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Zim going nowhere fast

Opinion & Analysis
Mnangagwa commissioned Rwenya Bridge in Mudzi South, which was reconstructed after having been swept away by floods in 2013.

TRY to picture this, South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa gathering hundreds of people to watch him officially open a bridge — possibly in the remotest parts of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape province.

Or, maybe United States President Joe Biden issuing title deeds to settlers somewhere deep in Eureka Springs in Arkansas.

I find it nearly impossible even picturing President Xi Jinping cutting a ribbon at a newly-built clinic and borehole in Kuijiu, southwest China.

In fact, just for the kicks, I decided to Google if these world leaders ever partook in such otherwise laughable “presidential functions”.

What popped up, though, was Ramaphosa officially opening the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) World Conference, and Africa Investment Forum — both hosted by South Africa in 2018.

Yet, here in our beloved Zimbabwe, there is never a shortage of instances of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa moving around the country officially opening/commissioning bridges, clinics and boreholes.

He has even gone as far as issuing title deeds (which were actually deeds of grant) to residents — a job that should ordinarily be for some lowly local authority clerk.

On Friday, Mnangagwa commissioned Rwenya Bridge in Mudzi South, which was reconstructed after having been swept away by floods in 2013. I could not help but wonder: “Surely, where are we going as a country when a whole president finds immense pride in, and regards as a sign of phenomenal development, commissioning a bridge?”

Mind you, this is not the first time, considering that he also opened Karanda Bridge (Mt Darwin) in 2021. He has also opened several clinics and boreholes – notably in Epworth and Chitungwiza.

Of course, Mnangagwa regards all these as opportunities to campaign and canvass for support — moreso as crucial elections are around the corner — where he portrays himself as piloting magnificent achievements in the country.

As much as this may, on the surface, appear as a cunning plan nonetheless, it actually leaves a sense of hopelessness and despair in the minds and hearts of many ordinary Zimbabweans like myself.

Granted, all political leaders around the world love to flaunt what they perceive as their successes — thereby garnering public support in the process. However, it becomes a huge problem when these “successes” manifest in the mould of a few clinics and boreholes, as well as a bridge here and there.

Normally, people prefer to show off what they consider as their best or greatest achievements.

Thus, someone who believes his academic feats are what define him — they will post their graduation pictures on social media, and even insist on being referred to as “doctor” or “professor”.

In the same vein, when we see an individual parading their vehicles (no matter how expensive or inexpensive), we should all know that this is their biggest achievement in life.

Similarly, all those who choose to post pictures of themselves, especially if they are beautifully endowed — are telling us that their bodies are the best they have to offer the world. Therefore, when our President transverses the length and breadth of the country commissioning bridges, clinics and boreholes, or doling out deeds of grant — then, those are what he regards as the most outstanding achievements of his tenure.

Is that not worrying and extremely unsettling?

In a country such as Zimbabwe where half the population lives in extreme poverty, with two-thirds of the workforce earning below the poverty datum line, while most youths are not gainfully employed — surely there is more to success than merely opening boreholes.

If Mnangagwa wanted to show off his achievements to mobilise support, would it not have made far more sense to implement measures that bring down the rabid exchange rate which is now hovering around $3 000 to the greenback on the parallel market  to single digits? This would render most commodities affordable to the general populace?

Who would not be happy if he flaunted how his government was now paying civil servants salaries that bring back their dignity so that they can afford their own houses and vehicles, while providing their families a comfortable lifestyle?

Would Mnangagwa not be a hero if all the country’s healthcare facilities had affordable and easily accessible treatment services – instead of rescuing them from death traps that they have become?

Yet, none of these “real achievements” are evident on the ground and all he has to show for the five years of his presidency are a few boreholes, clinics and bridges as well as patched up roads.

That is tragic!

It also paints a terrifying picture of the direction this country is going. Surely, what hope do we have under this government, when all we see is mediocrity? The future does not look bright at all for the people of Zimbabwe

What has this regime really managed to do, except to loot our vast mineral resources for self-aggrandisement?

Is that not why the regime recently gazetted a law that seeks to legalise corruption in our construction and health sectors by concealing from public scrutiny procurement details? Fortunately the regime was forced to make a humiliating U-turn after a national outrage?

Is that not also the reason why the Mnangagwa administration wants legislation that effectively clamps down and silence private voluntary organisations known for exposing shady deals and for calling the authorities to order?

As long as we have this regime in power, the lives of ordinary citizens will continue going down the path of poverty and suffering.

Even the boreholes, clinics and bridges will cease being constructed, since all our resources are going into the pockets of those in power and their cronies — leaving the nation with absolutely nothing.

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