There is too much obsession with prosperity, in Zimbabwe. That sounds good, as necessary for solving immediate family problems. But, the more focused on prosperity, humanity becomes, the more susceptible to vanity. Most people are currently languishing in poverty. Yet others question how Zimbabwe can be said to be impoverished when their personally accumulated wealth exceeds those of the developed countries.
Even if prosperity was achievable to most people, today, Zimbabwe would still be doomed. This was the condition with most Zimbabweans in 1980. Immediately, after independence, the previously marginalized blacks got promoted to high-paying jobs. This generated laxity in the thinking pattern of our black people.
The aim was to access riches and live like white settlers. The influx of black people migrating to the low-density areas was very high, in the early eighties. Robert Mugabe’s misrule was manifesting, even at that time, for those who cared to observe. Very few people could appreciate that we were headed for disaster.
Sending one’s children to super-class private schools, whose school fees were exorbitantly incomparable with the services provided, became fashionable. There was competition, based on who manages to send children to Super-class private schools. This included affording big houses in low-density suburbs.
Those unable to send their children to private schools were despised, although their children outperformed those from such private schools. It was probably at that time, that most Zimbabweans lost their dignity. Success was associated with wealth accumulation. Yet true success is described by what one gives to others.
During Ian Smith’s regime, the majority of black town-dwellers lived in high-density areas. The standard of living in those high-density areas was not the same. There were those, observably, with better incomes, driving cars, which the majority could not afford. The rate of criminality was lower than currently stands.
The better-educated ones, living in that environment, were an inspiration to the barely educated in those areas. The good lifestyle of the educated, in the neighborhood, could motivate those desiring to also improve their lifestyles. In other words, people were bonded in strong relationships.
The advent of independence broke that bondage. Relocating to white suburban areas was aimed; so that lavish spending became the norm. I have no qualms with that reasoning. But my concern is stuck on whether such spending was really necessary, where one’s parents in rural areas, still lived in abject poverty.
Most of our educated people did not think in terms of improving the standard of living, among their impoverished relatives. It was about self-improvement, more than improving the lives of those they left in high-density suburban areas. Independence was interpreted to mean self-enrichment.
This was the time that Robert Mugabe made sure his ministers lived an exorbitantly expensive lifestyle. This has been the trend, to this day. Nobody could censor Mugabe’s leadership, as everyone assumed that living an expensive lifestyle was something admirable.
I have always rejected the assumption that Robert Mugabe was solely to blame for the rundown of this country. The provision of Parliament, designed to legislate laws, aiming at improving the lifestyles of the majority, was not effectively utilized. The legislators assumed that they were important people, even without doing anything of value to their admirers.
The current generation was never planned for. Personal aggrandizements became more attractive, rather than any value addition to the majority. This has remained the trending malady, affecting Zimbabweans, up to this day.
It is commonly observable that when good leadership is in place, the people’s mindsets change for the better. But, as citizens, it is necessary to realize that each can magnetically influence others. Human beings love copying what happens next door, more than copying God’s way of living.
Once upon a time, cheating on one’s spouse was disgraceful. This has changed, viewed as now fashionable, due to copying the trendsetters. “If everyone is doing it, it’s not shameful.” The aspect of integrity gets thrown outside the window when trendsetters devalue integrity. People take comfort in degraded fashionable ideas, without considering their integrity.
Those of high integrity can also be negatively influenced by those around them. But the biggest challenge is the inability to become oneself. When surrounded by thieves, one also becomes a thief. Successful countries, owe everything to their past luminaries, who became trendsetters, crafting values in integrity.
The term, “integrity” means adherence to ethical values, without being influenced by others. It is one thing to be unethical because others are unethical. It is quite another to maintain one’s integrity, even when surrounded by unethical people. These are legendarily distinguishable differences in this world.
There is no magic to it; as it takes strong characters to set trends, defining the behavior of the entire populace. Some people may not understand what makes the CCC leader, popular. But, everything revolves around integrity. Anyone can develop that kind of popularity in his neighborhood.
The test of character is in withstanding forces that bring pain to the body when confronting the truth. Any person’s value is quantified in supplying the greatest good to the majority. It is impossible for those loving themselves more than others, to be likable. One can compare the differences between the behaviors of Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora.
One is driven by how much money one would earn. Yet the other is driven by the wishes of those surrounding him. Hence the idea of listening to citizens’ wishes becomes instantly saleable. Few people, surprised by Chamisa’s popularity, as compared with Mwonzora’s, cannot discern this reality. These two characters can be adjudged as gifted speakers when judged by their ability to answer questions.
