I Cry For Home Part. 1

I hate talking about my country when I have nothing good to say. I used to actively avoid it. The last few weeks has shown me that I have probably been doing it all wrong. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine last night and there were a few things that made me upset, made me laugh and angry all at the same time. Oh yes and also confused.

Now there are a lot of issues that I want to cover and to make it easier to read I am going to split them up into a few blogs.

In any country that you live in that has a reasonably civilised government (I cannot call the current government of Zimbabwe civilised but that’s my own opinion), you can kind of see the method to their madness, they will tell you stories that are 80% true because they don’t want to burden the citizens with the truth. I think that’s better than what my government has been doing since they came into power under what I consider to be dubious circumstances on my birthday in 2017.

I am not even too sure where to start. What honestly pains me is to see how far we as a people in Zimbabwe have gone in the same direction that our “leaders” have gone in. The moral fabric that we have left in us is worrying in my opinion. We have gotten to a dog eat dog world. The levels of profiteering are beyond me. It seems that we look at the government and we are basically copying them. In some instances, I think it is justified. There are some costs that need to be passed down the line to consumers, while there are others that could be passed along more gently by retailers/service providers coming together to discuss how to manage the situation. A simple example is when the government waited until the middle of the night on a weekend to announce that the price of fuel was going up by 150%. First of all, this was a dick move because this was done in the middle of the night. In fact, a friend of mine had spent the whole day in a fuel queue, only to get to the pump just after midnight (the price hike came into effect at midnight) and was horrified to be advised that the price was $3.31 per litre of petrol. The additional $2 that was added by the government is a tax. So we have the 2% transaction tax, we have a $2 tax on fuel, we have a carbon tax…. Like what the fuck? Now we can debate whether it was right, legal or necessary another time. The fact is, fuel had to go up as it was much cheaper than the region.

The downstream effect of increasing the cost of fuel doesn’t seem like it was looked at properly. Public transport in this country is run by private individuals. Those individuals immediately increased the fares in response to the price hike. Now, this is where I feel that they could have handled the situation a little better. In a civilised country they would have come together, discussed the fuel hike, done their calculations and then possibly raised the issue with the relevant ministery to advise them about their position. The problem is, the government doesn’t regulate the public transportation guys, and a lot of other industries I might add, very well. In fact, with these public transport guys, they are essentially a law unto themselves. The government’s response is to engage private players (shock horror) to partner with the actual (defunct) public transport government parastatal. The government parastatal’s vehicles are all but grounded due to lack of maintenance and other issues.

As in their “best” practice, the government stitched up this deal without giving any details as to what was agreed between these private players and the government. The government is going to have to pay these guys for the service, and the government is going to get the money from us taxpayers, further eroding what little we earn as we will be taxed for it.

The result is that future generations are going to continue to bail out the government. They had a big drive that they said they were going with to reduce their domestic debt. At the same time, they have decided to increase their debt with this arrangement which they hastily put together. It had the desired effect of reducing the cost of transport that the cowboy private transporters. Some people are praising them for this move. I see it more as a reactionary knee jerk reaction that is going to come to a head soon and the position will still be the same.

I guess we have no other option but to simply accept what we are provided with by our government. It’s not living if we can’t find bread, fuel is frighteningly expensive, we don’t have basic services like cleaning drinking water from the taps and our roads are in a state that makes it a mission to drive around unless you have a car with high clearance. Living in this country is like being a prisoner in your own house. At the end of the day, this country does not belong to one person or an elite group of people. This country belongs to every single person born or raised here. It is our responsibility to do our best to ensure that future generations have a chance to make something of their lives. Zimbabwe was here before most of the people in this country, and after we leave it will still be here.

Let us change our mindsets about how we care for the environment, how we made it conducive for all to have a chance to be the best version of themselves, let’s change how we do business with each other, let’s move forward from the mindsets that we have been stuck in since I can remember. Our lack of togetherness about the vision we want for this country will always be our downfall. The vision isn’t some pie in the sky vision of having an underground running and high-speed trains. The vision needs to be practical and start to address the basic things that every human needs to start to survive in this crazy world we live in.

 

Bird Box *SPOILER ALERT*

bb1

Director: Susanne Bier

Writers:  Eric Heisserer (Screenplay), Josh Malerman (novel)

Stars:  Sandra BullockTrevante RhodesJohn Malkovich

Running Time: 2hrs 4min

I am a big fan of Sandy B. She actually is one of my favourite actresses. All the way from the days when I first watched Speed and Miss Congeniality. I won’t talk about that silly movie she did called Gravity. That was a shocker.

Anyway, the movie follows a pregnant Sandy B who is close to giving birth during a time when there is some supernatural stuff going on around the world that is causing people to kill themselves. She winds up in a house with a few other people who eventually figure out that if you look at what’s happening outside you will wanna kill yourself. So they cover up the windows and lock the doors and hide inside someone’s house.

bb2
When people are scared all decency goes out the window. A pregnant Sandy B on the floor is just Sandy B on the floor

As with all horror/survival type movies they eventually make their way out in a rather ridiculous fashion to go and look for food and this results in someone dying. As always the house is made up of people of different characters. John Malkovich is the one person that no one wants to listen to because he is a bit of a dick. However, if they had listened to him more of them could have survived. But that is a story for another day.

