HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsWhat time is it, Minister?

What time is it, Minister?


Businessmen Kenias Mafukidze, Oswell Binha, Joseph Kanyekanye; economy development ministers Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Tapiwa Mashakada, Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti all have one thing in common a conviction that Zimbabwe will one day be a hundred billion-dollar economy.

Such optimism, if packaged into a feature film, would fall squarely into the category of JK Rowlings Harry Potter box office epics. It is healthy to dream, as long one wakes up in time for reality. The jagged coral reef of time reality is where Zimbabwean dreams are generally smashed to smithereens.

Rescuing Zimbabwes economy from the current ground zero of underdevelopment inflicted upon us by the carnage of Zanu PF kleptocracy will need more than just bravado.

Whoever coined the adage time is money must have had black Zimbabweans in mind. If the hundred billion-dollar exponential growth trajectory should hit its target, its only because we Zimbabweans would have awoken from the slumber of tardiness.

At whatever level or occasion be it social, political, religious or business Zimbabweans are always late. Presidents of business associations, church pastors, wedding masters of ceremonies, civil society directors, chairpersons of school development associations, Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, doctors are all guilty of coming late.

If it is true that time is money, by the time Zimbabweans get there, the vault will be empty!
Time is a horoligical discipline used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them.

World traveller Ferdinand Magellan adopted the hour glass to measure the flow of time while Isaac Newton noted time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence.

Antiphon the Sophist held that time is not a reality, but a concept or a measure (Wikipedia). No wonder why we Zimbabweans do not keep time its a figment of surreal abstraction!

Funny enough, African Egyptians had time keeping embedded in their rich history, erecting obelisks and placing them in strategic locations to cast shadows from the sun. African Zimbabweans have not stopped using the distance between the sun and horizons as the only measure of time!

Politicians and ministers illuminate Zimbabwes solar system of lateness. Their clocks are fully functional only when they operate . . . anti-clockwise! Legend has it that even the Strong Man himself first secretary, commander-in-chief, head of state and government is a victim of tardiness.

Try attending one of his star rallies slated for mid-morning. By the time he alights from his white chopper, your mother-in-law will be SMSing you for supper! Conference conveners who do not want early admission to the ICU are cautioned against making a Zimbabwean minister keynote speaker.

These honourable ministers actually get to the podium just in time for closing remarks! It is like as soon as they accept your invitation to be guest speakers, they say to their secretaries: Please ensure I am delayed. Someone ought to show those dumb delegates how important I am!

Being late is almost a crude symbol of seniority, an act of honour!

The funny thing is that when the late Zimbabwean ministerial guest finally occupies the podium, he or she will invariably apologise: You may have to forgive me for failing to stay long enough to field any questions. I am late to another meeting . . .

What cheek, youve just arrived, for Petes sake! And so as we black Zimbabweans dream of a hundred-billion-dollar economy, lets wake up to reality and know what time it is first. Time, like money, waits for no man.

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