(Not so) Dear His Excellency.
Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces And President and First Secretary of Zanu PF, Chancellor of all State Universities, Life President of Zimbabwe and blah blah blah blah (you get the gist of it)
I was watching you speak the World economic forum and besides wondering why a man of your age, who in our culture should be resting and enjoying time with his grandchild, was still working when age dictates otherwise, I also wondered if you were speaking of modern day Zimbabwe. I listened to you as spoke and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. You said, and I quote, “Zimbabwe is one of the most highly developed country in Africa and after South Africa, I want to know which country has that level of development that you see in Zimbabwe.” You went on to mention that we have 14 universities and a 90% literacy rate and various resources and we have a strong agricultural industry and we are having a bumper harvest. I understand the disillusion. Between the many trips to Singapore and other nations, the little time you spend in this country isn’t enough to reality get a grip of what is on the ground. When you are in the country, you are surrounded by your fellow comrades and their wealth and riches could easily give you the impression that things are well in this country. Let me give you the facts on the ground about this “sovereign nation”.
— eNCA (@eNCA) May 4, 2017
Zimbabwe is poor. Period. We are nowhere near the top of the list of developed nations on this continent. If anything, we are moving backward while everyone else is moving forward. Your finance minister wants to take us as far back as the batter trade era and have us trade in livestock and other goods in exchange for services. We are slowly returning to gravel roads in many areas. We moved from tarred roads with potholes to gravel roads with a bit of tar. The roads you frequent, including the one to your rural area, are in perfect condition. The rest of us have to play ‘Who Can Dodge Better’ on our way to our various destinations. Every other day, many people lose their lives on these roads because of their dilapidated state. 37 years after independence and there has been insignificant development to our road network. The Harare – Masvingo highway has been a death trap for as long as I can remember and nothing has been done to improve that road and we speak of being developed? Where? Have you seen the state of these 14 Universities you speak of? Students are sleeping in overcrowded dormitories and rented rooms. And those that have graduated? The majority are just sitting in their homes with their degrees in hand. So of what use are those Universities? Of what use is the 90% literacy rate when people can’t use it anywhere?
And then we speak of resources. The people only hear of these resources when you or the media speak of them. That’s it. The ordinary citizen had benefitted nothing from the resources in this country. It is “our” ministers and yourself that benefit, no one else. What is happening is that the elite few are looting theses said resources and everyone else benefits nothing. If by “utilize” resources you meant the elite minority filling their personal coffers, then I agree, they are being utilized to the fullest. Then there is the state of our medical facilities. Basic healthcare has become a luxury very few can afford in this country. Hospitals don’t have the drugs they require most of the time and this means people aren’t receiving treatment when they need it. Many people are dying from ailments that shouldn’t be resulting in death because of how bad the health system is. Given how bad it is in towns and cities, I can’t even imagine how hospitals and clinics in rural areas are getting by. The whole of Zimbabwe has 14 psychiatrists. FOURTEEN. 14 psychiatrists for a population of about 16 million, 1.3 million of which are recorded psychiatry patients. Development.
I could go on and on and on about things that are actually happening in Zimbabwe, things that show that this development you speak of is a myth. Simply said, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering under your watch. Families are going to bed hungry under your watch. Children are vending under your watch. Communities rely on food aid under your watch. The police have become daylight robbers under your watch. Over 90% of Zimbabweans are unemployed under your watch. Zimbabwe is dying..under your watch! Development.
Image Credit Aljazeera.