While negotiating my way past gullies that we politely refer to as potholes, it struck my mind that we, Zimbabweans, are so hopeful that we may be hoping against hope.
We hope, for instance, that the corruption-infested councils will one day fill up these gullies despite evidence to the contrary, as we see them bent on investing more than 70% of revenue collected in salaries and allowances for the big fish in clear violation of the law.
We are so hopeful that we envisage a miracle happening to transform our corrupt-minded police into the professional force that they once were. Who does not remember that when we were young for instance, we knew that if you get lost in the city, the person to ask for directions was the nearest police officer? But now it seems safer to ask for directions from an armed robber, lest you are charged a bribe by the corrupt-minded cops for merely asking for directions to some place.
It is our hopeful nature that makes us think one day the majority will benefit from the crumbs of indigenisation programmes despite overwhelming evidence of who actually benefits from the policy. The real beneficiaries are seen by their fruit — mansions, bulging tummies, sleek cars, multiple farms, multiple companies, multiple mistresses and hordes of immovable properties among others, amid acute poverty, ballooning unemployment and gnawing hunger.
We hope that one day government will have mercy on us despite the rising number of tollgates we see every day, the increase in import duty, the absurdly high fines, the widening range of taxes and the unending introduction of levies in the midst of company closures, ever-rising unemployment and poverty.
We are so hopeful that we think our education system will continue to be revered around the world in spite of the leakage of public examination papers and the dubious degrees awarded by our once reputable institutions. Thousands still hope their children will become educated despite schools turning them away for lack of schools fees despite government’s pronouncements to the contrary.
Our absurd hopeful nature makes us think the 2,2 million jobs promised by government will materialise when we see the remaining companies closing by the day and when we see companies and government struggling to pay their workers, with the big fish awarding themselves hefty perks and not giving a damn about it.
We are still hopeful that foreign direct investment will flow in despite discord among our policymakers and policies that are perceived by investors as scary.
With renewed hope every year, we send our children to school and universities in the hope that they will later get jobs and help build the nation despite the glaring fact that at the rate we are going, we might not have a single industry kicking by 2018.
We hope that our government will listen to our grievances someday despite its use of the baton, prison and tear smoke to silence genuine complaints.
We still, hopefully, look up to our politicians for salvation even though they contemptuously show us that they are bent on lining their pockets. We have seen how they say something while meaning the opposite.
We still hope for democracy when one gets into serious trouble for merely smelling like the opposition.
We still entertain hopes that corruption will be uprooted one day when the real culprits, the big fish, seem immune to prosecution. Only the small or insignificant fish, who are not part of the roots, are fingered as a token gesture.
Our hopeful tendencies drive us to think that we will once again be a united nation while our politicians divide us on political lines as they politicise everything, including food aid. It is a shuddering thought to imagine how many people will starve after failing to access food aid because of the nature of their crime — smelling like the opposition.
We continue to hope that our civil service and parastatals will perform better when political appointees, whose allegiance is not to the nation but to their benefactors, man these institutions. Isn’t it a fact of life that he who pays the piper calls the tune?
And we have become so hopeful that we think great God will come from the sky, take away everything, and make everybody feel high. But we keep on hoping. Hope keeps us alive. We just hope that we are hopefuls not hope fools.
l Kamurai Mudzingwa writes in his personal capacity. Feedback firstname.lastname@example.org