The scares in the movie are few and far between. I felt that the movie was more of a thriller than a horror. Interestingly, most horror movies are scary because you see the threat or frightening thing a few times in the movie so you are always in suspense. In this movie, you do not see the horror at all… apart from the suicides.

bb3
Sandy B spent a lot of the movie wandering around blindfolded…. Now the internets are trying it

General the pace of the movie is very good, the characters do not leave much to be desired and most of the conversations/interactions between the characters is good. I didn’t feel any pain following them from scene to scene.

The movie doesn’t explain what went down that caused all of this. Some people on the internets feel that the ending was vague. I think a good movie also leaves you to draw your own conclusions. Sometimes being told what caused everything takes some of the mystery away and I am glad that they did that.

I enjoyed the movie and I am sure that it will last another six months in my movie collection before I delete it.

Not a must watch movie, but worth the 2hrs

Tongs-o-meter rating: 6.5/10

P.S. Please can we stop this Bird Box Challenges. It’s stupid and you will hurt yourself walking around blindfolded. Please. Just stop it.

 

Backwards or Sideways

Happy 2019 to you all. It has been a very long time since I had a chance to blog. I feel bad because it is something that I enjoy doing but haven’t had a chance to do it in a while.

Things have gotten really wild at home in the last four or so months. There was a pronouncement that made no sense made by our Minister of Finance which resulted in people losing their collective minds and suddenly charging exorbitant prices for products. Of course, none of our salaries have been adjusted and we are collectively seeing our bums. Prices in most places have more than tripled, there have been a few companies who have successfully held the govt at ransom and succeeded, however, there have been civil servants who have tried to hold the govt at ransom (most of the reasons made sense, though one of them didn’t) and they failed. It is hard to understand when our junior doctors are on strike citing unsafe working conditions in the public hospitals (no surgical gloves, medicines to name a few) they are threatened with being replaced with other doctors who are aren’t working, but when a company that produces alcohol indicates that they are going to start charging for their alcohol in real currency, the govt backflips to assist their business but doesn’t seem to do the same for our doctors. Sure we can get into arguments about the Hippocratic oath that doctors make. However, if the working conditions are not safe, then one shouldn’t work.

This surely shows that we have misplaced priorities in this country. The misplaced priorities extend further than just the govt. We as a nation of people also have very misplaced priorities. We are all suffering in our own ways, but when I spoke to some people, they were more upset about the fact that this beer producer wanted to charge in hard currency and not in the funny money we have. They seemed to be unconcerned with the fact that the public hospitals were under-capacitated in terms of staff and tools. It almost feels as the though the govt decided that if we as a nation sober up to the actual plight that we are in, the nation would descend into madness. Well, we are already deep in the madness as it is.

Unfortunately, the hole that we are in as a nation is deeper than we realise. The fact is that we do not have the forex reserves to properly operate (The reasons why we have a shortage of forex is a debate for another day.). Everytime forex comes in (be it from tobacco or gold or the mythical diamonds that we have in this country), it is used to cover a gap. The earnings we receive shouldn’t only be used to bridge gaps otherwise that’s all we will spend our time doing. It means that there is no development happening in the various industries.

Sometimes I feel like the govt is like a student. When I was a student I used to live paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t earn much, but I knew that by the end of the second week of the month I was skint. What’s funny is that I actually had a specific attitude to the little money I would earn. I had two monthly expenses which I used to pay as soon as I got paid. I would pay for my monthly transport ticket (my justification was that now I could travel to university and work) and I would pay my monthly phone line rental (I could call people). After that, I would have one or two nights out with the boys and then I was screwed. I wouldn’t have money to buy myself anything nice or do anything other than going to the pub to watch football or going to a bar. For me, that was allowed because I was a student and I didn’t know any better. A govt can’t exhibit such behaviour. They aren’t a student… or are they?

Like it or not, there are many issues that need to be resolved if we are to ever go forward in this country. There are some issues that I won’t even go into because I have limited knowledge about some of the subject matters and they would need their own analysis. I do foresee the govt having a torrid time playing catch up with the private sector because they left the likes of public transport to the private sector, the setting up of the fibre network also to private players, they let a mobile money platform take over payment methods in this country without having any control over them, and the mobile network providers erect their towers around the country without having some control over it. Now before I get attacked for what seems like the singling out of a particular company, please bear in mind that these are just a few examples that came to my mind.

What is worse is that the govt has let the nation become ruled by service providers who do whatever they want, charge the prices they want to and there is no reprise for us as customers, all the while we are being to taxed to hell and back by the govt with their 2% tax. How can this be a conducive environment to live in. We have no real consumer protection other than the small groups that we have to set up ourselves. We have a crisis of confidence in the govt because they simply do what they like without consulting the people who it will affect. Sure, some may say that the govt doesn’t need to consult us and they can impose anything they like. However, buy-in from all stakeholders is required.

At the end of it all, we may say that we are in 2019 in Zimbabwe, but in reality, we are very far behind. I still believe that we require a few things if we are ever to call ourselves a proper nation:

  1. Accountability for everyone
  2. Transparency from those in positions of power
  3. The WILL to actually change the way that we have been doing things.

This year is going to be one hell of a ride. Ultimately all we can do is try and remain positive through it all, tighten the belts and be ready for anything. At the moment there is no crystal ball that can tell us where we are headed. The way I see it sideways seems to be the only direction that we are going in. Sideways might be me being optimistic. It may be a slow slide backwards