Remembering victims of Zim’s failed operations

WHEN we were young and growing up, going into hospital for surgery (an operation) no matter how minor, was always considered a serious undertaking.


Then, hospitals were places where people went to be treated and not to die as is

the case these days.


We were often told that if someone was undergoing an operation they had to be put to sleep (anaesthetised) and that waking up was not guaranteed.


I thus grew up with a perception of an “operation” as a risky undertaking whose results were not guaranteed and from which one might fail to recover from the anesthesia-induced slumber.


We were also told that forms had to be signed by those being operated on, or their lawful representatives so that in the event that they decided to proceed and meet their creator, no fingers would be pointed. In short, an operation was a response to a crisis, and often a last resort response.


I have been having this disconcerting sense of déjà vu on the first anniversary of Operation Murambatsvina, whether Zimbabwe would wake up from its political slumber. Consistent with most responses to the crises Zimbabwe currently faces, most government reactions are presented as militarist.


It is the military mindset that has seen the implementation of disastrous operations such as Murambatsvina, Garikai, Taguta, etc over the course of last year. Contrary to what our current political leadership would like us to believe, that their politics and ideologies were influenced by their past military prowess, only a handful of them were ever involved in actual military undertakings, especially the top brass.


The tragedy that we face today is that we are being served unworkable military solutions to problems that are of a socio-economic and political nature by folks who have never been to the frontline, and can hardly tell the barrel from the butt.


The majority of those that have authentic revolutionary and military credentials either perished heroically fighting for their motherland, have been totally marginalised from political decision-making, or have moved on and are doing something productive in life.


What Zimbabwe has had to go through in the past year is similar to a very sick patient who has repeatedly come under the surgical knife of the same unqualified doctor. Not only is the doctor unqualified, but he/she is lying that he/she has the requisite qualifications to perform such an operation, knowing fully well that they never as much as seen the door of a medical school.


The patient was never asked to sign forms of consent, the anesthetist forgot the right dosage of anesthesia to apply, the operating doctor forgot the surgical knives forceps and swabs in the patient’s abdomen while electricity, water and coal ran out before the operation could be completed.


Unfortunately, the unqualified doctor cannot be dismissed because he is the one who appointed the medical council that is supposed to supervise him.


With this kind of scenario, one can only conclude that Zimbabwe is currently on life support. The irrational if not idiotic policies and decisions that an educated nation such as Zimbabwe has had to endure for almost a decade are as inexplicable as they are numerous.


Some of the blockbuster policy and decision-making blunders include the decision to turn productive farmland into picnic sites and braai spots; monetisation of sacrifice and patriotism and the doling out of cash payouts for revolutionary duty; military adventurism with no resources to support; printing pieces of paper and calling them money.


The cumulative effect of all of this political posturing and clowning has landed us where we are today.


As the nation remembers the victims of Operation Murambatsvina, it should also remember the victims of failed operations because of a collapsing health system.


The nation should also remember victims of Chimoio, Nyadzonya, Tembwe, etc for it was the same military mindset that influenced the Ian Smith regime to perceive the freedom fighters as scum that had to be mowed down en masse.



Cde Pfepferere,


Johannesburg.