Zimbabwe: Poor man feel it!

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“Gotta be a solution to this pollution, right now, yeah.
Gotta find a solution to this pollution, promises won’t help!
Gotta find a solution to this pollution, we’ve been waiting,
For a solution to this pollution.
Only the poor man a feel it, yeah ah!”
THIS is the closing stanza from the reggae maestro, Peter Tosh’s hit song POOR MAN FEEL IT, from the chart – topping album entitled WANTED DREAD & ALIVE that he released in 1981. Peter Tosh was a legend. He was flamboyant and controversial. Indeed, I am a great admirer of Peter Hubert Mcintosh. He was supremely talented. Yes; the poor man will always feel it. That’s the way it is. And that’s the way it’s going to be for a long, long time to come.
Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer and his backing crew hosted a massive bash at No.1 Chancellor Avenue, Harare, on Thursday, July 31, 2014. Food and drink was in abundance. Sulumani Chimbetu and Jah Prayza were also there to ensure that the invited guests were serenaded with music as they wined and dined. That was an event fit for kings and queens. Welcome to Zimbabwe! The land of milk and honey. The occasion was purportedly to celebrate the “revolutionary party’s” crushing and emphatic “victory” at the harmonised elections that were held on July 31, 2013. The bash should have cost no less than US$2 million to put together. What an irony? What a paradox?
Some 350 kilometres away from Harare in south east Zimbabwe at a holding camp called Chingwizi in the Tokwe Mukosi river basin, some 20,000  desperately poor Zimbabweans are struggling to put even one meal a day on the table. The people at Chingwzi holding camp are the forgotten lot of our country. They are staying in squalid conditions where communicable diseases such as measles, scabies and gonorrhoea are wreaking havoc. At least 400 teenage girls have since fallen pregnant ever since the Chingwizi holding camp was set up in February, 2014 as the flooding problem within the Tokwe Mukosi river basin was getting out of hand.
To this date, the country’s chief executive officer has not found it necessary to pay a visit to Chingwizi holding camp in order to get a first-hand appreciation of the untold human suffering and misery at this place. But of course, who cares about the poor and starving peasants at Chingwizi as long as the “revolutionary party” is firmly in charge?Advertisement

And you can just imagine what positive change would have been brought to the plight of the 20,000 starving peasants at Chingwizi holding camp if the State funds that were used to bankroll the bash that was held at the State House in Harare on July 31, 2014 had been diverted to an emergency fund to assist these poor and hungry souls!  But who doesn’t know that Zanu PF has never been genuinely bothered about the living conditions of the majority of the people in the country as long as the “shefs” are living large? This bunch of people is selfish. This bunch of people is heartless. This bunch of people is wicked.
One year since the historic electoral theft of July 31, 2013, Zimbabwe is in a virtual shambles. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. The economy is on its knees and the formal employment sector is virtually non–existent. University graduates are selling mobile phone airtime recharge cards by the street corner as a way of survival. Thousands of highly educated young but unemployed Zimbabweans are daily crossing the border, legally and illegally, into South Africa to try their luck at menial jobs such as being employed as  domestic workers, waiters and waitresses in hotels and restaurants.
If this is the price that the people of Zimbabwe have to pay to thank the “revolutionary party” for resoundingly “winning” the July 31, 2013 plebiscite, then it is a very, very high price indeed! With an unemployment rate of 90%, the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough under this kleptocratic regime.  Surely, there has to be an end to this unprecedented human suffering and misery. Something, certainly, has got to give soon – and very soon.
I am never one to dwell on pessimism and negativity but unfortunately, the harsh reality is that the future doesn’t look good for as long as the “revolutionary party” continues to run down the country in this manner. We are heading nowhere at this rate. If anything, the country is on virtual auto-pilot and of course, it’s just a matter of time before the plane crashes after flying this long without sufficient fuel and navigational support.
Recent print media reports stated that the chief executive officer of the country will soon be embarking on the long trip to China to seek an urgent US$4 billion emergency rescue package. I have been to China several times myself and I have interacted with the Chinese people at a very high level. One thing is for sure. The Chinese will not give the chief executive officer a single penny for as long as the country is still pursuing Stalinist and Stone Age economic policies such as the extremely ill-advised so-called indigenisation policy which obliges all foreign investors to cede at least 51% of the shareholding in their businesses to local people.
Zimbabwe has got to be realistic. We have to wake up and smell the coffee. We need friends from everywhere; north, south, east and west. After all, money has got absolutely no colour. China is trading with the United States on a massive scale. This is the main reason why major US corporations such as Wal-Mart and Nike have firmly set up base in China where labour costs are very minimal compared to the cost of labour in the western world. Business needs a shrewd mind that can spot opportunities wherever and whenever they appear. Be that as it may; here’s wishing the chief executive officer of Zimbabwe all the best on his forthcoming visit China!
We should start to urgently clean up local politics; both within the ruling party and amongst the ranks of the opposition. We do not benefit the people of Zimbabwe anything by having a multiplicity of weak, small, poorly-managed and poorly-resourced opposition parties. The need for amalgamation is, therefore, compelling. Structured as we presently are, the opposition parties in Zimbabwe have got a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the next elections whenever they will be held.
We are presently too weak and too disorganised. We have to pull up our socks as a matter of urgency or we will slowly but surely disappear into insignificance and irrelevance as was the case with Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) and Margaret Dongo’s Zimbabwe Union for Democrats (ZUD). Recent events in the “revolutionary party” do not bode well for democracy and development. Do we really need to replicate the example of North Korea in our beloved country, Zimbabwe? Is the “revolutionary party” fast establishing a permanent ruling family dynasty?
Anyway, please welcome on board “Amazing” Grace and “Prince Charming”!!
Obert Gutu is an international corporate legal consultant with Gutu & Chikowero Attorneys –at- Law in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be reached at