Mnangagwa regime has turned Zimbabweans into the laughing stock of the world! Mbofana

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


By Tendai Ruben Mbofana

When I was chosen to represent Zimbabwe and the southern African region at a scouting jamboree in Australia in 1988, I was still a 16 year old boy. We spent the Christmas holidays in Perth, and then moved to Adelaide for the remaining few weeks after the New Year in 1989.

I also still have vivid memories of the trip to Botswana during the same year’s March school holidays, and then another one to Swaziland (now eSwatini) and South Africa in August.

I used to tell my family that, 1989 was the only year I spent every school holiday outside Zimbabwe, on foreign trips.

Nonetheless, there was one distinguishing aspect standing out about all those travels – the mere mention that I was from Zimbabwe, filled those I encountered with profound admiration and respect, as they held those from this small southern African country with esteem and high regard.

Zimbabweans were viewed as highly learned and intelligent people, whose country was the ‘Jewel of Africa’ – endowed with excellent treasures, a flourishing and vibrant economy, as well as exquisite beauty.

I recall how, everywhere I went, I was treated with the utmost adoration, with strangers even excited in having pictures taken with me, and being chosen a leader on some platforms and fora, since my opinions were considered of notable value.

This enjoyable and memorable trend continued into the 1990s, during subsequent trips.

In other words, Zimbabweans were not perceived as problematic freeloaders and burdens – who should be shunned and regarded with utter disdain, rather than embraced with love and warmth – as is the embarrassing case nowadays.

As millions of citizens from our once glamorous and glorious country are forced to flee to foreign lands – on account of the unprecedented debilitating economic hardships faced for the greater part of the past two decades, but which have since reached breaking point under the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration – we find more and more Zimbabweans being treated like second class human beings, as increasingly seen as a nuisance.

In fact, if the recent viral video doing the rounds on social media, is anything to go by, then we are in a bigger mess than we thought – which featured the Limpopo provincial MEC (Member of the Executive Committee) of Health, Phophi Ramathuba, berating a Zimbabwean woman admitted at Bela Bela hospital, questioning why she (and her compatriots) were burdening the South African health delivery system (and, the broader economy, as a whole), since Mnangagwa never contributed anything to the neighbouring country’s budget.

To say I was exceedingly humiliated and ashamed watching this footage, would be an unfair understatement.

I was terribly aghast and ashamed beyond measure!

Is this how lowly we are now regarded as Zimbabweans in other countries – a bunch of loathed and unwanted parasites, who are seen as nothing more than disgusting vermin?

Surely, how did we get from some of the most respected and highly honoured people in the world – as I personally experienced on my trips in the 1980s and 90s – to being so hated and looked down upon, even inviting the fury of a whole provincial minister?

In all honesty, I do not fault the MEC for her outrage and outburst, which is a mere reflection of the wider feeling amongst South Africans – who have clearly had enough of us, and want us out of their hair!

We have even similarly witnessed the refusal by the South African government to renew Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, set to expire at the end of this year – forcing hundreds of thousands of our nationals back home – where they had understandably fled unimaginable hunger and poverty, as well as heinous and barbaric political persecution at the hands of the ZANU PF regime.

Whether that is the ‘African thing’ to do, is neither here nor there – but, there is no denying that there is a serious crisis, which can no longer be ignored.

It is undebatable that the Mnangagwa government has dismally and unpardonably failed to address the core reasons why millions of Zimbabweans are crossing the border, most times illegally, in search of some semblance of a decent livelihood – whatever that may be, considering the xenophobic attacks and hounding they have to encounter on a nearly daily basis.

As with the poor lady, being publicly harangued by Ramathuba, as she lay helplessly in a hospital bed – this is due to a dilapidated and shambolic health delivery system in Zimbabwe, that has been wilfully neglected and abandoned to decay, by a callous ruling elite, who believe that looting public funds for self-enrichment is a higher priority than the welfare and well-being of the nation.

How much is the country deriving from all the massive natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, platinum, agriculture, and so much more, that those in power do not tire bragging about – yet, Zimbabwe does not have a single operational cancer radiotherapy machine?

Should we not be complaining of, possibly, one radiotherapy machine at every district hospital not being enough for the country, whose cancer population keeps rising – instead of, the disgrace of not having any machine at all?

How embarrassing is it, when we make all the wrong headlines, as we close down surgical theatres, just because we lack relevant anesthetic drugs?

However, the more pressing question should be – what are we doing about it as the people of Zimbabwe?

For how long are we to merely sit back and watch, as the ruling elite continue to run down our once prosperous country, sinking it deeper into economic hell, whilst we progressively suffer each and every day?

For how long are we to put up with being turned into the world’s laughing stock, by a regime that cares nothing about us…and, quite clearly, who do not care about their own soiled reputations – as they are also being laughed at for seeking medical treatment in expensive overseas hospitals, on account of having failed to effectively run their own?

Judging from the MEC’s angry ranting, one of her frustrations (representative of the broader sentiment in her country) is why we, Zimbabweans, would rather flock to South Africa for survival – yet, apparently not doing anything to correct the clearly untenable and unsustainable situation in our own backyard.

Which explains why she felt compelled to state, “You are supposed to be with Mnangagwa. You know he doesn’t give me money to operate you guys, and I’m operating you with my limited budget”!

Why are we not standing up for ourselves against this cold-hearted evil regime?

It is truly puzzling!

Someone in a country like South Africa, would be excused for assuming that we were alright with the status quo.

For how long are we to tolerate this nonsense, and be the laughing stock of the entire world?

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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