Public watches in awe as vultures hover

By Rejoice Ngwenya

THE timeless adage repeated with nauseating frequency at fuel queues is that Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs, but it now counts for nothing.



al, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Dogs do not eat anything that squirms with worms and is laced with organic poisons. In essence, even stray dogs summon a residual percentage of instinctive decency, twitching their nostrils in disgust every time they encounter remains of a product called Zimbabwe, forsaken and condemned to political dumping sites.


Dogs are not called man’s best friend for nothing; they even share with us experiential testimony of salmonella poisoning. Whatever man has labelled “poison”, dogs do not touch.


Zimbabwe has that label because when she is not emitting a dog-defying pungent smell by day in the Herald, it produces dog-repelling toxic fluorescent fumes by night on ZBC, as warning to other stray dogs. There is only one species that might explore Zimbabwe as a death-defying culinary pleasure – vultures – but not for long.


A Ghanaian acquaintance once asked me on a recent trip to Johannesburg: “How deep can Zimbabwe sink?”


I looked at him and smiled wryly. You see, engineers of the Titanic, like our cabinet ministers, had this queer notion that their ship was unsinkable. Its captain, cunningly similar to our presidium, not only ignored advice about his ship’s direction, but also did not even know it was heading towards an iceberg!


Back to the vultures.


These large scary carnivorous birds have a strange behaviour – they do not kill anything, but survive on things subdued by other predators. Their appetite is spectacularly sharp since they systematically pick every bit of flesh until the bone is clean – “clean” as in Ignatious Chombo’s Operation Murambatsvina – a clean-up that leaves one exposed to the whims of nature and literally lifeless.


But Zanu PF did not “kill” Zimbabwe. No! It is Tony Blair, the MDC, IMF, World Bank, EU, George Bush and a host of other detractors campaigning for sanctions!


All Zanu PF is doing is to “clean” the cities, towns and growth points. Zimbabweans have, like a human skull, been laid bare, stripped of our decency, assets, self-esteem and pride.


Our teeth are now exposed not because we are big smilers, but as a spontaneous response to the cold as we shiver waiting in long queues for bread, sugar and petrol.


Vultures are patient; they circle over the loot until they are sure everyone is gone, lulling you, if you happen to be half-alive, into hypnotic amnesia with their crude innocence and deceptive altitude until you ignore them. For 25 years, Zanu PF has been circling over the people of this nation, looking all innocent, aristocratic and noble. In the process, erstwhile friends: Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and the Commonwealth have all deserted us. Our minds then went to sleep, we almost forgot who Zanu PF was until they rested on our faces and picked the eyes out of our heads.

Now powerless, we can only hear the bulldozers rattle the ground around us, but cannot see from whence the destruction comes. Zimbabweans have been circled. The vultures have landed. There is no way out.


What manner of a country can “turn around” an economy with 60% of its productive workforce and vehicular fleet grounded? Which planet do these guys come from – where gross domestic product can be “increased” when there is no foreign currency to finance inputs?


Vultures do not care much about the quality of the meat; it is not theirs, but they assign a value to it anyway – a “good” value.


Our Reserve Bank has no forex, but we hear they insist on charging only $10 000 per US dollar for it. The Zanu PF politburo has no petrol, but they recommend that it be sold for $10 000 a litre. What fool can say to a neighbour: “Your daughter is beautiful and educated, so when she is getting married, ensure you charge a lobola of $100 million!” Only charge what you have that belongs to you!


Most vultures are black with a tinge of brown, so is our government.

Someone gets a litre of petrol for $10 000 and sells it for $30 000. I never saw a white man destroy a single cottage or tuck shop – it is black-on-black oppression, dog-eat-dog affair.


Ian Smith must be rubbing his frail hands with glee: “I told you so.” How prophetic!


A government that cannot feed and provide sufficient fuel for its people and still afford to worsen their misery by destroying property, then add salt to the wound by saying: “Chigarikayi! Settle down” How many more days does it deserve to be in power?


When vultures finish, they fly away. The victim has neither recourse nor capacity to respond. Zimbabweans must be the nicest humans on earth ever since Adam and Eve.


We were lambasted in Matabeleland, we are fed with propaganda, our folk are suffering in threadbare hospitals, we struggle to go to work, we queue for everything and Operation Murambatsvina has come and gone. Our kinsman are molested at border posts, we sweat it out to get passports, are roasted and lied to during elections, we, we, we, what next? And we are still submissive, obedient and silent – government politicians term us “peace-loving”!


The next time a ZBC licence inspector visits your home, please do us all Zimbabwean men proud: also show them your birth and marriage certificates. As added acts of “peace”, make them a hot cup of tea with chocolate cake and offer them your virgin daughter with a promise of a night out with your wife! Who knows, perhaps they might persuade Sekesai Makwavarara to spare your cottage, or even organise that you get a full tank of petrol from the nearest government watering hole.


That’s how peace-loving we Zimbabwean men have become! Moribund, stone-cold, static, prostrate peace-loving zombies.


My point is that in the quest for self-determination and in search of quality life, there is no need for any Zimbabwean to lose a single drop of blood. That is sixties and seventies stuff, we are now in the Internet age.


The president and his ministers, army, airforce, prison and police chiefs also have relatives and friends who are suffering like the rest of us. There is not a single problem on earth that has no solution. We are simply ignoring the options. Our limitation is management, attitudes and relations.


The guys who are running the government are, to put it lightly, incompetent managers. They use wrong policy instruments, they lie to citizens and they do not want to change their attitude. Our relations with countries that really matter are bad and we worsen the situation by continuing to say bad things.

Therefore, my suggestion is that everyone in this current government, like was suggested by (Minister for Picy Implementation) Webster Shamu, who is failing to deliver, resign immediately and create space for those who can rescue this country. Resigning is acceptable, respectable and non-violent. It leaves one with his/her dignity intact, with echoes of respect resonating long after one is gone and above all, with a sense of personal relief.


Resigning is a mark of excellence and maturity, not an act of shame. More often than not in Africa, it is life-saving because the wrath of a people whose pride has been wounded is hard to contain. It is like volcanic lava cascading down a densely-populated valley or the angry waters from a dam wall that has been torn apart by a strong earthquake.


Therefore, the ministers responsible for energy, agriculture, transport, health, education, finance, housing and trade in Zimbabwe must make the right choice of resigning immediately.


The Reserve Bank governor, who has tried and failed miserably to restore monetary sanity to our country, can only do one more memorable thing – resign.


Do these guys have a choice? Empirical evidence is right outside their windows: the queues, emigration, homelessness and extreme poverty.

Zimbabweans are watching the skies and getting restless, seeing vultures slowly lose altitude. We are not yet ready to be devoured. We have the right to live.


*Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.