I HAVE noticed a very disturbing trend in Zimbabwe — which I strongly believe is one of the main reasons why we are not moving forward as a nation.
As much as there is polarisation in the political realm, there is also polarisation in the economic space where those who feel they are financially-secure, distance themselves from the struggling masses who wish for a better Zimbabwe.
Of course, we do have individuals who appear well-to-do, and deeply involved in the fight against oppression and the poverty afflicting millions of Zimbabweans — at the blood-soaked hands of the ruling elite, who expend their time looting our national resources for their own self-aggrandisement — at the expense of millions of ordinary citizens who are callously abandoned to wallow in sickening impoverishment.
However, it would appear, this handful of activists, who seem ready to stand with the poor, are mainly found in partisan politics — which could be a way of furthering their own self-serving interests as opposed to genuinely doing it for the man, woman and child on the street.
The question, then, is: where are the rest of the “haves” in fearlessly speaking out and standing up against the ruthless repression and sadistic suffering that has been brought upon the people of this country by the political elite?
This is a question that has perplexed me for a long time, with one or two likely explanations coming to mind.Zimbabweans are so fond of status and being seen by all as doing very well in life.
Is that not why we love posting our pictures in front of departure lounges at international airports, or as we sit comfortably in airplanes, or standing next to landmarks in mainly American or European countries (seldom in our own), or showing off our expensive vehicles?What would be the motive behind such displays?
Is this not because of our own deep-seated low self-esteem — which compels us to inform the world that we are not poor or struggling in life but rather we have made it, and are living the “good life”.
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We feel that everyone has to know — in case they think we are still suffering.In so doing, there is no way someone with such a mindset will be seen complaining over the horrendous destruction of the economy by those on power and how life in Zimbabwe is tough.
For them, expressing such sentiments would be akin to admitting to be suffering as well.Yet, that is purely misguided thinking.
Let us look at the people of these countries which we are so fond of visiting or are already domiciled.
Do we not find citizens who enjoy a much higher standard of living actually striking, demonstrating or engaging in other forms of protest action — either in holding their leaders accountable — or expressing their utter outrage at their governments’ failures or shortcomings?
Why do they do so? It is quite simple.
For example, Meta founder and head Mark Zuckerberg certainly knows that any poor policies by Joe Biden’s United States administration can cost him millions, if not billions, of dollars — and as such, he will never hesitate to speak out and stand up in protest over any mismanagement by those elected into office.
He will never stay silent in some distorted and misguided belief that only the poverty-stricken have something to complain about.
No matter one’s social and financial station in life, the fight for justice, fairness and a better life is for all of us. Everyone of us deserves a much higher standard of living than what we currently have today regardless of the fact that some of us earn less than US$1,90 a day, while others are on the Forbes Magazine’s list of richest people, or have had the opportunity to fly on an airplane.
I am reminded of my first time to travel overseas — in 1988, as a 15-year-old, when I was chosen to represent Zimbabwe in Australia at a scouting jamboree.
It appeared as if everyone else around me was more excited about me boarding the Qantas flight than I was — since, even at that age, I believed there was more to life than flying on an airplane — which is just a mode of transportation, in the same mould as a bus, car or train, simply designed to take an individual from one place to the other.
I was more concerned about what I was going to Australia for which, in all honesty, I would have equally cherished even had this jamboree been held here in Zimbabwe.
My point is that let us not celebrate mediocrity since there are so many other heights we need to accomplish as a people. Let us not hide behind our own notion of “success”, which came at the expense of the millions of fellow compatriots who are unable to even have three square meals a day due to unimaginable poverty.
Just because one can afford some of these necessities of life should never translate into denying that such challenges exist in our country, or not caring about those who lack.
Besides, as already mentioned, what “wealth” do we really have to afford to ignore the economic crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe?
Even someone like Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa — listed as one of the wealthiest people on the African continent, and obviously the richest in Zimbabwe — should know fully well that the continued mishandling of our economy, and grand looting of our resources by only a few, will inevitably also eat away large chunks of his profit margins.
So who are we (who are mere journalists, activists, civil servants, doctors, lawyers, accountants, farmers, or small to medium scale entrepreneurs) to keep quiet — in the face of a country being led downhill by a cruel and clueless ruling elite whose only expertise is stealing, killing and destroying?
Speaking out and standing up against the suffering inflicted upon Zimbabweans does not mean people will view you as poor. Besides, what shame is there in openly expressing one’s suffering unless if being prevented from doing so on account of crippling low self-esteem which pushes us to be more concerned about how others perceive us, while portraying a false image?
As far as I am concerned, this is one of the biggest hurdles stopping Zimbabweans from strongly standing together and bravely for our rights and of the less privileged.