At 35, it's suffer continue

HARARE - Zimbabweans have savaged the ruinous policies of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party, saying these have reduced the country to a basket case where chaotic urban street vending has now become professionalised and where there is very little to celebrate on Independence Day next Saturday.

Both analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said there had been no tangible “democracy dividends”, particularly on the economic front, since the country attained its independence from Britain on April 18, 1980 — despite the hope of a better life back then.

Political Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said independence was now “practically and to all

At 35, it’s suffer continue intents and purposes, for a few privileged individuals” as many Zimbabweans were bogged down in terrible survival struggles.

“Independence means enjoying basic freedoms — freedom of speech, movement, association, enjoying and participating in economic opportunities in your country, equality and prosperity.

“All these are just a preserve of a few people with links to Zanu PF and those in power. For most Zimbabweans, independence now means very little. We removed white oppressors and replaced them with our own oppressors.

“Independence should also mean Zimbabweans being free to find employment of their choice in Zimbabwe and not crossing borders illegally to seek manual jobs in other countries where they get killed in xenophobic attacks,” Saungweme said.

National Vendors Union Chairperson Sten Zvorwadza said he wondered why some political leaders had the temerity to stand up and say they liberated Zimbabwe when many people were suffering terribly, while vendors were being threatened with eviction.

“Vending is the only enterprise that is supporting livelihoods of the majority these days but when they are denied their right which is espoused in the Constitution in section 13(1) (a) it is like removing oxygen for a person who needs it,” Zvorwadza said.

“It points to the fact that the liberation war was not fought for the generality of Zimbabweans, but for a minority group leading the country selfishly,” he said.

An unemployed graduate, who requested to be identified by his first name only, Tonderai — and who has been walking the streets since he completed his business management degree seven years ago — said his mood was so low at the moment that he sometimes also felt like asking the country’s leaders to “hand the country back to the colonisers” as they had done “such a bad job of managing our independence”.

“What is the meaning of this independence beyond those few political elites and their cronies who are ripping off and raping this country?

“Do our leaders even know that many young Zimbabweans who are highly educated are now either vegetable vendors or risking being eaten by crocodiles in the Limpopo River as they illegally cross into South Africa where they also face terrible xenophobia?

“This is the reason why I sometimes feel it would be better if our so-called liberators would just hand back the country to those who had colonised Zimbabwe before some of us were born so that our generation can fight for better and real freedom, where there are opportunities for all, and not just politicians and their connections,” Tonderai said.

But businessman and music promoter Farai Shambare said although the country was facing many problems, especially those related to the prevailing dire economic conditions, it was also important to celebrate independence day.

“This does not mean that there is much to celebrate at the moment, because there is no money and no peace of mind,” he said.

These sentiments came as News24 reported yesterday that the government-initiated “#1980SoFarSoGood”, which was supposed to be a feel good hash tag for Zimbabweans to adopt ahead of the 35th anniversary of independence next Saturday, came under a barrage of attack.

Many Zimbabweans had gleefully savaged the hash tag on Twitter, insisting that life in Zimbabwe under Mugabe has not been good at all in the three and a half decades since he took over at independence.

Users posted pictures of the empty supermarket shelves and wads of worthless Zimbabwe dollar notes that were seen in 2007-8, at the peak of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

There were also photos of hungry Zimbabwean children picking up grain from the side of the road, and of burning homes at Manzou Farm in Mazowe, which was cleared of villagers by Zimbabwe’s controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe earlier this year to make way for her game reserve.

User @kudzii91 wrote: “I couldn’t find a job after I finished my degree, as is the same with my varsity mates.. #SoFarSoGood”.

“No clean water. #SoFarSoGood,” user @senor_foster said.

  @NickkTitan tweeted: #SoFarSoGood ...+80% unemployment....we don’t even have a currency to call our own anymore...so far so good? Don’t insult our intelligence.”

Another user @RasMankindDiv tweeted: “#SoFarSoGood — I can’t handle that. An insult to the people of Zimbabwe who have weathered severe testing economic hurricanes & turmoil.”

Mugabe, 91, is the only leader that long-suffering Zimbabweans have known since independence in 1980.

