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.