Greediness robs Zim essence of liberation struggle

THE sad ending in George Orwell’s political satire “Animal Farm” sees the pigs — the neo tyrannical elite — morphing from being animals to man — a new creation in the image and likeness of the farm’s former oppressors.
The sad truth portrayed by Orwell, in summation, is that despite the collective struggle, heroics and sacrifices of all the animals to rid the farm of the oppressor, it ended with the schemers reaping huge rewards at the expense of the majority.
In essence, the struggle proved futile.
Having had their energy sapped by the struggle and further usurped by the oppression of their new leaders, the victims could not be prodded into a revolution because the new regime could just not give them the chance.
This is reminiscent of the stupor of most Africans watching on as their freedoms are lost, job security eroded, hunger persists and life gets tougher while some keep getting fatter.
Zimbabwe risks falling into the same trap unless it introduces sustainable, pro-poor policies, capable of lifting the majority from the ranks of poverty.
The future for the majority of the citizens is bleak while wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the few privileged.
Even more worrying is the culture of impunity among those with the “connections”, who do not hesitate to grab whatever they want and can commit crimes wantonly without being prosecuted.
A lot of scandals have been swept under the carpet from the housing scandals of 1996 to the controversial war victims’ compensation fund that was pocketed by greedy leaders who were never brought to book.
Surprisingly, that corruption is rife in government is well documented; but little is being done about it.
And thanks to inaction, Zimbabwe is now one of the most corrupt societies in the world, ranked 163 out of 176 countries on the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.
According to the same corruption watchdog, Zimbabwean officials earned an astounding US$2 billion through corruption in 2012, rivalling colleagues in South Africa and Nigeria with even much bigger economies.
Is this what the heroes, we are remembering this week, lost their lives for?
One of the most underlying issues that prompted freedom fighters to take up arms was the issue of land.
Even though it was redistributed at the turn of the millennium, much of the land, just as it was in colonial times, still remains in the hands of the elite.
A recent land audit funded by the United Nations Development Programme reportedly showed that several top government and ZANU-PF senior officials own on average four farms per family.
Transparency International Zimbabwe projects officer, Farai Mutondoro, said a recent study by his organisation revealed that land was not equally shared and women were still being deprived of land ownership.
“Women have been sidelined in land ownership due to factors such as lack of access to capital, failure to get credit due to lack of collateral, customary impositions, and even lack of information on how they can acquire land and title deeds.
“Land corruption in Zimbabwe has been rife to the extent some people have multiple farm ownership; there is partisan distribution of land; bribing local authorities to get land — and most of the time women do not have cash to compete with men,” Mutondoro said.
As the country remembers the sacrifices of its heroes and heroines, past and present, the country’s economic situation tells a sad story.
Zimbabwe has experienced massive company closures since 2013 with a record 20 000 people losing their jobs in less than a month, following the recent Supreme Court ruling that gave employers powers to dismiss workers by simply issuing them three months notices.
A local research group, Econometer Global Capital has estimated that industry capacity utilisation is likely to average between 27 percent and 29 percent by year-end, down from 33 percent in the first half of the year.
In a report accompanying its review of the country’s Staff Monitored Programme released recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Zimbabwe’s external position remains precarious.
“Growth has slowed and is expected to weaken further in 2015. Despite the favourable impact of lower oil prices, the country is in debt distress,” partly reads the IMF report.
Economist, John Robertson believes: “The economy is failing to perform because its foundation has been destroyed and the foundation we are talking about here is basic property rights, which instill confidence in those able to work for the economy’s health to do that.”
Despite the failing economy, the elite seem to be completely oblivious to the mayhem around them as they focus on enlarging their political territories.
Beleaguered former presidential affairs minister, Didymus Mutasa’s comment on this, is most apt.
“Power has been centralised into a group of selfish individuals driven by greed and hate. Instead of fostering internal democracy as espoused in the ZANU-PF founding principles, a clique emphasising hate politics has overtaken the original principles of the party established right at the beginning of the struggle.
“This clique has introduced a sinister political culture of hatred, corruption, conflict, division, indiscipline, manipulation, and recklessness, which is the antithesis of the traditional democratic norms, and characteristic of ZANU-PF,” he said.
The unity that the heroes fought for is far from being achieved as the powerful few dictate what they want.
Factionalism in both the ruling and opposition political parties characterises local politics with all the warring factions’ eyes set on the ultimate goal of being at the helm.
Analyst, Godwin Phiri, warned factionalism in ZANU-PF would linger on as long as President Robert Mugabe’s succession remains unresolved.
“If only (President) Mugabe can resolve the succession issue by naming his successor then this would kill factionalism.
“At the moment, (President) Mugabe keeps everyone guessing and what happened to Joice Mujuru can also happen to Emmerson Mnangagwa, so each group will fight till the end in order to strategically position itself for take-over,” Phiri said.
Mujuru was sacked as vice president on allegations of planning to topple her boss through unconstitutional means.
She denies the allegations.
She was replaced by her long time rival, Mnangagwa. -Tendai Makaripe