of the region to one struggled to grow enough to feed its own people let alone have surplus for export. Even after an exceptionally good growing season as this present one, the nation will still have no reserves because most of the silos to hold the grain are not in a usable state after decades of neglect.
In a day and age when human ingenuity has turned deserted into blooming orchards and a sea of green fields. We are starving in a country which for all intent and purpose is the Garden of Eden – a damning testimonial of Zimbabwe’s greatest failure, failed leadership.
It is right and proper that we lay the blame for Zimbabwe’s economic mess and political paralysis on the door of Zanu PF and more specifically of Robert Mugabe, the party’s leader. It is Zanu PF and no other party that has ruled the country for 37 years and it is no one else but Mugabe who has presided over its ruin.
It is a historic fact that Robert Mugabe is a corrupt and murderous tyrant whose greed for absolute power and all the trapping of influence and wealth it brings is insatiable. He is a control freak; there are not many countries in the world that march his record of having no cabinet meeting unless he is there to chair it!
Given the sorry, sorry economic and political state Zimbabwe is in today; Zimbabwe’s leaders from “vakadzi vaMugabe” (Mugabe’s subservient concubines) in cabinet, parliament and everyone else in positions of power and authority be it in commerce and industry or civic society cannot escape the blame for having done very little to stop Mugabe destroying the country. Whilst Mugabe will rightly burn in hell for what he has done many of Zimbabwe’s leaders with burn for what they failed to do – failed to stop a corrupt and murderous tyrant ran amok!
Today millions of our people now live in grinding abject poverty, the type that kills as many succumb to poverty induce death due to hunger, poor living conditions, lack of health care, etc. The need for the nation to finally rise-up to the challenge of addressing the country’s chronic problem of bad governance is now a matter life and death and therefore demands all our undivided attention. The human misery brought on by decades of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption are morally and politically unacceptable.
It is therefore very sad that there are some sectors in Zimbabwean society who still elect to pussy foot over the issue of good governance.
“As we prepare for 2018, let us respect each other and even mirror in our words and actions the love of God, Father of us all,” wrote the Catholic Bishops in a Pentecost Sunday pastoral letter titled, “Elections, Peace and Development.”
“Reject all forms of violence and coercion: Violence and coercion only serve to discredit our elections. Any use of force takes away the credibility and integrity of the elections. People must be able to make free choices according to their own judgement.
“We now have our own Constitution, a great achievement, and it says in one place, ‘The State and every person, including the juristic persons, and every institution and agency of government at every level, must promote national unity, peace and stability.’”
The holy fathers should know by now that it will take a lot more than a call for peace and love thou neighbour as you love yourself to stop Mugabe blatantly rigging the coming elections as he has done repeatedly in the last 37 years.
Whilst it is true that Zimbabwe’s new 2013 constitution was approve by a staggering 95% yes vote in the referendum, the people believed Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends that it would deliver free, fair and credible elections. The reality was totally different as Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the July 2013 elections. Catholic Bishops condemned the elections as having failed to meet the basic demands for free and fair elections.
Throughout the years of the GNU SADC leaders and other had called for the implementation of the wide ranging democratic reforms. It is deeply regrettable that the Catholic Church leaders in Zimbabwe, like so many other Zimbabwean leaders failed to see the critical importance of these reforms and thus give SADC their full support.
Although Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends agreed on the need to implement the reforms after the rigged July 2013 elections, they have since changed their minds. Holding next year’s elections with no reforms in place is sheer madness as Zanu PF will blatantly rig the vote as before.
Zimbabwe’s position as the poorest nation in Africa comes with a price tag – many ordinary Zimbabweans are suffering and hundreds are dying unnecessarily every month. This is so because of the country’s decades of bad governance and failed leadership at all the various national levels. The problem of bad governance can be dealt with once and once for all by ensure the country has free, fair and credible elections. Zimbabwe cannot afford yet another rigged election next year and thus prolong the human misery brought on by bad governance.
The Catholic Bishops can help ensure next elections are free and fair by joining other Zimbabweans who are demanding the implementation of the reforms BEFORE elections. The country’s corrupt and incompetent opposition opportunists must be forced to honour their “No reform, no election!” party resolution.