IN what is becoming a circus in African politics, the Zimbabwean government believes that sanctions can be mitigated by arresting or jailing citizens who are standing up against its oppressive rule.
Many people who have closely followed Zimbabwe’s political journey since 1980 are questioning why the liberation war was fought. Indeed, the answer to this big question has now turned to be a rhetorical one from the ruling party slogans at rallies and its inner circle meetings. Independence, freedom of expression and freedom of association have completely eluded the former freedom fighters.
It is clear that no one who is a citizen of Zimbabwe would want the country to be placed under sanctions, effectively landing the country into a double jeopardy of poor economic management by Zanu PF and the impact of the so-called sanctions. It is disturbing for a government to think and believe that sanctions are being caused by its own citizens who are wallowing in poverty. Entangling citizens in the sanctions debacle is a sign of poor political sight mixed with incompetence to understand the processes of international governance and relations. Who in their right mind would believe that Britain, the United States (US) and the rest of Europe are being told by Zimbabwean citizens to place government on sanctions?
The behaviour of targeting citizens when the government is failing to perform its duties is not a new phenomenon in the history of Zimbabwe and the world at large.
All Zanu PF bigwigs are still whingeing about their unconstitutional and arbitrary detention by the colonial government, but what is ironic about it is that the same victims of colonialism are walking in the footsteps of the colonialists. Many Zimbabweans have been detained for long periods without trial including Members of Parliament such as Job Sikala from the opposition Citizen Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa.
It is sad to see that Zanu PF is trying to use sanctions as a reason for the economy’s poor performance, yet their incompetence to run the economy dates back to the pre-sanctions period. In 1988, the Willowgate scandal saw many Zanu PF bigwigs misappropriating vehicles to amass wealth against a backdrop of suffering citizens. The scandal saw the demise of one of the earliest nationalist icons Maurice Nyagumbo, but a lot of them just went low and surfaced again to devour what they had left and some of them are still with us.
Zanu PF knows how it landed itself in the present political state and knows the milestones it needs to achieve before it can be part of the bigger family of nations. It is sad how Zanu PF employs some of the laughable and unorthodox strategies to end sanctions including holding rallies with rural folks and drumming support from schoolchildren. Honestly, what impact or international significance can such actions have in stopping the sanctions? All they are doing is to waste working and learning hours for rural folks and schoolchildren, respectively.
However, those who have been around long enough know that Zanu PF can spring surprises when it wants to. Not so long ago, Cabinet ministers in Zanu PF travelled all the way to Chinhoyi to inaugurate a strange economic event dubbed Dhiziri paChinhoyi, where they were made to believe that diesel was oozing from a nearby mountain by a traditional healer. It becomes very difficult to have confidence in leaders who presumably went to school and have a working knowledge of how oil is processed, but were told that it can be siphoned from a mountain by a traditional healer. It is through such events that one can start to understand why Zanu PF is coming up with strange strategies in the hope of ending the sanctions, which, honestly, were of their own making.
More pain comes to haunt citizens when they look at the state of the health delivery sector, which has been blamed on sanctions. Our hospitals have become death traps with thousands of mothers dying through unmanaged maternal health problems. Some patients from Zimbabwe are making some very difficult journeys across the Limpopo River into South Africa to give birth.
In the process, some Zimbabwean patients have been publicly denigrated by some health professionals for accessing services in South Africa. A good example is the incident which went viral on social media of a mother who was dressed down by a South African health official for using their health services without paying for them. All these dramas are unfolding against a backdrop of Zanu PF buying new cars for its officials and bussing people to campaign rallies. Honestly, if Zanu PF loved the citizens of Zimbabwe, was it not prudent for them to give up half of their new fleet of vehicles and trade them for ambulances and medication for our hospitals which are empty and dangerous to visit?
The big question is: Zanu PF tells citizens that they are under sanctions and so cannot provide services for them, but where are they getting the money to buy all those party vehicles and even give each other loans that would not be repaid? We are still waiting for feedback on how Command Agriculture was funded and when will the recipients pay back the money and implements they amassed and misappropriated. The other challenge is that Zanu PF has turned itself into an unorthodox monetary institution where money is dished out and used as political bait. The present state of the economy will never improve unless there is a strong commitment by Zanu PF to create a conducive atmosphere to attract investors.
The brain drain of teachers, nurses and doctors will continue unless the Zimbabwean government is committed to the initial ideals of why the liberation war was fought. It is pathetic that a whole Vice President reportedly wants to oversee the verification and confirmation of nurses who want to go and work abroad in a bid to prevent them from leaving. This confirmation is legally done by the nurses’ council, but their powers and legal mandate have been usurped by the vice president who is also doubling as a minister of health.
Lack of sincerity and commitment to professional conduct and international standards is one of the reasons why Zimbabwe is being isolated. I wish that all those in Zanu PF could have their clocks turned back to colonialism and reflect on their legacy. Citizens are honestly questioning the place of Zanu PF with regards to colonialism. Are we not experiencing colonialism in a post-colonial State?