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Even a 5-year-old sees failure

Opinion & Analysis
Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 I REMEMBER when my son was still a little child in the early 2000s I gave him a wad of banknotes worth millions of Zimbabwe dollars to buy sweets and freezits.

Of course, at his age (around five years old) he had absolutely no idea that this price tag was unbelievably ridiculous — for trinkets that would normally cost a few cents.

There was need for us as parents to gradually make this fact known and understood in his rather novice mind — so that, as we repeatedly spoke about how the Zimbabwe government had made life a torturous living hell — he would steadily comprehend and appreciate that there was definitely nothing normal about our livelihood.

Indeed, what could be normal when one had to part with a billion Zimbabwe dollars to buy a loaf of bread, or maize meal (the country’s staple food) costing trillions, if not quadrillions, of our hard-to-get cash?

This was during the time Zimbabwe hogged the international news headlines for insane incomprehensible record-breaking annual inflation rates hitting the 89 sextillion percentage mark, with one United States dollar worth 2,6 trillion in the local currency.

As much as we had those conversations on how life had been made intolerable by the ruling establishment — I, nonetheless, seriously doubt if my son actually got the point.

I am sure, it was still too complex, if not impossible, to successfully put across this fact — as his was still a small mind to grasp such intricacies of the world in which we live.

Nonetheless, today, the unmitigated failures by the present government are too clear-cut and simple to understand — even for a five-year-old.

Surely, would it not be strange, even for a child, to spend the entire day without electricity — cooking on an open fire, with the television set turned off all day, and then sitting in the dark at night, while bumping into furniture that is difficult to see?

Yet knowing fully well that, in normal times — whatever that may mean in a weird country like Zimbabwe, where each day has its own strange struggles (which those in other States hardly think about, but take for granted) — the family usually cooked on an electric stove, watched television and the house was well-lit during evenings.

Why would these children not wonder what had gone wrong; and, why they had to live under such bizarre circumstances?

It would be quite obvious that something was undeniably amiss.

Of course, for parents — unlike back then when my son was still only but a child — today, it is easier explaining how the ruling establishment had made a huge mess of running the affairs of the nation.

When children inquire what happened to the electricity — or, where it has gone — the answer is quite simple.

We just tell them that those in authority have made a career of looting the abundant riches our God lovingly blessed us with — which should have been used to give us electricity and develop our nation and livelihoods as a whole — for their own selfish aggrandisement.

We show them, wherever possible, the lavish lifestyles of those in power, or linked to them — which are in stark contrast to the poverty and suffering our children experience on a daily basis.

With a bit of intelligence, it is not too difficult for them to notice that there is phenomenal wealth in this country — but which, somehow, ends up in the hands (or rather, pockets) of only a small elitist political group — while, everywhere our children turn, they see misery and more misery, impoverishment and more impoverishment.

Not only are their homes without electricity — but, their parents find it extremely arduous to put food on the table (as they no longer have three square meals a day), they hardly get new clothes, and they attend schools lacking the required learning material.

They also know fully well how burdensome it is spending hours each day fetching water at boreholes, far away from their residence — and, having to carry disproportionately weighty containers back — due to the unavailability of the precious liquid in their home for months or even years.

Today’s children can certainly tell, and see, how the so-called Second Republic has ruined their parents’ and their own lives — to these unacceptable, deplorable and egregious levels.

Indeed, even a five-year-old can tell that this regime and its leaders has failed to unbelievably shameful and embarrassing depths.


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