DESPERATE times call for desperate measures, and true to this adage, many Zimbabweans have turned into deceptive money beggars, as the country’s economy continues to sink.
While many people believe beggars are homeless, dirty and poorly-dressed human beings, a new crop of money beggars have emerged in Harare.
Nicely dressed men and women have besieged the city, becoming the new money “beggars”.
“Excuse me my brother, I am seeking your help, I have just lost my wallet and I am in urgent need of bus fare to go home,” they normally say, looking troubled.
All they require is just 50 cents, which is enough for a single trip from town to the surrounding high density suburbs.
Their courteousness surely evokes someone’s humanitarian emotions, believing these are genuine people who are indeed in need of bus fare. But they are not.
Like many people would say, “the world is small”, as one frequents the city, there are 99 percent chances that they would meet these “transport money beggars” again.
Using a choreographed language, the words are the same each time one meets these men and women on the street.
This reporter has witnessed many of these men and women during their “line of business”.
It is difficult to assume that they are in need of money to take care of their families, because of the way they will be dressed. They totally prove that they have come from homes, where they have taken a proper bath as they will be wearing clean clothes.
Some will even be carrying attaché cases, in a bid to hoodwink their “prey” into believing that they are in town for genuine business and have indeed lost their valuables including money to go home.
But, their “business” is a daily routine, whereby they stroll the streets asking for that “bus fare” money.
Their story is a sign of how Zimbabwe is slowly becoming a failed State as the economy continues on a downward spiral.
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Southern Africa has been turned into a basket case following President Robert Mugabe’s policy inconsistency, including a controversial land grab and indigenisation policy.
Several whites lost their land in a bloody encounter at the turn of the millennium, as Mugabe sought to salvage his waning popularity.
The indigenisation policy requires foreign companies to cede 51 percent of their shares to locals.
Due to these high levels of uncertainty, several potential investors have driven away, leaving Zimbabwe alienated, pushing many into vending and leaving them destitute in their own country.
Mugabe is also accused of human rights violations that have further isolated Zimbabwe.
Amid these trying times, desperate citizens have devised new strategies to milk their “brothers and sisters” portraying themselves as the less fortunate.
While many believe Mugabe is the stumbling block to the country’s success, he is expecting to extend his over three-and-a-half rule by participating in 2018 elections, at age 94.
Amid the poverty, the country has been hit by a cash crisis that has left citizens on a cliff edge, as ordinary Zimbabweans continue to toil on a daily basis and struggle to put food on the table.
The bread and butter issues are no longer an important aspect in Zimbabwe, as several sectors of the economy have been run down.
People are drinking unsafe water, the roads are just an eye sore, yet the country’s chief executive officer claims that $15 billion worth of diamonds were looted from the Chiadzwa mining fields.
Facts on the ground show that people are suffering more than the way it is portrayed by the politicians. Several in rural areas are starving after the country was hit by an El Nino-induced drought.
With records showing that over 85 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, the situation remains dire and as such begging money for “bus fare” continues to play a pivotal role in some people’s lives.