HARARE – Under President Robert Mugabe’s watch, Bulawayo and many other cities have lost manufacturing jobs yet it is significant that on Saturday, July 27 he said that Bulawayo would rise again to reclaim its place as the industrial hub of the country.
Addressing a star rally of a crowd estimated by state-controlled media to be more than 40 000 people, he promised that the government would immediately end the city’s water challenges after winning the elections this week.
He observed as if he has been living in darkness that the water woes, which are known to all who care about the future of the city, that this was an urgent matter, that needed to be addressed as it was getting out of hand.
No rational person would campaign on the slogan “taking back the economy” when regard is had to the fact that the manufacturing sector has paid the ultimate price during the last 33 years and, therefore, it would be ridiculous to take back shares in dead companies without changing the conditions and ideas that killed the affected companies.
Furthermore, a financially bankrupt government is not in a position to make the promises that President Mugabe made in Bulawayo.
Surely, he must know better and more significantly respect the intelligence of the people who daily have to endure the pains of independence.
An economy that has been battered needs a new direction. If Mugabe had the solutions to the problems then 33 years would have been sufficient for the people of Bulawayo to know.
For a party that now campaigns on a false premise that the state can be trusted to generate employment, Bulawayo provides a good example of why it would be suicidal to trust a blind man to see what lies ahead.
Mugabe as if he were coming from another planet had this to say: “We have to look at the situation of our people in urban areas . . . water, water, water. Enyamandlovu khonapho, we dig lots of water, lots of drilling of boreholes to support Bulawayo. We did Mtshabezi Dam long ago to bring water to Bulawayo . . . these areas have to be looked at.
The “we” refers to the government and it is evident that Mugabe believes that the role of the government is to provide resources without explaining where the ?resources would come from.
The people of Bulawayo would be well aware that the funds used for the elections and the referendum could very well have been used to address their challenges but alas because the powers that be hold the view that it is more important to pretend that Zimbabwe is still an independent and sovereign nation and, therefore, should not beg for external financial support.
By making the choice that Zimbabwe must finance its own electoral processes, the people of Bulawayo cannot expect a change of values and principles after the election to suggest that perhaps manna will come from heaven for salvation.
In 1980, Mugabe was acutely aware that on independence day: “The whole world is looking on us this day” and the same world which he embraced on independence day could not be allowed to observe the elections and for making that decision, resources that could otherwise have been directed to address the challenges faced by cities have had to be used for elections.
Mugabe, who must have been embarrassed that under his watch, the residents of Bulawayo were subjected to unacceptable conditions, had this to say: “I mentioned water without addressing the situation. I understand that lapha koBulawayo you are getting water three times a week. Why? There is no water? Ligeza ngaphi? Right, it’s a situation we must look at.
“I understand some of our wells; some of them in Nyamandlovu went into disuse and are no longer supplying water. We should look at them; see whether we can revive them.”
By expressing surprise that there was no water in Bulawayo one could easily conclude that he was making fun of the audience yet in truth and fact, he has no mechanism of knowing how urgent change is required in Zimbabwe.
He still believes after 33 years in power he should be trusted to look into the situation when everyone knows that the Emperor is naked and broke.
Mugabe then observed that: “EMtshabezi there is a pipeline that’s coming this way. I don’t know; the water is not yet here. Perhaps we shall be commissioning it soon. So, we will do our best and it is an urgent matter. You can’t have people in a city like this one not having adequate water. There has to be adequate water.”
It would appear that Mugabe was not briefed about the true state of the water woes afflicting Bulawayo otherwise how could one explain the import of the statement above.
He then turned to the well-established and known industrial decay in Bulawayo, by stating that it was imperative for the city to retain its status as the industrial hub of Zimbabwe without explaining how this would be accomplished under his continued watch.
He said that: “This is the City of Kings, it’s the city that has made many people. It is the city that once upon a time prided itself as leading in industry. Young men drifted to this city. Even my father drifted here. For 10 years he was here and I also followed him. It is Bulawayo that has a history we can never forget.
Indeed, at independence the city of Bulawayo prided itself as leading in industry but under President Mugabe’s watch the city has been transformed into a ghost city.
By acknowledging that: “Revolutionaries came from here. Fighters came from here. So, today we must remind you that we offended that history, we offended the good work, the good work our revolutionaries did when in 2008 we allowed once again the stooges of the enemy to have power,” one would assume that the only correct approach would be to take full responsibility for offending the history and legacy of Bulawayo.
As if oblivious of his administration’s culpability, he then said: “We voted wrongly and we must question ourselves today and I am glad you came. This is a revival. Let us turn our minds today and say what did we do? Senzani? Takaitei?
“We must strengthen ourselves and be in line with our history, be in line with those who have gone, who fought for us and assume now the same character we had before. It must be a Bulawayo that has come back to life and we will ensure, if you vote for us, that the industries will come back to life, that the people of Bulawayo will come back to life.”
Mugabe is smart enough to know that the people of Bulawayo who have historically shown their distaste against political opportunism will not fooled into believing that slogans and finger-pointing will deliver economic salvation.
It is significant that president Mugabe who has yet to be exposed to the ills of independence still believes that the government that has been exceptionally good to him and the few that are lucky to be in his wagon had this to say: “In the past, we gave assistance to various companies . . . we assisted them here. But, unfortunately, soon after assisting Merlin, the owners decided to go to South Africa . . . and Merlin was taken over by one of us and it has not been doing well.
President Mugabe also acknowledged that the stagnation of industries under his watch was a problem that affected all cities of Zimbabwe but startlingly concluded that: “ only a Zanu PF government had the power and resources to stimulate the industrial sector throughout the country.”
He added that the revival of industries in the country was one of the first things that the Zanu PF government would tackle when it assumes power after elections.
He declared that he ?intends to fulfil his promise to revive industries and end the water woes of Bulawayo. He said his promise was not a political gimmick to win votes. He correctly observed that: “The people in urban areas have no water, electricity off and on, off and on.”
When people observe that Mugabe is out of touch with reality it seems like a joke but when one listens to him in his own words one has to understand that his competency to grasp what is really taking place has been severely compromised by staying too long in power.
It is not surprising, therefore, that he had this to say: “Now we say under a Zanu PF government, using our policy of indigenisation, employment, we will go very far. We will do a lot in getting our country to recover.”
The fact that the hour of liberation has arrived is evident from the ignorance displayed by president Mugabe on what matters to the future of the country.
It was Jesus who said: “Aren’t there 12 hours in a day? If a person walks in the day, they do not stumble, because they see the light of this day; but if they walk in the night (like Mugabe), they stumble, because the light is not in them,” to make the point that the idea of light has to do with the awakening of the people of Zimbabwe about the true state of the economy and the fact that people like President Mugabe who still live in darkness must be relieved of the obligation to lead the awakened on a flight path that will not deliver the promise of a better life.