Monday, August 31, 2009

No Light yet at the End of the Political Tunnel

Much water under the bridge since I last wrote on my blogsite. I have been in England and South Africa and now back home in Zimbabwe for the past three weeks. Believe it or not it is good to be back in Zimbabwe although there are still times when frustration with the politicians and what purports to be ‘government’ sends me into a state of stressful agitation. And the economy is very, very messy without a banking system that works and everyone, everywhere, short of the much needed US dollar. It is becoming very clear that without investment and without a banking system that enables the economy to resuscitate, there will be no worthwhile change. And neither investment nor a working banking system will come without political change.

The politicians – all of them – seemingly have little real interest in anything other than their own power and prestige. The new Mayor of Harare, former businessman Much Masunda saw fit to have himself inaugurated in August at a lavish function that must have cost the Harare residents several hundred thousand dollars (I remind you, real dollars) while the roads remain potholed, there is very little water to speak of, the sewerage systems are clogged and the street lights don’t work. Yet the Harare City Council is frisking residents of hundreds of thousands of dollars through rates and other taxes and still we receive no services in return. My Harare City water bill of $10 a month (minimum monthly charge) continues to arrive in my post box with amazing regularity, while water has not been delivered for over three years. If only they could deliver the water with the same enthusiasm as they deliver the bill.

On the national front, South African President Jacob Zuma has recently been in Harare and waxes lyrical about ‘progress being made by the national unity government’ and ‘the west must lift sanctions’ while Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings maintain a stranglehold on the air waves and there is no sign of an independent broadcaster or publisher in the offing. No ZANU PF offender has been brought to justice for crimes committed in the past 29 years, let alone the past year, while MDC political bigwigs are arrested weekly.

Sadly there is no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. Until Zimbabweans themselves get tough, and light a fire at the other end, we won’t see one.

But I have learned on my travels that Zimbabwe’s politicians are little different from the rest of the world – all of them greedy and corrupt to a greater or lesser degree. I have also learned that the history of England (and probably Europe) is little different from the history of Africa. Only the dates are different. England went through a period of authoritarian rule that lasted from the dawn of humankind until the Industrial Revolution when the ordinary people changed the power game. Zimbabwe’s politicians are no different from the corrupt Kings and Queens of the English dark and Middle Ages. It is only that the world has changed since Henry VIII sat on the English throne and Africa has not. And Africa’s politicians – and people – have not yet realised that.

Zimbabwe (and Africa) will eventually move to democratic rule by their own choice, rather than having democracy thrust upon them. And it will probably happen a lot quicker than it took the English people.

No comments: