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Please stop making our children idolise tyranny, Mr President

Opinion & Analysis
The greatest ability children were given by the Creator, as a learning tool, is emulating, and thus copying, their parents whom they naturally adore and glorify.

CHILDREN usually become like their parents.

That is why there is the saying, “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

The greatest ability children were given by the Creator, as a learning tool, is emulating, and thus copying, their parents whom they naturally adore and glorify.

As such, if a parent is kind, compassionate and loving the children will, in most cases, similarly be kind, compassionate and loving.

In the same vein, if a parent is unfaithful, cruel or abusive, the children will most likely follow suit.

This same principle is true even at a national level.

What a country’s leader does is usually emulated and copied by the younger generation, since the ruling elite is ordinarily looked upon with admiration by the impressionable generation.

That is why when I watched the news snippet of last week’s official opening of the Child Parliament, my heart sank.

Child President Pious Nleya, as he “inspected” the children’s “guard of honour”, was swamped and drowned in a sea of “bodyguards”.

As he addressed the gathering, he also had a uniformed “aide-de-camp” standing behind him.

To cap it all, he even donned a similar scarf to the one regularly worn by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

I was shocked! In fact, I was totally disappointed!

This young man has become a little Mnangagwa.

Surely, this boy does not idolise Mnangagwa and aspire to be like him, does he? If so, then Zimbabwe is in serious trouble.

If nothing is done to stop this cruel indoctrination, then, in all likelihood, we have a cold-blooded dictator, with the propensity to loot national resources, in the making.

Of course, this whole performance by the Child President was merely an act.

However, what it symbolised was extremely worrisome and did not paint a very inspiring picture for the future of our young ones and the country at large.

For what reason would anyone surely want to be another Mnangagwa?

Who does not know that our leaders in Zimbabwe are actually not genuinely loved by the people they lead?

Who does not know that their claim to power was never through any real democratic process?

Who does not know that the only reason leaders like Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party are still in power today is on account of their brutal repression of ordinary citizens with many lying in graves merely for exercising their right to choose a different leader for Zimbabwe?

Even Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe recently told Zimbabweans, in no uncertain terms, that Zanu PF would rule “until donkeys grow horns”, whether we like it or not.

He promised to employ brute coercion through what he called “command voting”, in forcing people to vote for Zanu PF.

In the midst of all the talk by Mnangagwa of having “fought for Zimbabwe’s independence”, the country has actually been handed over to the Chinese who are plundering our precious minerals with impunity while displacing local communities from their ancestral lands.

Employees at Chinese companies are treated like slaves and second-class citizens in their own country.

The working conditions are far worse than during the colonial years, something our parents who were employed during that period can easily attest to.

Does the young generation ever wonder where the wealth from the 60 minerals we are endowed with in Zimbabwe is going as we swim in a sea of untold poverty and suffering, even in areas where these resources are extracted?

Can they not see that most of those leading lavish lifestyle in the country are either in power or aligned to those in power, while millions of ordinary citizens struggle to make ends meet?

Do these youth not even understand that the main reason their parents are wallowing in poverty   as they fail to provide adequately for their families is due to Mnangagwa administration’s unrepentant pillaging of our national resources, which should be equitably shared among all Zimbabweans?

It has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called “sanctions”, but a government that is willing to give away millions upon millions of dollars to those in proximity to power for no work in return.

Have they ever heard of Wicknell Chivayo, Moses Mpofu or Mike Chimombe?

Do these young people not see that the reason why they do not have much of a future ahead of them can be traced back to the Mnangagwa regime’s ruinous and schizophrenic economic policies?

That is why most of them are destined for a life of vending, criminality, prostitution and drug abuse.

Yet, only a few decades ago, our towns and cities had busy railway lines criss-crossing them as industries boomed, with the country producing goods of all kind, most of which were exported far and wide.

Today, those railway lines are invisible, as they are covered by thickets of bush and tall tress   as a sign of many years of disuse due to the demise of our manufacturing and comercial sectors.

Speaking about illicit drugs, do these young ones ever wonder why drug lords are never arrested and brought to book?

Do they not see a carefully crafted scheme to get this new generation hooked to drugs so that they cannot think for themselves and thus not rise up against a regime that has stolen their future?

Meanwhile drug lords, connected to the powerful, will be making a lot of money.

Why on God’s green earth, then, would any young person aspire to be another Mnangagwa?

Surely, who, in their right mind, would actually believe that running down a country and bringing indescribable misery on people’s lives is a good thing?

What is there to emulate when once vibrant towns and cities now go for months and years without water, yet at independence, this basic human right was accessible to all in urban areas?

Let these youth not forget that the Water Act [Chapter 20:24] compels the State to ensure the availability of water to all citizens of Zimbabwe for primary purposes and other uses.

Why admire someone who has practically abandoned rural areas to rot, which have remained largely undeveloped since the colonial era, over 44 years ago?

In fact, as the Child Parliament sat, did it take stock of how many schools are in Zimbabwe’s rural areas and, of those, how many had access to electricity, the internet and modern learning equipment, including science and ICT laboratories?

In fact, how many rural homes are connected to the national power grid or have piped water?

Do they ever wonder why there are so few health-care facilities in the country, forcing many people to walk long distances sometimes of more than 20km to the nearest clinic, particularly in rural areas?

In addition, these medical institutions lack even the most basic medication, except that provided by donors, such as for HIV and Aids, TB and others.

If these young people could research and think for themselves, they would realise that the person they idolise is the cause of most of these problems.

We now expect a generation of youth that wants to do things differently from the Zanu PF regime.

We need a breed of young people who actually desire to see a Zimbabwe where everyone enjoys a high standard of living.

We want to see youth who dream of respecting the sanctity of life and the rights of every Zimbabwean.

We desperately need a generation of young people who believe that success comes from honest, hard work as opposed to stealing national resources.

All this can never be achieved by emulating the wrong person   more so the author of the misery engulfing millions of ordinary citizens.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on: [email protected].

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