There may not be some truth in that Nelson Chamisa is more charismatic than Douglas Mwonzora. It is a question of paying attention to the greatest good, to the majority. When able to evaluate that maxim or quantum, any wise person can predict future outcomes. There is no magic to it.
The popularity of an individual is dependent on granting the greatest good to the majority. Driving expensive cars in the neighborhood can be fascinating. But that is immaterial, without considering the wishes of the majority. The value of a person is in what one gives to others.
Ordinary people can be enthused by the envisaged forthcoming dispensation, but remain in quandary, as long as focusing on materialism. Like the experiences of the 1980s, material successes can vanish, like a vapor, when assuming value in materialism. Hence the maxim “darkness comes before dawn.”
The greatest men are those who never settle in the comfort of complacency. Those are the people known to never have taken comfort in materialism. The greatest nations are founded upon the foundations of people of integrity. One can scan through stories of the likes of George Washington, and others.
Such people were not characterized by flamboyancy. These were legendary characters, who sought to serve others, above themselves. The foundation of a nation now ensconced among the greatest nations of this world includes characters like George Washington. Their biographies are there for anyone to scan.
I am aware that, as a black man, this exposes me to be lampooned for being too America-centric, rather than Afro-centric. I do understand such concerns. What is stated here is merely the truth. Whether one likes it or not, the United States of America is one of the greatest nations, whether by luck or fluke.
The recorded history of the likes of George Washington, cannot be compared with our war veterans. The differences are that our heroes focused on serving themselves, after independence, rather than serving others. George Washington and others were committed to serving their people more than themselves.
Of course, on the African continent, we have our own Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Unfortunately, his contributions brought South African independence at his advanced age. He could not do anything further for the South African people. His legacy is now being devalued by the corrupt ANC leadership.
Bringing such examples is intended to advance truth, in that, life is valuable, only when providing the greatest good for the majority. In other words, a valuable person seeks to serve himself lastly, after serving his fellow men. Of course, the mentioned achievers cannot be compared with the greatest of them all:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”(Philippians 2:3-10 NIV).
Suppose the next elections produce a good functional government, after installing an excellent judiciary service system? How would that translate into integrity? Having too much money, for one to boast around with, is counterproductive. A country with people in that condition can be worse than a country with impoverished citizens.
Things look brighter, with a newly formed CCC party that seems focused on serving the aspirations of the people. What CCC has tabled should not be allowed to falter. In the coming months, before the next elections, there might be a sustained campaign of propaganda. Those would be the works of evil, to be overcome by remaining steadfast, towards fulfilling the intended goal.
Currently, the entrenched cultural trends are of self-aggrandizement—causing other nations to write Zimbabwe off. There is no reason to despair, for the Zimbabwean people. A human being is basically good. Given the chance to shine, once more, Zimbabwe can rise to become the greatest nation on the planet.
It is a question of addressing the mindset of our young people. Those of my generation should no longer be looked at as exemplary. The value of our legendary war veterans was squandered by their greed, in the past. This was a result of their failure to choose good leaders at the top. The apostle Paul said something that could be of inspiration to all of us:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”(Romans 8:28-30 NIV).
Where the apostle Paul intimated things working together for good, he meant that even misfortunes could turn out to become the best. A former prisoner becomes the happiest man on his day of release from prison. But a good man, imprisoned unnecessarily, remains joyful, even during the time of incarceration.
This comes from the maxim that, the beingness of any person cannot be tainted by falsehoods. The beingness of Jesus could not be contained at the shoal. This is notwithstanding that those who killed Jesus thought His burial amounted to the end of His existence.
Zimbabwe is poised to become the greatest nation on the planet Earth. But this requires revisiting the idea of wealth accumulation, against value accumulation. The fine people of Zimbabwe are presently looking forward to a beautiful nation, as currently emerging, for those with eyes to perceive.
Madzibaba ve shanduko mu Zimbabwe, is on record, providing skits exorcising the spirit of ZANU PF. The cornerstone of that demonic spirit is in assuming that the amassing of filthy wealth for self, is all there is for living in this world. The opposite is true for attaining freedom.
Zimbabwe is a country with the finest people on this planet—although being tainted by a few criminals in our midst. At the inauguration of the new party, the CCC leader announced that the new had arrived. Within a few days, the yellow revolutionary movement had dramatically kindled the social media spectrum.
Hopefully, we are not going to have some people, once again, committing to amassing wealth, to overtake the currently corrupt demagogues? It can be very sad if the new CCC leadership, also looks forward to amassing wealth. Hopefully, they do not make it their turn to outcompete the current system.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99