One thing Rhodesians could be trusted on was doing that which their country — no matter how bizarre — wanted done.
The Rhodesians would do it, no lip service, something that Zanu PF finds hard, if not impossible altogether, to do.
Zimbabweans behave like visitors or passers-by who cannot make definite decisions and implement them. If anything, they only do what they cannot avoid doing because if they can avoid to do it, it would never be done. Of late the most euphonious tune “illegal sanctions imposed by the West” has made it so easy for President Robert Mugabe to escape responsibility and accountability.
Yet, towards the end of settler colonial rule in this country, Rhodesians were under real — not imagined — economic sanctions.
Instead of being crybabies, they made sure they displayed the best of themselves to the world.
After the future leader of Mozambique Samora Machel closed his country’s border with Rhodesia in 1974, Rhodesians decided to open another export route to South Africa by building a railway line linking Rutenga and Beitbridge.
Although engineering experts put the timeline for the construction of the 145km railway line at 24 months, such was the commitment of the Rhodesians that the project was completed in a world record time of just 93 days, 21 months ahead of schedule.
In cruel comparison, it has taken Mugabe nearly 36 years to plan the construction of a 30km railway line linking Harare and Chitungwiza.
Many people marvel at the engineering feat displayed at the Victoria Falls bridge. For anyone to believe it took the Rhodesians just 14 months to construct the 198-metre-long steel structure across the mighty Zambezi River would appear like a real miracle.
Another jaw-dropping project, the Birchenough Bridge across Save River at 329 metres was the third longest single-arch suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1935.
In comparison, it took about 12 years for the government’s ever-changing contractors to dualise the 40km road between Harare and Norton at an unknown cost. At this rate, one can only wonder how many centuries the dualisation of the 900km Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway could take.
In Zimbabwe today, people are busy shouting patriotic slogans during the day, while at night they are busy doing everything to advance their personal and very selfish interests. Let us wait and see where barren patriotism and excuses will take Zimbabwe.