“Everything was perfectly healthy and normal here in Denial Land,” so wrote best-selling novelist Jim Butcher in his novel Cold Days. And this priceless quote perfectly fits Zimbabwe which can be renamed Denial Land given the many denials that its leaders keep spawning each day.
Last week, air traffic controllers downed their tools for the second time this month over poor working conditions and measly remunerations, but the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) flatly denied this saying the flight disruptions were a result of some unexplained technical glitch.
And yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa met a group of political individuals, also hailing from Denial Land, to simply try and scuttle efforts being made by former South African President Thabo Mbeki to unite the troubled land of Zimbabwe. The meeting at his Kwekwe farm comes shortly after Mnangagwa denied that Mbeki “pushed for talks” when they met in Harare last week, describing the pair’s encounter as a meeting of old friends.
The President further told us that he scoffed at Mbeki’s efforts telling him that any political dialogue in Denial Land will only be held under the auspices of the Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad), the gathering that met at his Kwekwe farm yesterday. Polad is basically an alliance of denialists seeking relevance in an equation they don’t fit and it is increasingly becoming apparent that Mnangagwa is simply using them to have his way.
Given this situation, whereby the very leader of this country chooses to deny the fact that his country is in serious trouble and needs healing through genuine dialogue with those he has a dispute and not with those who love him, little wonder everyone else is now in a state of denial. Little wonder those at Caaz find it perfectly okay to tell the world that everything is cool in the face of a simmering job action. This level of denial is quite dangerous because you are putting the lives of many people at risk because air traffic controllers cannot be expected to optimally work when they are disgruntled. No one, in fact, can ever be expected to be productive when they are discontented.
This is exactly why the country is heading nowhere because our political leaders expect a disgruntled nation to toe the line despite the glaring hardships. One shudders to imagine what will be left of Zimbabwe when those leading us finally come to realise that things are not as they think they are. Denial is the biggest problem that is ever driving this country deeper into the wilderness. These are, indeed, cold days in the lives of long suffering Zimbabweans.