Letter to my beloved Joshua
The year is 2020.
Exactly, 21 years since your departure.
The country is Zimbabwe.
It is nothing except a mere geographic expression. A country in name and boundary. Otherwise, everything is dead. The country that you valiantly fought to liberate. The people that you fought to emancipate. Dead! Everything is dead.
Since I never lived under the brutal racist regime of the whites led by Ian Smith, what I can tell you is that 40 years after the so-called independence there is no Uhuru. We are suffering under the Zanu PF leadership. People are deeply impoverished and is this what you fought for?
I do not know where to begin or end. Everything is messed up and one does not know where to start and pick up the pieces. Zimbabwe is like a broken hourglass and one does not know whether to clear the sand first or the broken glasses. Everything is messed up. Culturally, socially, politically and economically all is dead.
Let me start on the political front. People’s liberties have been rescinded, rule of law tramped upon and corruption rules in the political arena. Since President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa took over in 2017 more than 50 opposition activists have reportedly been kidnapped and tortured. From civic society, medical personnel, ordinary citizens to opposition political players, all have fallen victim to abductions by suspected state agents.
The ruling regime using state institutions has emasculated the vibrant opposition party led by Nelson Chamisa. Using the judicial courts and the Parliament, Chamisa’s party has been left swimming at the deep end for survival. The party has lost its headquarters and its legislators have been donated to a pseudo opposition party.
The armed forces have been unleashed on the masses killing innocent civilians. On August 1 2018, soldiers were released onto the streets and killed at least 6 people during an election protest. Five months later in January 2019, several people were killed and hundreds injured, tortured and allegedly raped during the fuel price hike protests in the country.
The Unity Accord that you signed with former President Robert Mugabe has been disrespected by President Mnangagwa. Key party and government positions that were usually reserved for people with a PF Zapu background have been awarded to the president’s acolytes or clansmen. For instance, today, the Home Affairs minister is Kazembe Kazembe and Zanu PF chairperson is Oppah Muchinguri.
Corruption has been institutionalised and unleashed on an industrial scale. Recently, a dubious company with links to the First Family was awarded a multi-million tender to supply medicine.
Economically, the breadbasket of Southern Africa is gone.
We import maize kernels and we are not producing seriously on our commercial farms. Just under a year after your demise, Zanu PF took over commercial farms and parcelled them amongst the party’s oligarchy and their patronage comrades. Since then, agriculture, the backbone of the country’s economy has all but vaporized.
The economy is in the doldrums with inflation galloping towards record levels. Formal and informal workers are suffering and cannot afford basic goods. The Zimbabwean dollar is worthless and not worthy of the paper that it is printed on. Heavy Industry is non-existent and the consumer goods industry is moribund. Almost all that we devour comes from South Africa and it is for this reason that some say we are now a province of South Africa. Unemployment is rife and people are living from hand to mouth.
Zimbabwe back then was said to be second to South Africa in terms of infrastructure, but today, lo and behold, it’s a decaying country. Everything is falling apart. Potholes pockmark our roads. Urban decay is evident in all our metropolitans. Zimbabwe is just dead! Is this what you and the gallant fighters fought for? Sadly but truly, construction and development in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique is gaining pace and soon they will be far off than Zimbabwe. I can go on and on but this is how bad things are in a country you selflessly fought for.
Socially, the country is divided and tribalism is rife. The Zanu PF oligarchy has never promoted nor advanced a truly nationalistic perspective. One tribe appears to be ruling and dominating other tribes. I guess this is not new to you because you know how the ‘comrades’ are like.
Father Zimbabwe, from heaven, are you happy with the country called Zimbabwe? Are you happy with President Mnangagwa’s leadership? Is this why you and iconic figures like Hebert Chitepo, Nikita Mangena and Jason Moyo went to war for?
Cecil John Rhodes was never far off. Indeed Zimbabwe is a second rand. Almost everywhere there is gold. Be it Bindura, Shurugwi, Silobela, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Filabusi, Matopo, Masvingo or Ntabazinduna its all gold.
The gold and diamond deposits in Zimbabwe are immense. Factored against the population Zimbabweans would be living comfortably if it had proper leadership.
Illegal gold panners have invaded the gold mines and appropriated to themselves riches that belong to the country.
As an aside, Father Zimbabwe your Solomonic wisdom remains relevant even in 2020. During the tribal cleansing of the 1980s characterized by a massacre, your warning to the late Mugabe came to significance in November 2017.
You once told Mr Mugabe that the people whom he unleashed on the masses to butcher innocent civilians will one day ask for his blood. In 2017, the main actors during Gukurahundi turned against Mr Mugabe and asked for his blood. The old man, aged 93 retired in ignominy and passed away two ways later in Singapore.
Joice Mujuru, the woman who once arrogantly argued that it was dotage that made you support Strive Masiyiswa’s bid for a telecommunications license is today a nobody. A nobody in Zanu PF and a nobody in Zimbabwe. She was consigned to political oblivion by the Zanu PF elites.
The question in 2020 as was the question in 1980 is what would Zimbabwe be like if Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo ruled? We can only hope but since 1980 Zanu PF has failed. Failed arrogantly.
The ruling elite’s perennial scapegoat is sanctions but most people can see through the lie and realize that it is grand corruption, grand mediocrity and grand failure that have destroyed the country.