Reprint from NEWSDAY Oct 18 2019 by permission of the author Canisio Mudzimu
The pace at which Zimbabwe’s socio-economic situation is deteriorating is quite terrifying and a long-lasting panacea is urgently needed. I am afraid that we might be heading towards the precipice of doom or, if you may allow me to use the word, “Armageddon”.
The insane at which prices are escalating that is not matched with commensurate increases in salaries for workers, has resulted in the rapid erosion of disposable incomes, leaving most Zimbabweans pauperised and living from hand to mouth.
Prices of fuel, food, transport, accommodation and most basic necessities are now beyond the reach of many and what is saddening and frightening is that there seems to be no indication from the powers-that-be whether there are any strategies being crafted to extricate the country from the tentacles of debilitating poverty that is indelibly inscribed on the faces of the majority of desperate Zimbabweans.
Shortages of electricity, fuel, foreign currency and even ideas to resolve the crisis have become the order of the day.
Load-shedding is the new norm and the tradition of nocturnally waiting for electricity reconnections has made life in this country hellish such that the pathetic scenario cries to the heavens for reparations.
The majority of people in all spheres of life are suffering in one way or the other, with students at tertiary institutions shouldering the burden of the economic meltdown through starvation, pensioners have been reduced to destitutes, and most workers are living on a shoe-string budget, thanks to the moribund economy.
The euphoria and excitement that characterised the November 2017 debacle has now died down and in its place is utter exasperation and anguish. For the umpteenth time in the history of this country, everyone is singing the same dreary anthem on the worsening situation. It is a pity that the country once epitomised as the “New Canaan” is fast-tracking towards annihilation and the million dollar question that begs for an answer is: Will there be any immediate solution to this socio-economic and political morass?
At the rate at which prices are galloping while incomes are dwindling, coupled with shortage of electricity and foreign currency, amid world record unemployment and inflation levels, one is left to wonder what Father Christmas has in store for Zimbabwe. Bread, mealie-meal, beverages (yes, beer included), rice, sugar and other essential commodities that normally make the Festive Season memorable seem to be beyond the reach of many and expectations are that if nothing is done immediately, by December the situation will even be worse.
As days draw closer for the second anniversary of the New Dispensation, it makes sad reading that the difference between the “new” and the “old” dispensations has become so obfuscated that one wonders what kind of curse Zimbabwe is under. What makes the misery worse is that those in the echelons of power have not shown any seriousness to address the lacuna, and in case they have shown it and I missed the demonstration, they have a funny way of showing it.
The state of affairs in the country is so deplorable that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not even dreaming of returning to their motherland, while those stuck in the country are looking with prying eyes for the slimmest of opportunities to jump from the sinking Titanic. It has become a cocktail of confusion and the game of poly-tricks is inflicting unbearable harm on the ordinary Zimbabwean, who just wants three modest meals a day, as the late iconic orator Dr Martin Luther King Junior put it thus: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
What is critical at the moment is to make sure that people are fed and as the full belly doctrine stipulates, no amount of sloganeering and political grandstanding will do this country any good as long as there is no food on the national table.
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The time to tame the crisis is now because perpetuation of the status quo will not only make Zimbabweans suffer more, but has the unintended consequence of creating a generation of people who have nothing more to lose.
When people reach a stage where, in the words of Abraham Maslow, they think nothing else, but food, emote only food and yearn for food, then you know that you have reached the zenith of monumental failure as a nation.
The way forward lies in selflessness where national leadership puts partisan politics aside and focuses on what is good and just for the country.
An end to the appalling paucity of ideas to curb Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil and comatose is long overdue.
There comes a time in life when you have to realise that you cannot solve problems by using the same mentality that was responsible for giving birth to the challenges. Time is now to put political and factional differences aside.
Now is the time to dump pride and vie for patriotic manoeuvres that will truly emancipate the people of this nation from acute poverty, biting starvation, incessant shortages, skyrocketing unemployment, political uncertainty and national shame.
It is unequivocally clear that the Zimbabwean ship is heading towards the cliff-edge of doom and if no action is taken promptly, the ship will plunge headlong into quagmires of oblivion.
It is my fervent belief, and the prayer of many Zimbabweans alike, that action — short of a miracle — should be taken now to save our beautiful country and reclaim the nation’s glory that is fading fast with the passage of each minute.
The Herculean task that each and every Zimbabwean has is to appreciate that, to use the words of the late former President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe (may his soul rest in peace): “Iwe neni tine basa”. Asante sana! I rest my case.