THE government of President Mugabe is haunted by two issues, that of legitimacy and that of being found to be in the wrong.
The two issues once again instructed the stateâ€™s decision to block the visit to Zimbabwe by three members of a team of Elders led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
Government spin-doctor went into a spin this week to justify the decision not to let in the team which wanted to assess the extent of the humanitarian needs in the country. The visit had been â€œpostponedâ€ because the team had not made adequate consultations with the Zimbabwean authorities, was the main reason proffered. The truth was however soon apparent. The Zanu PF government feared that a â€œdamning report was in the offingâ€ from the team. Such a report was part of a regime-change agenda by the United States and Britain.
This is the major source of our predicament. The rulers of this land have clung to the self-fulfilling belief that all the ills bedevilling the country have been caused by exogenous factors mooted by evil conspirators in the West. Zanu PF politicians are afraid of losing power and the opportunity of gorging royally at the trough. It is important to remind President Mugabe and his cohorts that Zimbabweans do not need a visit by the Elders to pronounce a low score on the Zanu PF government.
The average Zimbabwean today knows that this country is led by flunkers whose handiwork is evident in the humanitarian crisis that has befallen this nation. The government is so much afraid of international condemnation as if it expects sympathy from its long-suffering citizens. We are fed up with the regimeâ€™s stubborn delinquency in attending to the huge crisis facing us. Zimbabweans are not interested in the regimeâ€™s ability to score points against the West. They are not interested in the tired mantras of nationalism and sovereignty. They want food. They want to access their salaries from the bank without inhibition. They want efficient and affordable service in hospitals. They want to remove the obstacles preventing them from having a decent way of life. They want regime change yesterday as confirmed by the March elections results.
So it is insulting to the intellect of Zimbabwean who voted against Mugabe in March to suggest that the regime-change agenda is a foreign project. It is a Zimbabwean process which has been given fresh impetus by the failure ofÂ the state to expeditiously contain the deadly cholera pandemic wreaking havoc in Harareâ€™s southern suburbs and large parts of Mashonaland Central.
The regimeâ€™s failure to provide Harare and other urban centres with clean potable water has resulted in this medieval disease haunting us in modern times. How embarrassing for a regime that credits itself for taking â€œstrides in providing healthcareâ€.
Treatment centres which have been set up to cater for cholera victims do not have adequate drugs. At times, the centres have turned away patients because of inadequate supplies of basics like gloves, buckets and ingredients to makes the salt/sugar solution. Aid agencies have come in handy to provide water, bedding and drugs but the problem requires greater mobilisation of resources.
There is all the evidence that the government does not have the resources to contain the outbreak. The country has no capacity to feed itself, care for the elderly and young children.
Poor healthcare and a failing social security system have seen the life expectancy of women dropping from 60 to just 34 in an 18-year period. Men are expected to live to the age of 37. There is a rapid increase of child mortality due to breakdowns at referral hospitals. According to the 2007-2008 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report Zimbabwe has fared badly in almost all key human development indicators. There is ample evidence of a sharp decline in lifestyles. We are getting poorer daily.
Zimbabwe needs help urgently yet our leaders donâ€™t appear to mind the country losing lives daily in the name of safeguarding national sovereignty. The Eldersâ€™ visit was an opportunity for the state to harness more resources from the international community to save our desperate situation. There is nothing embarrassing about it because there is an international appeal already out for assistance. But donors have been lethargic relative to the needs on the ground. On the other hand, Zanu PF is bereft of any plan to rescue the situation other than shouting for the lifting of sanctions.
There is such a thing as a failed state and Zimbabwe today can safely be called one. President Mugabeâ€™s bag of tricks is fast emptying. In the past three years, he thought he had a plan but this has failed as well. It went like this: â€œWhere money for projects has not been found, we will print it.â€
Can he print money to fight cholera, hunger and poverty stalking the nation? Not any more. His time is up. He must go.
By Vincent Kahiya