Let's hang our heads in shame

SOMETIMES we wonder whether as a country we are collectively cursed, from the trivial to the national, everything for Zimbabwe seems to go wrong.

Our national teams, from soccer to the gentlemen’s game of cricket, are often poor and fall short of carrying dreams of the nation to glory.

We often carry stories of rape, ritual murders and some petty crimes that make us as a nation the laughing stock of the region, yet we claim without shame that we are the most educated people in Africa.

Perhaps, hopeless defines us well than illusions that we are a better country to neighbouring nations like Mozambique whose GDPs are growing exponentially while ours is stagnant or receding. 

Zimbabweans, are in the main peaceful if not passive and thus the government often acts with reckless abandon, quite comfortable that any attempts at dissent can be crushed or simply because no one will raise a finger.

Take for instance the profligacy shown by government when it bought 226 Isuzu vehicles for 226 traditional leaders whose roles are fast diminishing as the country’s justice system has been unbundled to even the remotest regions where magistrates courts are being set.

Of course, traditional leaders are a relic from the colonial masters — and were used as collaborators by the Ian Smith white minority government to safeguard the interests of the whites and also to act as the first bulwark of resistance to the aspirations of the broad masses.

Isn’t it ironic that the President Robert Mugabe regime is bribing chiefs just as Smith used to do before the country’s independence in 1980.

While we certainly hold no grudges against chiefs whose diminishing roles include presiding over domestic disputes — we had hoped that government instead of splurging millions on such expensive vehicles should have opted for something modest and put the remaining money to good use.

Children are dropping out of school because of hunger, the country’s major cities are teeming with vendors because they are no jobs and poverty levels are deepening to the extent that in some settings families survive on less than a dollar a day.
Yet our government, in its wisdom or lack of it chooses to spend millions on pecks for chiefs who predictably and rather unashamedly have declared support for Mugabe.

Aren’t the chiefs supposed to be the custodians of our culture? They should be above politics and administer justice without any political inclinations. 

Chiefs and their subjects should always remember that the cars were not bought by Zanu PF but by the overburdened taxpayer who probably does not support Zanu PF but respects the office they hold.


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