HARARE – There are apparently three types of lies according to a Victorian British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881): Lies, damn lies, and statistics.
Not to be outdone on this dishonourable subject, Russian novelist, short story writer and philosopher, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881) wrote thus: “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love”.
I was reminded of these two personalities and their famous quotes over the past two weeks as I listened to the naked lies of those that load it over us, as they once again make passionate pitches for the “cheap” support of the povo ahead of next week’s crucial polls.
Honestly, don’t these people have shame?
And has truth really become this much stranger than fiction in our country over the past 33 years of our supposed Uhuru?
Let us tell it like it is, and distil the matter further in the inimitable and insightful tradition of the Daily News.
Without fear or favour.
And where better to start than with the gobsmacking utterances of President Robert Mugabe, other fat cats in his Zanu PF party, as well as the “Animal Farm” contents of their 2013 election campaign manifesto.
Shockingly, for a country that has been “independent” for all of 33 years under the leadership of this very same old and failed crew, they somehow want us to believe that our sovereignty as a nation would be in grave danger without them, ostensibly from the very same nations that they used to love going shopping to, and from which they have perennially begged for charity for the past three decades.
But even more astounding, they want to ascribe the attainment of Zimbabwe’s independence itself to their sole efforts — in addition to making the equally bizarre claim that their disastrous fast-track land grabs have been a massive success.
This is despite well-known facts that thousands of workers and their families were violently displaced from those farms — without anywhere to go — with many of those farms now lying needlessly fallow and unproductive because the new multi-farm owners of these vast tracts of land only utilise them for the occasional weekend retreat.
Under this misguided thinking too, these “chefs” claim that their already ruinous “indigenisation” programme (code for the grabbing of thriving foreign-owned companies by party bigwigs) will create a prosperous bourgeois class out of our desperately poor proletariat over the next five years.
Is it not most revealing that this “indigenisation” programme only targets viable corporates and never the fledgling enterprises, and that not one intended beneficiary of the so-called Share Ownership Schemes has a clue how they work, who really controls the schemes and when benefits might start accruing to them?
And does the 2013 Zanu PF election manifesto not echo the party’s same empty promises of 2005 and 2008 by promising to build an impossible 2,2 million houses in the next five years to clear the national housing backlog, when their real achievement in this regard over the past decade was the painful and infamous Operation Murambatsvina of 2005?
Ooh, the icing on the cake in the party’s election thrusts: every single one of its myriad failures in its 33 years in power is either a result of the evil west, or the MDCs.
Not to forget the imaginary sanctions that have supposedly cost us a whopping $42 billion to the dot over the past decade.
Yes, if it does not rain, or one of their overfed colleagues breaks wind, it is a result of the machinations of regime change merchants, their puppets and the sanctions.
One has to be a real dimwit to believe these poorly conceived, naked lies.
But as strange as it sounds to our tinpot dictators, who now, fatally, appear to believe their own propaganda, as Fyodor Dostoyevsky warned, the root causes of all problems as a nation are Zanu PF’s patently anti-democratic DNA, its cadres’ mismanagement, and the culture of corruption that has now become endemic under their misrule.
So, as these lying and thieving fat cats criss-cross our once beautiful country, campaigning for yet another term in office, please ask yourselves fellow Zimbabweans whether this lot, after being in power for 33 long years, and failing dismally to help anyone except themselves and their cronies, can suddenly be the champions of progress and development for all of us in the next five years.
Remember too, who it is who has presided over Zimbabwe’s seemingly inexorable demise and its never-ending political and economic crises, culminating in the untold suffering, as well as world-record inflation and never-before witnessed economic problems of 2008.
Indeed, it is a terrible indictment on all of us that we are now confronted with the undeniable fact that Zimbabweans are on average, today, worse off than they were economically in Ian Smith’s minority-ruled Rhodesia. Facts are stubborn. Where is our democracy dividend and what was the liberation struggle for?
But there is hope, and it lies with all of us who will be voting next week.
As one William Arthur Ward observed: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change, and the realist adjusts the sails.
Our seemingly endless nightmare can, and should, end if we all exercise our right to vote in people who will, at long last, look after our interests too.
To that extent, next week is do or die. It is that important.