Schadenfreude is a word that incites anger in me.
It is vile; it is incendiary. It describes the worst a person could ever be.
Schadenfreude sums up a person’s personality to the extent of suffocating whatever might be good about a person.
The word mixes harm, joy and damage and the outcome is foul.
Schadenfreude not only tells but warns us about a person who rejoices at the suffering of another.
Deriving pleasure from someone else’s suffering is satanic.
So it was that when I saw Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, looking embarrassingly over-excited about a $2.5 million contribution from the United States government to assist the survivors of Cyclone Idai and in burying the dead, I felt deflated, annoyed and downright insulted.
I have never seen a person celebrating after receiving donations for the dead.
This was aid to find the dead; this was money for the survivors to reestablish themselves.
This was money to help bury the dead with dignity but, to Mnangagwa, this was a sanction-busting contribution and he told the suffering people, who were forced to stand before him, that America had sent real money, not the currency he is making the people use in Zimbabwe.
It is not nice to label anyone a moron, so I will not do so.
It, however, seems to me that while he wanted to be president, Mnangagwa had no idea what leadership is or what the job entails.
He still does not know what to do about anything.
Zimbabweans are still waiting to see a difference, to see an ideology, a signal of sorts of what he wants to do or where he is aiming at.
It’s not that he has no empathy, he just does not have any empathy. He absolutely has no idea what he should do or what he means to Zimbabwe.
When disaster struck Zimbabwe, the international community responded on its own, just like it always does when any other nation is in suffering.
Food, clothing, blankets and other things that help survivors not only to live but to help in burying their dead were distributed.
And, as we have mentioned before, Mnangagwa’s ruling party let lose its youths. They started interfering with the aid, distributing it to those known to be ruling party supporters and allegedly carting a lot of the aid away. Shamefully, the controversy still continues to this day.
African culture teaches us things, especially how to interact and socialize with others in and outside our community.
There are norms we respect and there are social and traditional practices we uphold.
Grand-parents put us through our paces of social grooming, so did our parents, aunts, uncles and school-teachers.
From community elders to village and school heads, there was always a determined effort to ensure that people within the community respected our norms.
How did this escape Mnangagwa that he had to ululate after receiving money meant for the dead?
There was enough peer support for him and all others, what the hell happened to him?
But Mnangagwa is not an issue; we let him happen.
I do bow my head, though, wondering what a nation can and should do when it realises they elected a wrong person as their president.
In our orbit, we do remember PW Botha, the man they called “the Great Crocodile”, don’t we?
We do remember the suffering that, “Die Groot Krokodil”, Botha caused, not only in South Africa itself but in the SADC region, don’t we?
Now, we have Mnangagwa, the Crocodile, celebrating after receiving funeral donations as if they are wedding gifts and asking for more.
God still has unfinished business with us. He must put us through finishing school, He must, so we can be taught about something called ‘decency’.
In the most clear but grotesque way, Mnangagwa is enjoying benefitting from the deaths of his citizens and is, for his personal reasons, clearly excited to receive money meant for the dead and the survivors.
No empathy for the dead or the survivors but rejoicing that their demise brought to him millions in foreign currency and we all know where that money is going, don’t we?
Schadenfreude! How much else does this word need to teach us about Zimbabwe’s president who, in the same press briefing, showed childish excitement after receiving condolence messages from “three members of Britain’s royal family”.
When a country is doing well, people do not talk about its leader.
I still shudder to think about, let alone view, the tape in which Mnangagwa looks down on cheering people saying that something good always comes out of something bad.
Welcoming disaster so as to get or ask for donations is as satanic as Satan himself.
To him, receiving cash donations to bury victims of a national natural disaster was a good outcome from the tragedy.
How insensitive can a leader be before a nation of weeping people hundreds of whose relatives still unaccounted for?
Just what does a nation do after realizing that they installed a wrong president? After realizing that the barrel is not only full of holes but is empty?
It is way past the time that Africa, let alone SADC, realises that none of them will ever succeed or develop well enough when they let a neighbour behave in a manner that Zimbabwe and its leaders are allowed to behave.
For those countries that keep praising Zimbabwe’s leaders instead of shepherding them towards both political and economic humane behavior, let them be aware that Zimbabwe will not go down alone.
When Zimbabwe really goes down…beware Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa.
There will not be any paper napkins after the messy feasting of the crocodile; there will be plenty of dying nations.