A couple of hours before dawn, the morning star announces the arrival of a new day. It’s an epiphany of hopefulness. The lone star proudly informs everyone, ‘ today is the first day of the rest of your life!’ lndeed the same star announced such news to a nation on a bright 18 April day in 1980. A protracted war of liberation had finally come to an end. The country was finally in dark hands.
18 April was an auspicious day. The black side of the country was in a festive mood. Expectancy hung in the air; one could almost touch it. The clouds were heavy with hope, the air humid and laden with immense possibilities. 18 April, BaBona (may his soul rest in peace) made that inaugural speech “…arm in arm …in a new amity.” He tapped into the mood of the masses and eloquently expressed the nation’s way forward; the aspirations of the people and articulated what we, the Comrades on the war front, always held dear; that is self-determination in matters national, economic and political, land, wealth redistribution, equal opportunities; education, access to health care within reach.
I felt proud to be Zimbabwean and proud alive at such an important point in our country’s history. Earlier on in the preceding months two boys had been born in the extended family, Tawanda and Tongai, children born into a truly new dispensation, boys who were going to take that quantum leap into manhood maturing in tandem with the country, they had the world and possibilities at their feet, standing as potential torch bearers of newness as they seemed in sync with developments in Zimbabwe. What a time to be born.
Pensions for all people were guaranteed; Zimbabwean children were not to be schooled in some other syllabi, but the very same one a child in Liverpool or London or Staffordshire was having; civil servant were to earn competitive salaries, Zimbabwe was to be a leader in food security, regional cooperation, an economic hub of the region.
Now, there was a father – BaBona – the Joshua to lead us into a new Zim. He was the man of the moment – held in high esteem locally and abroad. The number of schools was increased, aggressive teacher training, built and capacitate clinics and hospitals, improving infrastructure, set up parastatals to support delivery of essential services to the masses, encourage mining and local metal processing, bolster industry and production. Zimbabwe the Jewel of Africa was running like a well piled machine, purring like a cat for at least a decade and a half.
Ipapo Pfungwa dzeunhubu dzadzisati dzavapo.
In 1991-1992 there was a severe drought that hit the nation hard and the agricultural base was shaken to the core. On the political front the government had also adopted the Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) which, among other measures, saw the retrenchment of thousands of people in the drought year too. Even then, most of the economic power lay in the hands of a few people, mostly whites, so despite availability of most commodities; an economy running smoothly, one could not help but feel there was a strong undercurrent running about the state of the black people so long after 18 April 1980.
Then some cabinet Ministers also started putting their paws into the cookie jar under BaBona’s watch. The Willowgate scandal and Morris Nyagumbo, the GMB scandal with Kumbirai Kangai, some he managed to shield others had fatalities connected to them; anger simmering in Midlands and Matebenland in the aftermath of Gukurahundi, which exists to date as characterized by subtle and passive aggression of most Ndebele speaking Zimbabweans towards the Rural Party.
BaBona started crushing any opposition to his rule with a vicious vengeance to the extent that any slight disagreement with him and his policy position sometimes bled to severe castigation, expulsion from party structures, or disappearance as in the case of Itai Dzamara, who, to date the Ministry of Home Affairs and No 1 are yet to account for. BaBona eventually surrounded himself with ‘buckets full of yeses’ and thus a sycophancy was created.
The country was effectively run from the Rural Party HQ (the Shake Shake Building, aptly named not just because of the shape, me thinks, but also because Zanoids enter sober and, we all know of the inebriation that goes on inside there – only people who would have taken copious amounts of alcohol can make decisions of such catastrophic magnitude as we have witnessed since 1990 – and continually be proud of them). Then they go to Parliament, not to debate pieces of Legislation, NO, but to sleep, and then only wake up from their slumber to vote draconian bills for BaBona to sign into law. BaBona slowly became a mammoth monster.
Tina amaWar Veterans also awoke from our slumber as some of us were now retiring from the ZDF and wanted a good retirement package because the gentlemen with pens were still reaping the rewards of our gun labors. So, we had to act and we gave Dr Hunzvi a brief to table to BaBona. What we saw happening however, I must say, was far from what we were hoping to achieve. The plunder under the Rural Party continued. I used to subscribe to the goons but not anymore. Zimbabweans and the international Community became worried and they acted, civil disobedience started locally and other sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe; BaBona dug in.
Zimbabweans, as a result, suffered from the strain of industry closures, money shortages, basic commodity shortages, corruption and sanctions, still BaBona vakati handiende, and dug in deeper. In fact, he unleashed the security forces on the populace, with a clear message especially before elections that said, oppose the Rural Party at your own risk! People were coerced to vote for the Rural Party, food aid, violence, armed forces, laws, and Rural Party youths were all crafted and aligned on such a way that they intimidated the citizens into voting against the grain of developments. Zimbabwe continued to burn whilst the bigwigs were watering their lawns. The Rural Party’s policies were busy sinking into the quicksand of truth – the truth of sound economic models and the basic tenets of democracy. Hyperinflation set in, and the economy was in a free fall.
