Clive Malunga

The Problem is not Sanctions but Corrupt Leaders

Zimbabwe- the great house of stone, the land of milk and honey, the land blessed with good soil, the best climate, breath-taking landscapes, fantastic sunrises and sunsets and amazing varieties of flora and fauna. Our national parks teem with a great diversity of game species. Zimbabwe is the country of educated and peace-loving people. For how long shall the people of this beautiful country continue to suffer amidst clear evidence of plentiful endowments. I dream of a flourishing Zimbabwe that has the rule of law, togetherness, peace and harmony, patriotic cadres and God-fearing people. A Zimbabwe which can provide for all citizens.

Zimbabweans have been abused by politicians for too long. Zimbabwe is full of people who are very patient. However, that patience is currently waning because of many unfulfilled promises by politicians for too long a time. A lie may succeed once but you cannot lie for 42 years and still hope that people will continue to believe you. Lying is a sin to God. Our leaders have become habitual liars. They no longer deserve anyone’s attention because what comes out of their mouths are toxic lies.

Emerald

Zimbabwe has not been led by good stewards since independence. We have learnt our lessons for the past 42 years. We must be able to make the correct decisions about our country now. We pray to God who solely holds the title deeds to the land of Zimbabwe to help us make the correct choice.

The crooks that lead us say Zimbabwe cannot succeed because of sanctions. That is a total lie. The country adopted the Look East Policy and has been trading with many countries in Asia. Rhodesia was under United Nations sanctions but managed to overcome all the challenges associated with sanctions because of good leadership. Rhodesia succeeded in spite of the sanctions. Salisbury was a great city. Why are we failing to overcome sanctions in Zimbabwe?

Russia which is at war with Ukraine is the most sanctioned country in the world. Russia is surviving and the Russian Ruble is doing very well on the market. By contrast, Zimbabwe which is not at war is failing dismally. What could be our main problem? Corruption at the highest level is the cause of our problems. The press abounds with countless stories of corruption by the leaders. We read about 6kg of gold that was intercepted at Robert Mugabe International Airport, the never-ending NSSA scandals, Cottco being defrauded of $5 million dollars, $15 billion from Chiadzwa diamonds that went missing! The list is endless. We must all stop and reflect. This is not normal. The country has lost direction: the compass is pointing in the wrong direction. We need to rediscover the right direction.

Diamond

How is that we suddenly have billionaires from nowhere when sanctions should be biting the entire country?  The leaders, their relatives and few friends are building mansions, driving expensive cars and living luxurious lives in a country suffering from sanctions. Are we working as individuals or as a nation to overcome our challenges? If we were working as a nation, we would not be witnessing the huge disparities that exist between citizens. There would be no bambazonke attitude by the chefs that we are tired of seeing. Surrounded by reeking poverty that one sees and smells everywhere you go in Zimbabwe, our leaders are not even ashamed to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth. Zimbabweans must deal with these crooks once and once for all in 2023.

Although the Rhodesian government oppressed the black majority, they at least had a sense of humanity. I grew up in a farm community. The white man made us work very hard but he would provide basic commodities such as mealie meal, salt, beans and meat to the farm workers every week. Rhodesia was under severe sanctions but the farmers managed to feed all their workers. Why does a supposedly people’s government fail to provide its citizens with means to put food on the table.  It is not about sanctions but the will to provide and ameliorate people’s misery. During the 1970s we had not discovered platinum, gas and diamonds but the Rhodesians managed to run the economy successfully.

When you look back, oppression by the white man was understandable. The colonisers had come to subjugate and exploit the black majority. What about our current leaders? Is their objective to inflict pain and break citizens’ will to survive? Why do they not care about the sick, the disabled, orphans, the old, the unemployed youths, widows and the destitute?

If we are broke because of sanctions, where are we getting thousands of dollars to hire American musicians to come and perform for 15 minutes for the rich for huge sums of money. We are not ashamed as a nation. We don’t care about each other anymore. The spirit of oneness, comradeship and Africanness has disappeared completely. Greedy has overtaken our leaders. They have thrown away the African slogan of together as one. The excuses given by our leaders for driving us into economic desperation are not going to work anymore. We have heard the same excuses for the last 42 years without an improvement in our predicament.

Platinum

This is why we must choose new leaders whom we believe would be competent to lead the country through bad and good times. So far Zimbabwe has failed to choose a patriotic son or daughter of the soil who has Zimbabwean people at heart. A leader whose dreams are all about Zimbabwe: a leader who walks, talks, sleeps and thinks the Zimbabwean style. We want a leader who will work for the happiness of all Zimbabweans. There must be food on the table: kids must go to school; hospitals must function properly again.

We cannot all become members of parliament. A few of us have to be chosen to articulate the views of the majority. However, most of the current leaders bought votes to get positions for themselves. Rather than being the voice of the people, parliament is fast becoming a den of thieves.  Just recently they have just decided to share their last loot. Each Member of Parliament is to be given a “loan” of  US$40 000, every deputy minister US$350 000 and every minister a whooping US$500 000. This is how our heartless leaders are deciding to serve us – by eating for us while we stew in poverty. This is why I find it refreshing that Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Apostle Talent Farai Chiwenga have condemned such blatant abuse of state resources. How many hospitals can be stocked with medical sundries and essential drugs from the US$14 million which our leaders are spoiling each other with amidst acute suffering by the citizenry. These crooks will never be satisfied with the wealth they have acquired already through corrupt means. Let us part ways with them because of their insincerity. We have traveled a rough road with them for too long.

How can we continue to blurt about sanctions when  our priorities are upside down like this? Our true sanctions are leaders who have no vision. We are sanctioning ourselves by retaining radar-less leaders.  The captain of the ship called Zimbabwe has no compass and is taking us nowhere.

Greedy and selfish leaders are the only true impediment for our development as a country. Where did the former president Comrade Robert Mugabe get the fortune to build his Blue Roof mansion and hotels in foreign lands when the country’s infrastructure was crumbling under his watch? Then came Saviour Kasukuwere whose mansion became the talk of town. Many of our leaders have mansions in South Africa and some European cities. Why are our members of parliament and cabinet ministers obsessed with expensive cars, mansions and flashy lifestyles?   Remember Grace Mugabe’s shopping sprees, Ignatious Chombo’s countless houses in every urban settlement in the country or Augustine Chihuri’s real estate and cars! No, we are not under sanctions: we are under corrupt leaders. They loot our resources and spent their ill-gotten wealth on holidays in western countries, acquiring foreign villas and sending their children to prestigious colleges while they impoverish us.

We need a policy of periodic disclosure of the financial benefits the country gets from its platinum, gold, diamonds, lithium and other minerals. We have a duty to make our leaders come clean on how the wealth of our country is distributed. There is no reason why we should allow ourselves to remain poor while the ruling elite and their cronies are all millionaires. It is time we try new leaders. We cannot let many Zimbabweans continue to die of curable diseases or wallow in poverty forever. Our people should not continue to die of cholera because our leaders give us sewage for drinking water in the 21st century. We should not allow urban Zimbabweans to return to cooking with firewood in this millennium! This time the people will not disappoint at the ballot. Come 2023 and we will bury the looters, never again to see them in leadership positions.

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