Events of the past two weeks have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that the ruling ZANU-PF party is now totally removed from the very same people it is supposed to serve.
After riots broke out in the border town of Beitbridge two weeks ago, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi was quoted saying the protests over government’s controversial decision to ban a wide range of imported products into the country were incited by a “third force”.
And last week Wednesday, when the people of Zimbabwe stayed indoors to show their anger over how the country’s affairs are being managed, ZANU-PF’s supreme decision-making body in between congresses, the Politburo, assigned its secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, to announce to the nation that the campaign which ran under the hash tag #ZimShutDown was fomented by agents of a “regime change agenda”.
There is no other insult to the suffering people of Zimbabwe that beats ZANU-PF’s pedestrian conclusions.
As far as the party is concerned, Zimbabwean are so docile and subservient such that even when things go horribly wrong in their country, they must continue to cheer their leaders on. In ZANU-PF’s wisdom or lack of it, the moment people voice their concerns, even through peaceful means like they did last week, it’s only because its perceived foes would have influenced them.
Why is it that ZANU-PF has such a low opinion about its people? Does it need rocket science to decipher that Zimbabweans have been driven against the wall because of how the political leadership has failed in its fiduciary duty of managing the country’s affairs in a manner that benefits all its citizens?
Nearly four million Zimbabweans have skipped the borders in search of better opportunities. Most of them are being treated as economic refugees.
Those who have remained behind are not having it easy either. More than 80 percent of the country’s population is living on the fringes of poverty. Unemployment has shot through the roof, with estimates putting the rate at about 90 percent.
Those that are still gainfully employed are earning below the breadline and can hardly afford keeping body and soul together. Infrastructure is collapsing, with public hospitals — where the majority of the poor seek treatment — experiencing shortages of essential drugs. The list is endless.
With their backs against the wall, government still expects Zimbabweans to behave as if everything is normal when it is not. By resorting to non-confrontational means to get their message across, Zimbabweans are merely trying to give their government room to self-introspect and start doing the right thing: It’s an opportunity government must not miss.
The longer it takes for government to act from an informed point of view, the harder it may become to maintain peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
While it is within its rights to investigate the existence of the “third force”, our belief is that government is simply barking up the wrong tree. It must stop insulting the very same people whom it has made to hold the shorter end of the stick and start addressing this economic topsy-turvy.