Opposition parties came and went, the MDC launched a serious challenge to the Rural Party’s hegemony and dare I say that they won plebiscites only to be denied and thwarted overtly and subtlety more often than not. GNU was formed but the rot continued. The final straw hit the fan when Mai Bo a was now being propped up to take over the reigns in the Rural Party (and by extension demonically the country) from BaChatunga. This time, opposition emerged from within, from tearing away ‘Gamatox’ entered Lacoste and G40 (who was opposition and ruling party, only God knows). That’s when Herod Scarfmore usurped power. (‘Ahhh Moda ndisatongawo’, it must have quipped). BaBona was eventually forced to step down in a most humiliating fashion imaginable for a man of such a stature.
Zimbabweans marched, celebrated, clapped and ululated at the fall of BaChatunga, and the subsequent elevation of Herod the Fox. The New Old Dispensation tried to explain away their actions and to rubber stamp their coup as not a coup. They set a precedent.
Herod Scarfmore promised wholesale changes to the moral fabric of the Rural Party, to the national political ethic, he vowed to name and shame and prosecute the politicians who were looting under BaChatunga’s watch – the criminals who were surrounding him. But, surprisingly, no one has been arrested yet. There surely is no honor amongst thieves – or friends in this case. No one in the high echelons of power is talking about that anymore, neither is anyone talking about the 15 billion that disappeared in the economy.
Instead, following a hotly contested election, and disputed result, Herod Scarfmore deployed soldiers onto the Streets of the capital, with orders to fire live ammunition on the citizens he had taken an oath to protect only a few days before. Of course, pakangoitwa Mothlante Commission of Enquiry and the government spent money it doesn’t have, to have the commission ‘find’ what we already knew they were going to find – nothing! But the buck stops with the Commander in Chief of the Army there and the First Citizen, so we can safely draw a logical conclusion, we are being ruled by someone with citizen’s blood on his head and hands. What such a person is called legally I leave to your discretion.
Now its 18 April 2020, the old wine has been supposedly put into new wineskins, the dung has been hitting the fan continuously for the past 40 years. A few days ago, Mthuli and Pakaipa have done it again, de-dollarizing, after dollarizing, and demonetizing after monetizing…God help us. We are in a freefall once again. Someone please tell me what the difference between these two countries is.
I received an email from my nephew Tawanda only a few days ago in which he was venting and asking salient questions about the sanity of these gentlemen running the economy alongside Herod. Let me quote him ad verbatim.
Just finished reading the Depolarization article and was about to say the thing…. I have heard and read the same things since 1997/98 ndichiita A Level economics ku Gokomere. Makes for exciting reading but implementation on the ground dololo. For how long has this song of policy consistency being sang? He talks about bringing down annual inflation from the current 3-digits (540%) to 2-digits (90%) by December in this present environment ye corona and drought. How is that possible? Anyone who has done basic economics will tell you that is contrary to the Keynesian model. The government has injected money into a comatose economy like ours in order to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus and the drought, and when that is done without being backed by an increase in production capacity leads to inflationary pressures. Despite the supply-side challenges that have always be-devilled the Zimbabwe economy, corona has induced a global lull in economic activity never experienced before since the great 1933 great depression, so how does production capacity increase to bring in a balance to stem the inflationary pressures which will result in such drastic decrease in inflation.
Izvo zvema forex retentions, the industrialists have long clamored for that to be scrapped so that companies are able to use their forex resources to recapitalize but government iri kuramba because haina mari. But as long as the companies are not able to recapitalize how then do we boost capacity to be able to produce enough for ourselves and be able to export and generate the forex that will eventually take us out of this hole in the long term that we have dug for ourselves.
He seems to be very happy to allow companies to pay employees’ salaries in forex and disbursements of remittances of forex from the diaspora so that one way or other they mop out that forex into the government coffers. After they take that money there go to use it for their own their private businesses asinei ne the common man on the ground.
On privatizing the state enterprises, it’s a song that has been played over and over again in every budget statement and not much happened on that front. Private-public partnerships akanaka chose but mu Zimbabwe there are used to line the pockets of the politically well-connected. In Zimbabwe today who doesn’t know about Sir Wicknell Chivayo and Gwanda Solar project.
So, the long and short of it ndeye kuti we have grown tired of these meaningless ‘papers’ from them. There give them a hundred and one names but hapana zvazvinoreva kwatiri. All we want is them out and then our interest in these papers and policies will be aroused again.
The man is 40 now, as old as Zimbabwe, and he is not happy. And I am using ‘not happy’ as a euphemism here.
Bob Marley came and graced our Independence celebrations in 1980 and he composed a world class song called ZIMBABWE, in which he sings in part and I quote, ‘Every man got a right to decide his own destiny, and on his judgement there is no partiality,…..so soon we will find out who is the real revolutionary….” There can be no question, BaBona had his flaws but in terms of being a revolutionary there is little doubt though debate can always happen. But as for Herod Scarfmore ahhh Kaguvi ndibatsireiwo.
I sincerely hope, Comrades, that someone out there finds something to celebrate because as far as I can see, Zimbanweans’ hopes have been dashed at almost every turn over the past 40 years and frustration is mounting. This is all I have now fellow citizens, a lament for the glory days, a lament for aspirations that have gone unrealized and another term of ruin.
Alas, as a patriotic Zimbabwean, a true comrade in both the physical and psychological quest for a better Zimbabwe, I wouldn’t go without saying happy birthday Zimbawe.
Till next time folks, – silence is not always golden. I write to speak up!
Adious Amigos, song, wine, pork bones and sadza. Out.