Zim — The tragedy of waiting

HARARE - Waiting has never been pleasant business.

In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, the duo of Estragon and Vladimir wait endlessly and in vain for someone. When the play ends, nothing has happened.

This is the circus Zimbabwe has fallen into — waiting for elections always full of promises and other positives that never come to fruition.

Life can not always be about waiting, especially for elections.

In Zimbabwe, jobs, court judgments, justice, prosperity, freedom, peace among others, seem to require endless waiting.

In the past couple of months, the country has been on edge with countless protests, initially led by ordinary citizens whose resilience and patience have been stretched to the limit.

#This Flag campaign leader, cleric Evan Mawarire set the ball rolling with opposition political parties only appearing at a later stage.

However, the mere entry of political parties has given President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government an opportunity to declare war on protesters.

The recent threats and tirades from Mugabe show just how determined he is to crush any form of dissent.

Addressing a meeting of his party’s central committee in Harare three weeks ago, Mugabe threatened to throw political party leaders into jail, saying: “. . . we warn them that they are playing a dangerous game . . . Some of them (opposition leaders) have never been held in cells eating very little food in a filthy place before they are even tried in court. Let the opposition parties and all those angling for chaos and mayhem be warned that our patience has run out.”

Coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), opposition political parties have unfurled a series of protests, especially in Harare — all of which were ruthlessly crushed — demanding electoral reforms as well as that the Zanu PF government addresses the deepening economic rot.

Police responded by banning all protests and demonstrations in central Harare for two weeks through Statutory Instrument 101A, which was quickly followed by another month-long prohibition order after the High Court had overturned the earlier ban.

Following the relief Nera had found from the courts, Mugabe launched an attack on judges for being “negligent” in allowing protests.

Evidently, Zimbabweans have endured a lot. Remember this is the same country, which had a lot of potential at independence in 1980 that Julius Nyerere, the late former Tanzanian president, referred to the former British colony as a “jewel”.

There is no denying that Zimbabwe is throat-deep in crises — both political and socio-economic.

As citizens, we should not bury our heads in the sand and pretend things are well with all this mess around us. Today, the country is home to thousands of unemployed youths in need of non-existent jobs.

Hundreds of industries have closed down since the July 2013 elections. Public health services have almost collapsed with hospitals running out of basic drugs as government coffers have run dry, putting the lives of millions at risk.

People have been resilient for long. They have endured a lot. Having lost entire savings during the 2008 crisis, the current situation is threatening to be a repeat of the hyperinflationary period.

Interestingly, there seems to be some Zimbabweans who are living in cloud cuckoo land, pretending they can turn back the clock of change.

It is now 36 years after the country’s independence but the deterioration in citizens’ socio-economic condition has been phenomenal.

With the majority of Zimbabweans living on less than $1 a day, it is no laughing matter when people hear that $15 billion diamonds revenue cannot be accounted for.

It appears those who are highly-connected and the well-heeled continue to live in opulence while the unfortunate poor continue to sink deeper into poverty and destitution despite the country’s vast mineral wealth.

When people take to the streets to voice their displeasure with the state of the economy, it is their democratic and constitutional right.

More often than not, all protests led by civic society and the opposition only get cleared after going through the rigours of High Court petitions.

On the other hand, Zanu PF members march, protest and demonstrate at will — a clear case of selective application of the law.

In all our waiting though, we just hope we will not mimic American writer Dashiell Hammett’s “blind man in a dark room hunting for a black hat that wasn’t there”.

Comments (2)

Perhaps the real problem in Zim is not waiting but misplaced trust - trust that the person who has enough to eat can work to feed the one who is hungry, foolish trust that politicians have answers to problems that do not affect them. Till we learn to put faith in ourselves as ordinary men and women we shall suffer for a bit longer.

Mazano Rewayi - 22 September 2016

These ministers however control our profitable resources. Imagine 15 billion dollars of diamond revenue stolen right under our noses! That money could have kick started our economy.Shame on this goverment!

Young Zimbo - 29 September 2016

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