Monday, July 22, 2024

Where is “the food basket of Africa”?

From wild game farming to the production of once internationally popular drinks, animals and to even scenes “so spectacular they must have been gazed upon by Angels in their flight”, Zimbabwe never disappoints.

We have all that and more but, like the old colonial days, it all does not belong to the country; it all belongs to a certain few who have proclaimed Zimbabwe to be their property.

But, I digress and I apologise.

When it comes to wrong priorities and downright stupid decisions, Zimbabwe, as always, takes the lead.

I lived in Botswana at a time when many products were no longer available back in my home country of Zimbabwe.

These products included foodstuffs like cooking oil, sugar, mealie meal and medicines, blankets and hardware products – such as wheelbarrows, door frames, car parts and even needles and safety pins.

Although manufactured in Zimbabwe, you could just not find these products in Zimbabwe at all but they were all abundant just across the border.

Imagine both my outrage and joy when I found out that all these products, manufactured but in short supply in my own country of Zimbabwe, were in abundance in countries just across the border from us.

It made me angry.

Not only that, it is sad to see Zimbabweans going to Botswana or South Africa to buy Zimbabwean products that are denied to our people because the politicians want to earn foreign currency for their mistresses…ask Mugabe.

There is something evil when you are charged customs duties on products you made in Zimbabwe but are forced to buy and import back into Zimbabwe.

Capri Corporation made nice refrigerators but they were for export not for locals. People would travel to South Africa or Botswana to buy refrigerators while Capri (Zimbabwe) was making them for Tanzania.

Door frames, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, ice cream, medications, tobacco, sugar, blankets, cigarettes and many other products were scarce in Zimbabwe because they were being made for export to regional countries.

These items brought in foreign currency which the ‘first family’ is always desperately in need of.

As Zimbabweans went to Botswana to purchase Zimbabwean made products for resale back in Zimbabwe, the rot deepened.

Following Grace Mugabe’s seizure of the famed Mazoe Dam, it was announced that the Mugabes were building a multi-million dollar ‘Robert Mugabe University’ right there.

This, to me, is a sad epitaph to a man who boasts of numerous degrees (all but one gained from a classroom bench) but who failed to produce a single student of any local, let alone international standing.

So, Robert Mugabe University is now being constructed on stolen land by a president who talks about the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

Grace Mugabe, our so-called ‘First Lady’, has thrown thousands of people off their land on commandeered farms which she now claims to be hers.

Grace has taken over the dam that supplies water not only to the citrus farms but to the locals in the area. She and her husband continue to show that the country is their toy garden.

Chasing mirages has become a past time that we, the chasers, only become aware of when we find ourselves in the middle of a quicksand.

Some of the odd things that happen to and in our country are not even related to each other yet, when taken in sum total, Zimbabwe appears to be behaving in ways that confuses the Almighty Himself.

We have a ‘First Family’ drooling in greed and abuse of people; we have a family in consideration only of itself.

Aaaah! Zimbabwe got another new political party last Thursday.

At last count two weeks ago, Zimbabwe had over 60 political parties, a few of them formed in the last couple of weeks. That is not diversity; that is stupidity. Now, as of Thursday, we got one more.

It seems as if this nonsense is in keeping with our behavior.

The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) has not advanced in many years yet people need water.

The government could have done more for this long sitting project that should have benefitted our citizens in Matabeleland North.

There is also the Tokwe Mukorsi Dam that the government is struggling to complete while, in its incomplete state, it poses danger to people downstream because the water cannot be harnessed during the rainy season. Hundreds have been affected and moved from their rural homes as a result.

Zimbabwe’s water problems are no hindrance in trading water to foreign countries while its citizens go thirsty.

“The Beit Bridge Water Treatment plant is a living testimony of our determination to resolve the access to water matrix and set a new trajectory,” said Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko. “We believe we are firmly on path.”

Wrong priorities always. The water treatment plant at Beit Bridge was acquired and is, apparently, working well but its water cannot be channeled to Zimbabweans.

The water has to be sold to South Africa because “there is already an existing pipeline between Beit Bridge and Messina”.

Why is there not an existing pipeline leading to Bulawayo, or Masvingo, or Chiredzi?

Why is the Tokwe Mukorsi Dam still unfinished yet it was pegged way back by colonial governments?

People around the country are in need of water but when the issue is raised, its transformed into an international issue  –  donors and all  –  yet in the home villages of the president and his friends, it is all in a day’s work. Plenty of water that would require Moses to stop it.

And, meanwhile, people who were denied land by the big bosses and their cronies forced their way into national parks to set up residence.

This, in turn, has caused wild game farmers problems to the extent that they want to move their animals across the border into Mozambique.

Yes, Zimbabwe is still a basket but not a food basket for Africa; it is a basket of corruption, tribalism, ineptitude and downright sleaze.

God have mercy!


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