Zimbabwe, a jewel destroyed

HARARE - At Independence in 1980, the then Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere advised the new Zanu government that: “You have inherited the jewel of Africa, don’t destroy it.”

Indeed, Zimbabwe was the jewel of Africa but due to years of economic mismanagement and bad policies, our country has been reduced to being a laughing stock of the rest of the world.

All we are left with are policy makers and leaders, who concentrate more on rhetoric and name calling instead of spending their energies on development and improvement of lives for the poor majority.

And predictably, when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai made the observation that life for blacks in minority-ruled and racist Rhodesia was way better economically than it is now in a free Zimbabwe, he was savaged.

The only reason that Tsvangirai is being savaged this violently by the usual culprits is because his observations cut too close to the truth.

But that does not mean that the racist regime should have stayed. NO. But people wanted an improvement to their well-being after independence.

Indeed, our independence in 1980 was supposed to mark the beginning of happier and more prosperous days in our nation than in Rhodesia where the brutal Smith regime trampled upon black’s rights.

Alas, those aspirations remain but a distant mirage.

And no matter how much this may rankle with our touchy political leaders, the incontrovertible truth is that our “freedom” has lost its meaning completely, which is causing many Zimbabweans to ask what it is, indeed, that those gallant sons and daughters of this proud nation died and sacrificed their lives for, as they battled against white minority rule.

And politicians who have presided over this mess do not care a hoot about the dire state of affairs as their own undeserved, super-luxurious lifestyles are sustained by the misery of the majority.

Just consider the following revealing titbits to get a clearer picture of both the scale of incompetence and the disdain with which our self-serving rulers hold fellow Zimbabweans.

When President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF assumed power in 1980, Zimbabwe was, staggeringly, ahead of South Africa on most socio-economic indicators, and we had a higher GDP per capita than China!

Not only that, our now buried currency, inherited from sanctions-ravaged Rhodesia — and we mean real, not slap-on-the-wrist targeted sanctions — was worth twice the value of the much vaunted US dollar!

Today, our GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, with at least 90 percent of our people unemployed and living in abject poverty.

The Zimbabwe dollar, embarrassingly, is dead.

Surely, meaningful independence must entail the right to vote, act, speak, or think as one wants.

It, crucially, must also include freedom from economic misery and dependency, as is now widespread in a free Zimbabwe, as well as freedom from the insanity of the Gukurahundis and Murambatsvinas of a “free” Zimbabwe!

    Comments (7)

    Hear, hear!

    Kt - 13 July 2014

    Not only are the leaders to blame, we the people of Zimbabwe are also equally to blame. We have all been so blinded by colonialism and reverse racialism that we forgot to make our leaders accountable to the constitution. We all cheered and laughed hysterically until our stomach muscles got cramp, not realising that one day it will bite us where it hurts most. Claiming the land was stolen till the cows came home, yes originally that was true but when independence came ,we assured these farm owners to remain on the farms and be part of the new Zimbabwe. Many of these farm owners ,more to the point eventual buyers, received ,certificates of no interest, from government who had first refusal. Branding this land to have been stolen is just so irresponsible from all of us Zimbabweans . So only now we are seeing that to have strong industrial economy ( which we did have , in fact the jewel of Africa ) we need a strong agricultural base. Now neither exist. We should have seen these white farmers and industrialists as an asset to Zimbabwe, which we Bantu should have built on. Like Mozambique we should be bold enough to realise our mistakes and put these white farmers back on the land . Its undeniable that they are just better farmers as a whole than we will ever be. refusal

    ronaldos - 13 July 2014

    When we got independence in 1980 it was jongwe rakunda jongwe rakakunda on radios from sun rise to sun set every day . There were no economic plans and when we did that in the 1990 s one idiot Chizero brought ESAP which completely destroyed everything economically. Smith was right when he said a black man will destroy this country he once said his black people were the happiest in africa economically indeed we were happy even toreigners came in the country as economical refuges . Now is the opposite our people are being called kwerekweres in some foreign countries and dirtiest in africa

    Diibulaanyika - 13 July 2014

    Please remember to put things in proper context of time and place. Nyerere made that speech many years after independence when he was receiving his honorary doctorate at the UZ. Writers should care to cross-check facts and dates. It helps to ensure that history is recorded properly.

    Chenjerai Hove - 14 July 2014

    Chenjerai Hove, I never indicated who, or when it was said, but it was said by a prominent African statesman, and yes are correct that it was Julias Nyerere. The end result is, the jewel is no more.

    ronaldos - 14 July 2014

    Chenjerai Hove, Apologies to you, I see you are referring to the staff writer.

    ronaldos - 15 July 2014

    It does not matter the dates but facts remain facts. Indeed Dr.Nyerere remarked then that the new Zimbabwe was the jewel of AFRICA. We ignored Nyerere's great advice at our own peril. With good conscience we should accept failure& resign gracefully.

    GWISHUKWISHU - 16 July 2014

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