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Who benefits from Zim’s starvation?

IT is generally agreed that one man’s misfortune can be another man’s gold. Now that our beloved country is reeling under severe starvation caused by the government’s lack of the requisite foresight and chaotic policies exacerbated by dro

ught, we have people who seem to be thriving on our adversity.

Not everyone of us is a victim of this malaise. How about the profiteering business people who profit at our penury? What about the Zanu PF government, are they not thanking this starvation for providing them with ground to entrench their hegemony? I am bound to believe that someone, somewhere actually profiteers either politically or economically.

A look at the business community will generally reveal that because of the malaise in our country they are presented with an opportunity to further enrich themselves at the expense of the poor who have generally been reduced to vagabonds. Of course an endemic economic crisis is so infectious that it cripples every sector of the economy, but when it comes to some of our business people it is a real case of making themselves even more richer, unfortunately at the expense of the poor masses. This has prompted the creation of an abysmal gap between the rich and the poor.

This is the reason why some go on to buy flashy cars and live flamboyant lives while more than 80% of the population is struggling to fill their tummies just for a day.

Here I am not trying to undermine the fact that most companies or businesses are actually closing down which is symptomatic of President Robert Mugabe’s archaic economic policies. So much about the business people.

But my issue is on the politician of our land. A crisis in a country always has beneficiaries or losers. The war in Angola had beneficiaries as well as losers. In the DRC the general populace was wallowing in poverty and fear while some of our own top political leadership managed to reap some bloody diamonds to line their already fat pockets. So precisely who benefits from our economic, political and social decadence? Is it Morgan Tsvangirai or President Mugabe? I leave this to conjecture.

One school of thought likes to shift the benefit or the profit to Tsvangirai. It says any crisis in any nation provides an opportunity for that country’s opposition to preach the weaknesses of an incumbent government. So in this case they say it is Tsvangirai who has been presented with a golden chance to tell the people of this country that Mugabe has failed them. The proponents of this school of thought say this is the reason why the MDC was born and why it is still a potent force to remove Mugabe who has dismally failed and has no hope to revive the economy of the decaying country, at least in his remaining days.

To them it is the starvation and general penury of the people that entrenches the political life of the opposition party. Thus in a sense it is the MDC which benefits from the continued failure of Zanu PF to ameliorate the current morass. This has given the opposition more opportunities to remove the geriatric leader. What do you say to this one?

But some would argue otherwise saying it is actually Mugabe himself who profits from our starvation and hunger. Being the author of our problems, Mugabe has generally designed and manipulated the starvation so that it conforms to his own bidding. This is why the dear leader seems not to be serious about finding a lasting solution to our predicament. Why not if the hunger is used as a capitalisation ground to spruce up his dwindling support base. In light here is the case of using food as a political weapon.

In my home area of Chipinge people are actually given food through some Zanu PF structures. You actually have to register with the ward executives before you are rendered eligible for some maize to feed your family. The ward executive will actually have to ensure first that you are a regular attendant at the party meetings before you are accepted. If you are not a meeting goer you are branded an MDC member who by all standards does not deserve the food since it comes from the ruling party.

The current regime also benefits in terms of extinguishing the revolutionary zest of the people of this embattled country. Revolution here is defined as an inalienable nature of people when it comes to change. Revolutionaries are those who act when an anomaly happens, thus they fight to correct it. So according to James Davies, an English scholar, hungry people are no material for a revolution because they are so hungry that they do not think of anything other than food. In this sense hunger forces people to be passive. It is the same hunger that causes people not to be receptive to calls for mass action. They are just plain hungry and are prepared to spend the whole day in a queue and nowhere else.

Jack Zaba,

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