Laugh at dis­abil­ity when dead

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Cartoon, Q & A, Opinion - Stephen Mpofu Cor­re­spon­dent

Teach­ers and nurses are not the only peo­ple af­fected by dif­fi­cult eco­nomic con­di­tions, marked at present by com­mod­ity prices that have gone hay­wire, mak­ing life dif­fi­cult for vir­tu­ally ev­ery­body but in par­tic­u­lar the worker, not to men­tion the ma­jor­ity of Zim­bab­weans in ru­ral ar­eas.

HOME Af­fairs and Cul­tural Her­itage Min­is­ter Cain Math­ema might not have been off the mark when he sug­gested ear­lier this week that state em­ploy­ees plan­ning a demon­stra­tion over what they called “de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions of ser­vice” could sur­rep­ti­tiously have been in­tent on regime change in Zim­babwe above all else.

An even more fright­en­ing prospect is that those teach­ers and nurses ag­i­tat­ing for strike ac­tion may have done so un­der the spell of Machi­avel­lian po­lit­i­cal hot heads driven by in­sa­tiable hunger for po­lit­i­cal power and that power at any cost; other­wise why thumb their con­gested noses at the round-ta­ble, the le­git­i­mate and civilised route to find­ing last­ing so­lu­tions to both teething and old chal­lenges that be­devil any so­ci­ety, in­clud­ing our own?

It was all very well for Min­is­ter Math­ema to say that the po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies kept an ea­gle’s eye to en­sure law and or­der was main­tained.

But must the se­cu­rity agents now for­get the strike ac­tion threats as in­con­se­quen­tial by­gones and leave it at that?

This pen and no doubt other con­cerned cit­i­zens will say a big NO to that and in­stead urge the State se­cu­rity pro­tec­tors to go beyond the strike threats and fer­ret out its ag­i­ta­tors to dis­cover their true po­lit­i­cal colour so the cul­prits may re­ceive their just deserts for try­ing to cause may­hem in the coun­try.

Teach­ers and nurses are not the only peo­ple af­fected by dif­fi­cult eco­nomic con­di­tions, marked at present by com­mod­ity prices that have gone hay­wire, mak­ing life dif­fi­cult for vir­tu­ally ev­ery­body but in par­tic­u­lar the worker, not to men­tion the ma­jor­ity of Zim­bab­weans in ru­ral ar­eas.

Now imag­ine what would hap­pen were the strike by the nurses and teach­ers to go on with all other work­ers in the coun­try fol­low­ing suite un­der the hys­ter­i­cal be­lief that work stop­pages would bring so­lu­tions to cur­rent prob­lems?

The ob­vi­ous an­swer is that the coun­try would grind to a halt with the Govern­ment ren­dered help­less to do any­thing about it and so tech­ni­cally and ef­fec­tively out of power.

Does any Zim­bab­wean to­day wish to ex­pe­ri­ence dog-eat-dog con­di­tions that ex­isted in colo­nial Rhode­sia or do free­dom and in­de­pen­dence not mean ma­tu­rity and civilised meth­ods in the way we grap­ple with chal­lenges that are bound to oc­cur time and time again in the carnal world in which we live?

It should be re­mem­bered that the gen­e­sis of Zim­babwe’s eco­nomic woes was the for­eign re­sponse through il­le­gal eco­nomic sanc­tions against this coun­try’s land re­form pro­gramme in the early years of this coun­try’s in­de­pen­dence and meant to re­store to the le­git­i­mate black own­ers land seized by those with­out knees dur­ing the colo­nial era.

Since that land­mark de­ci­sion things have re­ally never been quite rosy, with the sanc­tions mak­ing the econ­omy grow by fits and starts and so to no re­ally blos­som­ing point, es­pe­cially with the West which im­posed the fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic sanc­tions re­fus­ing to re­move them to give Zim­babwe an eco­nomic re­nais­sance it so de­serves.

What is even cra­zier in our eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties is that some Govern­ment em­ploy­ees de­mand pay­ment of their salaries in United States dol­lars, which makes the black mar­ket in Zim­babwe blos­som so that for busi­ness that cur­rency has be­come a sine qua non for suc­cess­ful life for those with ac­cess to the cur­rency but a dog’s life for those who can­not put their fin­gers on it.

But Zim­babwe is not a colony of the United States of Amer­ica for it to con­tinue to use the dol­lar as the chief cur­rency in the same way that Rhode­sians as the colonised peo­ple of Great Bri­tain used the Pound Ster­ling as their cur­rency.

At any rate, be­cause we do not pro­duce the dol­lar here smug­glers can freely clean out the money and take it to what­ever des­ti­na­tion they wish leav­ing the coun­try vir­tu­ally bank­rupt be­cause we do not mill the US dol­lar here in Zim­babwe.

And, any­way, what le­git­i­mate rea­sons are there for al­low­ing the par­al­lel mar­ket, pe­jo­ra­tively called the black mar­ket to ex­ist side by side with the le­gal money mar­ket?

In fact would it be wrong to sug­gest that the par­al­lel mar­ket is the one that has in­spired some power hun­gry politi­cians to want to set up a par­al­lel govern­ment to the ex­ist­ing one un­der the be­lief that such an ad­min­is­tra­tion will be just as pop­u­lar as the par­al­lel mar­ket even though the con­sti­tu­tion of the coun­try has no room for that form of govern­ment?

The so­lu­tion is to have our own cur­rency and sup­port it by all means pos­si­ble at our dis­posal, rather than have it play sec­ond fid­dle to cur­ren­cies of other na­tions.

To­day Zam­bians may be jus­ti­fied in say­ing to us “laugh at dis­abil­ity when dead.”

Those Zim­bab­weans who lived in ex­ile in our north­ern neigh­bour, while the free­dom struggle went on in this coun­try, will re­mem­ber how for­eign­ers in­clud­ing some of our own peo­ple mocked Zam­bians, say­ing they col­lected their salaries in wheel­bar­rows and by that sug­gest­ing that the Kwacha was val­ue­less.

But what hap­pened to our own Zim dol­lar af­ter in­de­pen­dence when we failed to keep it strong and it be­came val­ue­less to run into tril­lions and now we have bonds which play sec­ond fid­dle to for­eign cur­ren­cies, mak­ing life extremely dif­fi­cult for peo­ple.

Some­thing must re­ally be done to im­prove our econ­omy and with that our cur­rency and Zim­babwe will be on the run and not be open to con­tem­po­rary im­pe­ri­al­ism through what­ever means pos­si­ble.

When their econ­omy went through dif­fi­cult patches, the Zam­bians clung tena­ciously to their cur­rency, the Kwacha, a walk­ing stick and to­day that coun­try en­joys a buoyant econ­omy with their strong cur­rency ex­e­cut­ing the Kwacha dance and with no black mar­ket or par­al­lel mar­ket caus­ing any threat to it.

Other coun­tries that have not tol­er­ated the black mar­ket as we in Zim­babwe have done still have their economies gal­lop­ing like race horses, sup­ported by their strong lo­cal cur­ren­cies.

Zim­bab­weans must make a choice be­tween al­low­ing the black mar­ket to com­pletely ruin our cur­rency and with that the econ­omy.

We have to keep a ro­bust lo­cal cur­rency to spearhead eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion into a brave new fu­ture for all.

Unity, peace and sta­bil­ity and a res­o­lute po­lit­i­cal will form the in­gre­di­ents for such a durable so­cial eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion.

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