Columnist/Opinion

Mnangagwa regime is an insult to black people!

BY Tendai Ruben Mbofana

Whenever President  Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa gets a chance to pontificate, he always urges Zimbabweans to be proud of their Africanness.

This was not different yesterday as he addressed mourners at the burial of Brigadier-General Romeo Mutsvunguma at the National Heroes Acre.

He wanted everyone to believe that he was this great Pan-Africanist.

Those who are not very familiar with the socio-political situation in Zimbabwe may even mistakenly assume that this was a man who made Africa proud.

But, alas – nothing can be farther from the truth.

There is no other group of people who have brought the reputation of Africans into disrepute and shame than the Mnangagwa administration.

Surely, what do they have to show that makes us say, “Wow, I’m so proud to be African?”

If anything, Mnangagwa and his comrades seem determined to prove the age-old misconception and propaganda that black people can not govern themselves.

We all know that this fallacy is not true – but the Zimbabwe government wants to prove it to be so.

In this regard, I am not even referring to how the ZANU PF regime has destroyed a once prosperous nation – which was proudly described as ‘the jewel of Africa’ – into one of the poorest countries on the planet.

I am not ever talking about how his administration has forced half the population into extreme poverty – earning less than the UN global standard of US$2.57 a day.

Of course, such glaring unmitigated failures align perfectly with this erroneous notion of our inability to govern ourselves – especially considering that Zimbabwe boasts of nearly 60 precious minerals, in great demand all over the world.

What I am more concerned about in this discourse is the Mnangagwa regime’s unquenchable propensity for corruption.

There is nothing that says someone is a miserable failure and can not achieve anything on their own intellect and abilities than corruption.

As I watched Mnangagwa unashamedly portraying himself as some Pan-African, who is so proud to be black, my heart sank and became disquieted.

I could not help wondering what example our young ones would learn from this caboodle in power.

What example are they setting for the county’s youth?

What can our young ones learn except that, to be financially successful, one had to engage in shady deals that did not add any value to the country’s economy but rather impoverished everyone else?

The only thing our youth can see are a few Zimbabweans who are enjoying lavish lifestyles – in an ocean of unbelievable poverty – from ill-gotten wealth acquired through corruption.

Are these the role models we genuinely desire for our children?

I, for one, would never want my son to grow up to be another Wicknell Chivayo!

Why would anyone be proud of acquiring wealth from looting taxpayers’ money via dubious deals that violate the country’s laws?

Is that who we are as black people?

Are we honestly telling the world that we are totally incapable of running successful multi-billion-dollar businesses that operate above board?

Instead of making money from securing government tenders in unprocedural ways, why can we not establish and successfully run conglomerates that actually grow the country’s economy?

Instead of inflating costs or never completing the job or, if completed, the job being woefully below standard, why can we not actually be honest entrepreneurs who can be trusted to deliver?

Of course, we do have black moguls from Zimbabweans, of whom we can truly be proud.

We have the likes of Econet Wireless’ Strive Masiyiwa – with an estimated net worth of US$1.9 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world and the fifth on the African continent.

Not even once has his name cropped up in any corruption scandal.

Yet, he is a thousand, if not a million, times richer than Chivayo – and a trillion times the man Chivayo is!

Masiyiwa has integrity and has never depended on proximity to power for dubious deals.

As a matter of fact, he faced relentless opposition from the ZANU PF government, which repeatedly denied his Econet Wireless mobile network company an operating license.

Only after the intervention of the late vice president Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo – who was appalled by the injustices against Masiyiwa – was a license eventually issued in 1999.

In spite of getting into the business three years behind state-owned NetOne and Telecel, Masiyiwa’s Econet was soon to overtake both and become the largest mobile network operator in the country.

His business interests also span across many other countries, including Mascom Wireless Botswana, Econet Wireless Nigeria (now Airtel Nigeria), Liquid Intelligent Technologies Group, Econet Wireless New Zealand (now 2 Degrees Mobile), Trilogy Capital Partners Canada, Cassava Technologies, Africa Data Centres, Sasai Fintech, and Telrad Group Israel.

Yet, in all this, the man has remained grounded, humble, and blameless.

Never have we seen him flaunt his wealth.

What can we say about Mnangagwa’s close associates such as Chivayo, Mike Chimombe, Moses Mpofu, or even self-styled prophet Passion Java?

What businesses do they actually operate?

What are their companies’ names?

Where are they located?

Most importantly, what do these companies actually do?

In fact, these questions equally apply to those in power.

Can anyone point to a product or work (even just one) done by Chivayo, for instance?

In spite of receiving US$5 million from ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority) way back in 2015, where is the 100MW solar plant which was supposed to be constructed in Gwanda?

Mpofu and Chimombe could not even deliver the US$40 million worth of goats for which their ‘company’ was given a tender!

All what these individuals could do was buy highly expensive cars and mansions.

This is something only to be expected from those who have never worked for their money!

Not only was this money from taxpayers, but it was also meant for national development.

The only reason they secured these deals was their proximity to power.

Yet, through their corruption, the nation is left poorer and the population in abject poverty.

If these people, including those in power, were actually genuine businesspeople, why could they not make their money in the same honest way as Masiyiwa?

Why can they not establish and build their own business empires?

Is the only way they can make money through pillaging public funds?

What does that then tell us about their intellect, or lack of?

Someone who can not build his own business and make his own money fairly and honesty, whilst using his intellect, is a huge fool and dimwit.

He is no better than any other common criminal, such as a house burglar, bank robber, mugger, pickpocket, or shoplifter.

Surely, are we expected to emulate such people even when they become rich through their criminal activities?

Yet, this is the culture being created and cultivated by the Mnangagwa administration – where such crooks are actively awarded tenders purely based on their proximity to power.

Not only that, but in the process, procurement laws are wantonly violated, costs are shamelessly inflated, and the agreed upon work is never completed or done properly.

What message, then, is the Mnangagwa government sending to the world about Africans?

Are they not saying that black people are nothing more than brainless dunderheads who can only make money through criminality?

It is undeniable that there is nothing Pan-African about Mnangagwa and his cronies.

They have actually caused more harm to the image of black people than anyone else.

We then have to rely on real entrepreneurs such as Masiyiwa to undo that perception.

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/

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