“Zimbabwe needs hands that will work and brains to propel it forward.Nations must work for, as long as earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease-that is God’s principle.”
The widely celebrated Easter holiday has come and gone and Zimbabwe continues to groan under the pangs of a decade-and-half industrial haemorrhage that has seen the economy teetering on the brink. The economy continues to choke under the weight of a crippling liquidity crunch among other financial hurdles.
However, for the umpteenth time we heard the old tired rhetoric of economic boom and restoration from prosperity movements across the country. Zimbabwe has (according to independent economists) a staggering unemployment rate of 85%. Naturally, this has seen thousands of graduates bending themselves into selling mobile phones, airtime and undertaking demeaning ventures in order to eke out a living.
The economic penury has created a fertile ground for the manipulation of vulnerable minds of the desperate. Employment has remained elusive and it is heartrending to see degree-holders standing behind vegetable stalls. Education was never meant to be an end in itself but sadly this is the situation gripping the land between Zambezi and Limpopo. Of the 13 000 000 people, only 900,000 are formally employed.
Zimbabwean exports which should breathe life into an economy are far outweighed by the things we import. No country ever thrived when it has to import more than it exports. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains very low as compared to other GDPs in the region. Our beleaguered government continues to decry depressed revenue collection for the underpayment of the civil service.
Fuel shortages continue to ground the courts and our roads, which should critically enable the economy, are in an indescribably appalling state; popular comedian Kapfupi had to act in one scene fishing from a pothole reflecting on this sad reality. Marriages continue to crumble as husbands’ troop to foreign lands in search of better fortunes. Downsizing, retrenching and unpaid leave have become common in most organizations as they battle for survival.
Now, it is a psychologically established fact that when the human mind is plagued by a tortuous and unrelenting catastrophe for a long time it can readily lose its rational powers of thought. Most people who live in the rubble have been branded as ‘mad’ yet they may simply be the hapless victims of loneliness, distress, and poverty. Distress can adversely affect the mind. Now, could it be that lack and social trauma over the years has affected our powers of thought that we readily believe anything that promises to end our woes?
This is exactly the question or rather puzzle that began playing a fandango in my mind after listening to Easter religious messages and juxtaposing with the real situation on the ground. It seems we have become a people plagued by economic stagnation and social distress to the end that we have lost the power of objective foresight. We easily yield to anything that promises hope. How can people so readily embrace claims that the over-a-decade long economic meltdown would end overnight because God has “judged” against it? How can multitudes believe that the over-80% unemployment rate can simply be “judged” and vanish overnight?
How can we honestly be made to believe, every year, that we will experience miraculous boom when reality continues to stare us in the face? Zimbabwe needs hands that will work and brains that will propel it forward – that is God’s principle. Nations must work, as long as earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease. Wealth without work has never been God’s principle. It would appear that we have lost our objectivity as a people. In any case, did God ever say the ills of the present world will end in the hear-and-now? Did God Almighty ever hint that judgment of whatever form starts on this earth?
In contrast, Zimbabweans continue to receive promises of wealth, prosperity and economic boom each year but the reality on the ground tells a sobering story. Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa couldn’t have said it better when he denounced quick-fix approaches for a shift in economic fortunes. “Things cannot happen until you put brick after brick…” he said. Zimbabwe needs hands that will work and practical ideas to surge forward.
My dear friends, the sooner we wake up to this reality the better for us as a people. These feel-good promises while we sit clad in suits and outfits will not fix the economy. Indeed we need to come back to the physical world and get real about our national and foreign policies. We need to act on graft. Attract investment and improve fiscal policies. We need reengagement with the international donor community and revival of industry. “As long as earth remains, seedtime and harvest… shall not cease” (Gen 8:22).
Prophecies will not fix the economy dear friends. God intends that people should work. (Gen 3:19).