ZCTU, why spare Byo council over rates hike

That the United States has not seized a great opportunity to walk the talk on its human rights mantra shows that things are not what they appear to be.

CONWAY TUTANI

It was always too much to expect US President Donald Trump — addicted to sanctions as America is — to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia for the disappearance, torture and murder of a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2.

Addicted to sanctions as the US is, there is too much at stake for the US to lose — such as the $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the 500 000 US jobs linked to that, as Trump pointed out, saying “we cannot punish ourselves” (by slapping sanctions on Saudi Arabia) despite the gross human rights violation committed by Saudi Arabia.

Yes, there won’t be any sanctions on Saudi Arabia like the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act because it will be too big a price to pay for both parties, that is, the Americans and Saudis.

This is to disabuse some fellow Zimbabweans of the wrong notion that the US is the biggest upholder of human rights as they have been falsely led to believe.

This is also to point out the insidiously and suicidally harmful nature of sanctions.

That’s why opposition politician David Coltart wrote in his book, The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe (published in 2016) that in 2010, after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009: “I … felt that the remaining sanctions were past their sell-by date … we met a broad spectrum of American politicians for support of the GNU and removal of sanctions.

Our task, however, was hampered by disparate voices within the MDC-T, some of whom were quietly encouraging the Americans and others to retain sanctions, while publicly calling for their removal.”

Yes, like Trump said, we should not punish ourselves.

Fast-forward eight years, these same politicians are still as duplicitous as ever, urging the US — behind closed doors as they did in 2010 — to tighten the sanctions while saying publicly that the government is failing, but deliberately not mentioning that those sanctions that they are behind, having become poster boys of the US embassy, are largely responsible for the suffering of the majority as the sanctions have ramifications of closing vital global lines of credit and — through sanctions-busting and creating shortages in the economy — worsen the already rampant corruption in the public sector, private sector and civil society.

There is a lot of ignorance resulting in some of these people glorifying and romanticising the racist colonial past, saying there was only 5% unemployment in Rhodesia, but that 5% pertained to whites only, as blacks were regarded as sub-humans, thus, in many cases not factored in statistically. Such a misconception is so shockingly ignorant that it reveals that those who believe it to have had a very narrow and very specific kind of indoctrination.

The number of blacks migrating to urban areas was strictly controlled by whites. Because of the resultant ratio of more men than women in towns, this gave rise to prostitution on an industrial and commercial scale and associated social vices. Because accommodation was for single males, not families, the Smith regime broke families.

The underground counterculture — as seen in the gang culture and moral maze now embedded in the overcrowded Mbare hostels — is a by-product of Rhodesia’s apartheid system.

There is also the misconception that there is no underclass in the West.

The basic problem of the inner-city underclass is inadequate housing and lack of jobs.

Likewise, we have an urban underclass in Zimbabwe like in the ghettos of New York.

And anyone who thinks the slums of London were swept away decades ago only needs to see pictures released by British charity organisation Shelter.

Families living and sleeping in cramped flea-ridden and rat-infested hostel rooms, such as Hyleford Hostel in East London, is not unusual — the same as at Matapi Hostels in Mbare, Harare.

And at times we point fingers at government when we are equally to blame like in 2013 when people — including you and me — became complicit in the outrage by then Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo of cancelling all outstanding local authority bills despite the sensible and valid objections of the then main opposition MDC-T party, warning of financial disaster ahead.

Yes, taking the easy way out — choosing or finding a solution or means of dealing with a situation or problem that requires the least amount of effort or hardship, but which does not achieve the best results or meaningfully resolve the issue — has consequences.

Now we see the same taking-the-easy-way-out syndrome over what needs to be done to turn around the economy, with some people condemning each and every move taken by government instead of offering constructive criticism.

Last week, we had Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe not only demanding bonuses for teachers, but saying they should be paid in US dollars. This is voodoo economics borne out of economic illiteracy.

Linked to that simplistic view is the myth doing the rounds that the current economic upheavals have everything to do with the results of the 2018 harmonised elections, and this myth is being reinforced by the false mantra that “you can rig the election, but you cannot rig the economy”.

It needs to be restated that the current measures being implemented are in direct response to the preconditions set by international creditors long before the elections for Zimbabwe to clear its foreign debt and get balance-of-payments support.

This has nothing or the least to do with whether someone won or lost an election.

Those who listened closely and carefully before the elections and after former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster in November 2017 knew this bitter economic pill was coming and that there is no other way than to swallow it stoically.