While many Zimbabweans value the role he played in the war against white minority rule, as well as his emphasis on education in his early days in power, there is also widespread anger over corruption and the way in which his government has crushed dissent, particularly since the formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in 1999.

Popular blogger @CynicHarare used the slightly altered hashtag #SoFarFromGood, posting pictures of the president and his wife tucking into cake and ice-cream at his birthday party, under the caption:”#1980SoFarFromGood for some of us.”

Blogger @joeblackzw said: “#1980SoFarSoGood is a kick in the face of all #Twimbos.” Zimbabweans on Twitter are known locally as “Twimbos”.

Comments (15)

suffering iripo hama izvo hazvi rambike. however, some of us love the president. there is something that causes some to have a heart for him. one of the things that earned him support from people is his principles especially his position regarding the gay culture. yes we have suffered but we need leaders who stand for a clear position not those who says things that other nations want said. we would expect the next leader to sort the economy of course, but, principles should also be upheld. Zimbabwe inofanira kuita nyika ine hunhu, Ubuntu.

taurai - 12 April 2015

Din he send a condolence message to his saviour Lee of Singapore? Pitty the man who worked with vision to build the first world health facilities died leaving behind this despot to benefit, having desecrated what was there when he rose to leadership. Now he and wife spend their time in planes and hospital beds in foreign lands. Nxaaa!

Gwengwe - 12 April 2015

Gay rights kudii , now tht auraya economy ndozvinokonzera kufa kwehunhu vana votsvaka mari nenzira dziridzo esp. those in the diaspora kuty vatumira vanamai kumisha.Ngaachibva mhani mdara!!!!

chipfukutochikunyemwerera - 12 April 2015

Gay or no gay policy , it does not change your living standards . Being principled on gay policy , yet we hear his cabinet if full of gays. By the way gay people are also humnabeign s and very nice peop,e for that matter. There is nothing wrong with being gay.

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CARTRIDGE GALLERY - 13 April 2015

ndi dzasukwa zvedi. defending evil practices @dzasukwa. Mugabe's position is very clear on what the bible stands for. I for one stand by him. I have also suffered but Mugabe's stand point on this matter is my position as well. hunhu - Ubuntu

taurai - 13 April 2015

Hapana kutambura apa takawana kuzvitonga kwataida Long Live Zimbabwe @35

protestor - 13 April 2015

there is no suffering in Zim, this phase came and it will pass,its a matter of time, lets all work very hard kuti tisimudzire Nyika..

muzvare shonga - 13 April 2015

Whats the story?

godfrey gudo - 13 April 2015

People deserve what the vote for.

Emperor - 13 April 2015

Who understands why Zimbabweans are so extremely subservient to authority? Disgusting !!!

Emperor - 13 April 2015

Normally a country`s history defines/shapes its future. After a procracted struggle against an unjust system pursued by a settler regime one would expect black Zimbabwean political leadership to usher a new era of honest and fairness to the citizens of Zimbabwe. Instead what we see is totally the opposite: mismanagement of Zimbabwe`s rich natural resources, selfishness and unretrievably sinking the nation in a cesspool of corruption. Aren`t they ashamed ? Are they not capable of the most easy of things: copying from other well run countries ? Look east, far east. Japan is a good example. They rose from ashes to being an envy of nations the world over. Bob, you got it wrong, totally wrong. You started well when you put the nation`s education first but quickly veered off course when you condoned corruption and mismanagement in government institutions. You wouldn`t listen to people. Uri chandataura ndechandagwinyira.Now your commands are those of a confused man. You say look east instead of rallying the nation to look on the ground; the soil upon which they stand. You can no longer convince the nation to believe in themselves because you yourself do not believe in yourself. Pathetic.

Chorosi - 13 April 2015

i oppose any so-called ''independence day'' celebrations because we are simply not free or independent either. robert has made sure we are not free to speak our minds, to choose our own orientation (religious or sexual), not free to choose our own president (i.e. it took three months for 2008 election results to be published and he refused to accept defeat) and definitely not economically independent with the chinese owning the zim economy....i could go on and on and on and on and on but we all know that things are really bad when a 91yr old runs an entire country on his own..smh

obama4ever - 14 April 2015

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