BY SIMBA MUKORI
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country born out of an arduous and protracted struggle against white settler supremacist colonial domination,dispossession and subjugation that came to an end on the 18th of April 1980.The gallant and illustrious heroes and heroines who paid supreme sacrifices by laying down their lives to liberate this country from the shackles of colonial bondage did so with one singular intent as the driving force;to ensure that every citizen of this great nation enjoys untrammelled freedom,justice and peace regardless of one’s colour,religion,ethnicity,gender or political affiliation.
To immortalize and perpetuate into posterity the great promise that the new independent post-colonial nation-state made and vowed to attain ,the overwhelming majority of this country adopted a splendid,glamorous emblem-our national flag whose colors represent profound themes that resonate with their inordinate and passionate aspirations,wishes and national expectations.Indeed,the hoisting of the national flag came to represent the rising of a mighty hope,a promise of prosperity,opportunity for all and all-encompassing transformation!The pulling down of the Union Jack symbolized,at least in the collective psyche of the new born nation,an eventual crushing and liquidation of racially engineered mass poverty,economic exploitation and numbing inequality.
However,as the years went by after this great promise of liberation,this was not to be!
As unequivocally clear as it is now,the leaders who presided over the affairs of this great nation squandered a golden opportunity to reorient and reconfigure the state towards an egalitarian society whose economy functions and performs for all!They dismally failed to transform from liberation movement into a developmental vehicle that sustains and improves the quality of life for everyone.To the contrary,they instead appropriated the state and used it as an instrument for self-enrichment that benefited a select few who are connected to the political ruling,ruining elite at the expense of the generality of the population who up to this day continue to languish in excruciating agony of lack and want.
Forty-three years after independence,after that glamorous and bold promise of the liberation struggle to the black child,the dream of a better Zimbabwe remain elusive.At least 70% of the general populace are living in extreme poverty in this country.Unemplyoment has increased exponentially with an estimated 95% of the overwhelming majority out of work.Prices of basic goods and services have escalated astronomically beyond the reach of many.Food insecurity remains a spectre haunting many a households.Needless to say,corruption has become rampant and ubiquitous even as it remains iniquitous to the soul of the nation as it deprives the state of resources to provide services.Add to all these the gross economic mismanagement and flagrant violations of basic human rights which has become a perpetual reality of Zimbabwean society,then we have a typical fragile,failed state!
The question though,that continues to hitherto baffle the minds of many is how did a country that held such great redemptive potential and hope for the disadvantaged and downtrodden majority,a Great Jewel of Africa in the eloquent words of Baba Julius Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania,deteriorate and degenerate into a pariah state and an outpost of tyranny,hunger and economic misery that it is today?How did this great nation abrogate and betray the promise that it made to its citizens,a promise immortalized in the emblem of the national flag but very elusive to this day?
We all know that the colour green on our flag represent our land and agriculture.It is still a reminder that Zimbabwe has abundant prime lands,vast fresh bodies of water and pristine conducive climatic conditions that allows her to grow and feed her millions of citizens.Inspite of these endowments,the most recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report assert that almost 5,5 million of our people are food insecure and are on the brink of starvation.
We all know that the colour yellow represents the abundant mineral resources that this country is blessed with.Zimbabwe is home to about 60 different types of mineral deposits be it gold,platinum,diamond,chrome,lithium and even gas and many more!With all these mineral deposits that are known,the promise was Zimbabwe cannot afford to be poor when we are home to such mineral wealth.However,today it is only those connected to the ruling elite,a voracious and egocentric kleptocratic clique that is benefiting through all types of Mafia structures like Gold mafia,chrome Mafia etc.
The government itself admitted and confirmed that the country is losing about 100 million United States dollars a month to illegal gold smuggling alone!That is USD1,2 billion dollars a year from gold alone!Imagine if we had a Sovereign Wealth Fund were we remit all the proceeds from our mineral wealth and use it to cater for the basic needs of every deserving citizen like what other countries do!
Furthermore,this country has never known peace on account of an inordinate desire by Zanu pf to retain and consolidate power at all cost!The color white on the flag was a promise for creating a peace-loving society where all people would live in harmony regardless of political affiliation,colour,religion,gender or beliefs. Unfortunately Gukurahundi is an ingrained stain on the history of Zimbabwe that betrayed that pledge.Murambatsvina atrocities,the 2008 violence towards the re-run elections,the sanitized coup in 2017 and the unfortunate events of 1 August 2018 are all an historic abrogation and betrayal of the peace that was promised at independence,born of the war of liberation.Today Honourable Job Wiwa Sikhala and Mr Ngarivhune are languishing in jail for expressing themselves critical of the excesses of the government.Where is the peace in that?
A lot can be said about how Zanu pf of Mugabe and the current administration of ED Dambudzo Mnangagwa has betrayed the promise of independence.For the past 43 good years this country has experienced massive structural regression characterized by alarming levels of unemployment,de-industrialisation at an unprecedented scale and unimaginable deterioration and decay of infrastructure.The country is now a cesspool of abject poverty with millions of Zimbabweans now trekking out into the Diaspora to seek survival opportunities.Hence there is nothing that Zanu pf,its appendages and cronies can do better now to change the situation when they failed to do so in 43 years of misrule.
However there is hope,a hope to regain and reclaim the promise,the promise that Zim can be food-secure.The promise that our mineral wealth is not for ED alone but for everyone.The promise that our land is not for a select politically connected few but for everyone,promise that peace is attainable and that black people we deserve to live in the dignity of prosperity and not in the indignity of poverty is possible.
We are going into an election on the 23th of August 2023,just a few days from now and on that day Zimbabweans must reclaim the promise made at independence.Our yearning for greater political and economic freedom must find expression on that day as we vote for a Zimbabwe that works and an economy that functions and performs for everyone.Voting Zanu pf out and giving a chance to the Citizens Coalition for Change under the able and capable tutelage of Advocate Nelson Chamisa is the first step in reclaiming that promise of a great,peaceful,mineral-rich,food-secure and healthy nation.