One thing for sure is that I will not allow myself to be drawn into the antagonistic binary narrative of those people — some of them economists— who are determined to see the economic stabilisation programme fail, not on economic-sense grounds.

It’s not debatable that some people are hoping and praying for Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s failure for blatantly selfish political reasons in total disregard of the greater good.

There is always initial resistance to new measures, but people will eventually get used to that tax if they see the benefits of it all.

And many people are willing to pay that tax because they see that as sensible and necessary in the circumstances.

Let’s not presume that all people are against it.

And if the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is genuinely against the 2% electronic transfer tax to the extent of calling for nationwide demonstrations against the move, can it also seize the opportunity by walking the talk and call for Bulawayo residents to demonstrate against Bulawayo City Council for increasing rates by 5%?
Or they will be reluctant and selective — like Trump over Saudi Arabia — since Bulawayo City Council is run by MDC Alliance, their close political ally?

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10 Comments

    1. But how come you read through the nonsense?

  1. Someone rang me to tell me about this article.
    What do you think colonialists came to Africa to do? They came to seek fortune, wealth. What sort of houses were there before whites came? Rondavels. There were no towns before 1890. Whites came and built towns. Lets take Mugabe’s teacher, Oscar Munyoro, who walked from Mtoko area on foot, for 7 days, to seek work in the then Salisbury in the 1930s. He had nothing. Wearing thongs only. The kind white farmer gave Oscar Munyoro work as a cattle herder and somewhere to live. Did you expect the white farmer to build a stately home for this cattle herder? Where was the money to build a stately home going to come from? The white farmer did not break Oscar Munyoro’s family – he came alone.
    Tutani, did you expect whites to build stately houses for everyone? Why would they do so? You probably have a servant or servants at your house – where do they stay? Have you built them stately homes? Post the pictures, their names and the homes you built for them on this website.
    The dwellers of the dirty hostels in Mbare in the colonial era were lucky to have even single rooms to stay. Nobody was stopping them building their own homes – they had no money to build their own homes. If a person is not happy about the situation they find themselves in then that person has to do something about it, be it housing, work or marriage. You cannot just sit back if you are not happy about something – change the situation, do something about it instead of sitting on your backside and moaning about the situation.
    I do not believe in your as*ertion, “Such a misconception is so shockingly ignorant that it reveals that those who believe it to have had a very narrow and very specific kind of indoctrination”. As an educated man yourself I find your views myopic and shocking.
    Oscar Munyoro’s life history shows you how it all started when the black person had nothing, zero and owes a lot to the generous whites who colonised the land. If you think of GEJO versus the back-breaking hand hoe (BADZA), schools, hospitals, etc. then you will realise what the whites did was priceless.
    If you look at what is happening at the Mexico border where South American families are walking for miles from places like Venezuela, Colombia etc. just to get to rich America and America is complaining it cannot look after every S American who fancies coming to America. This is how whites felt during the early days of colonialism. Mas* migration has its own attendant problems like providing adequate medical facilities, schools, homes etc. for new arrivals.
    Where is it written that whites had a duty to look after blacks? Blacks were not paying income tax in Rhodesia by the way. If you do not pay taxes you cannot expect to enjoy first clas* facilities like those who paid taxes, simple as that.
    You are an educated man, I do not see why you do not understand this logic?

  2. One sentence should read, “Lets take Mugabe’s teacher, Oscar Munyoro, who walked from Mtoko area, for 7 days, to seek work in the then Salisbury in the 1930s”.

  3. a very good analysis… for a long time I always believed that the sanctions imposed by America were not and are not for violation of human rights but they do so in order to benefit from a country. If they were for human rights violations then why did they ignore when south Africans were burning zimbos alive. there was a video which went viral where a white American cop shot a black teenager down and died. Is that not violation of human rights?

  4. Great article

  5. Waakupenga Conway, brain dzako dzaakuda chiremba.chawakatadzirwa ne mdc chikuru chokwadi. hauna zvimwe here zvekunyorawo waakusvota

  6. Comment…conway even yourself knows that you are getting mad

  7. Conway Tutani seems to be now on Zanu PF payroll, or is it that the election period just unmasked him. Sorry mate, your chosen party has messed up things big time and instead admitting it as gentlemen should, you parcel out blame as minions and fools do. Vadhara vakaita semi you think age is always merrit but unfortunately, it doesnt always work that way.

    1. SAMAITA DUBE, the implosion you are predicting is not going to happen any time soon. Madhara akaita sewe should know better.

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