Zimbabwe: The Morning After

Published on 29th February 2008

Ellen G. White, the prolific Seventh Day Adventist 19th Century writer refers to prophets as God's messengers who bear a critical responsibility of exposing positive and negative facts on spiritual status of mankind, where necessary foretelling the evil that will befall a whole nation or community that defies the Creator's laws. I want to assume a role of what the ZANUpf propaganda machinery would label 'Prophet of Doom', neither being possessed by some crude revelatory spirit nor driven by cynical forces of pessimism, but by empirical evidence.

On 31 March 2008, Zimbabwe and the world may wake up to the reality that Robert Mugabe has once again prevailed over the forces of democracy to assume another five-year term. Of course knowing Zimbabweans - always the optimists - it is in bad taste to consider any such outcome. From 1995, we have always reassured ourselves that things will be all right and would never get any worse - the Rock Bottom Mentality (RBM). Every fifth year, we have walked out of polling stations with a sense of satisfaction and egotistical self-esteem bordering on complacency that for once, the 'X' they have placed in the 'right’ column is seal of future prosperity.

The protagonists of RBM in Zimbabwe argue that there is an imaginary line below which economic decline, subjugation of rights, subversion of justice, poverty and human despair cannot go. Certain components of Zimbabwe's humanity (such as pride, hard work, resilience, integrity, optimism, constructive debate, self-belief and noble intent) are indestructible. Placed in the paradigm of a post-election Mugabe resurgence, such attributes remain a figment of philosophical self-delusion. Despite their importance, they count for nothing when pitted against the theory of objectivism. A violent distortion and fracture of fault lines deep in the belly of our planet could result in volcanic eruption. At sea, this would trigger a tsunami. For Zimbabweans to keep reassuring themselves that were Mugabe to retain his throne, our country would never sink to the deplorable levels of ethnic conflict experienced in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Darfur, Chad, Iraq and Afghanistan is self-delusion bordering on criminal neglect.   

For the first time since 1980, Zimbabwean voters are awake to the fact that their vote will usher the country's destiny into a proverbial pillar of stone. We either vote for the future and go forward, or wallow in lethargic self-pity and sink. Assuming that the trend of catastrophic events remains in the post-2000 negative mode, it is a correct prognosis that all elements responsible for volcanic action will trigger a six-digit reading on 31 March's Richter scale. The rationale is simple: as long as Mugabe retains power, national, regional and international confidence in the ability of Zimbabwe to re-invent itself will remain low, or altogether evaporate, unless he undergoes a complete transformation. Mind you, the six-digit reading is not just mere speculation - inflation is already beyond 100 000%- thus leaving us with the critical figures of unemployment, migration, brain-drain, child mortality, school and college dropout, industrial, agricultural and mining output.

Voters should inquire whether voting for Mugabe will reverse Zimbabwe’s prevailing negative social, economic, political and infrastructure decline. If (as Mugabe wants the us to believe) Zimbabwe's woes are traced to him being a victim of British and American vilification, how is he going to regain their confidence when George Bush, Gordon Brown and the 'free world' have already condemned the processes preceding the March 29 election as pointing towards 'unfree and unfair'?

As long Mugabe’s brand dominates Zimbabwe's post 29 March political market, no known computer or prophetic model can extrapolate the magnitude of and resultant human catastrophe. ZANUpf leaders and their supporters term anyone who does not support Mugabe an enemy of the revolution, so you cannot rule out post-election retribution. All major and minor roads in towns and cities are virtually impassable and require billions of US dollars to resurface- a budget that is beyond Mugabe's imagination.

Public schools and hospitals require astronomical capital injection - in foreign currency - to be able to offer basic service, since Teachers and Doctors have abandoned conventional practice. Power outages require that ZESA - the national power utility - invest not less than one hundred US billion dollars to cope with industrial demand. No less than one thousand professionals escape from Zimbabwe everyday because of a pay package not sufficient even for monthly bus fare.

Universities, colleges and high schools are operating with less that thirty percent of required staff due to mass resignations. The national banking system has completely collapsed, with simple money transfers taking more than ten days to effect, leaving millions of account holders stranded every month. Citizens cannot travel to and from rural homes because fuel is bought in US dollars causing bus fares to double every week. Home development has altogether stopped because the price of construction material has increased five hundredfold in the past 12 months. There is one state-controlled television, radio station, and daily newspaper in Zimbabwe. No public meeting can be conducted without police authority. Commercial farms have no title deeds. Although duty for cars and petrol is paid for in foreign currency, it is still considered 'illegal' to own foreign currency in Zimbabwe! Question; if Robert Mugabe wins the 29 March elections, how and with whose support is he going to reverse the endemic trend of national emaciation?

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