In my previous post; see [The meaning of poverty and its impact on Zimbabwe] I dwelt on poverty; as caused by focusing on spending (self-centredness), rather than adding value to human societies. I showed that value-addition was associated with investment. The gripe being that as long as the culture of spending prevails against the culture of investment, poverty remains.
The symptoms of self-centredness, as embedded in our culture today, need to be exposed. Political failures have a share, but the prevailing political system is a reflection of the dominant self-centred cultural front. The existent political manipulations are just an effect of a dominant self-centred cultural front.
At independence in 1980, President Robert Mugabe came to power by way of democratic elections. There is nothing sacrosanct with the man, except that he was voted to be at the helm of leadership. My own view is that the reason why people voted for him is that he held ideas that resonated with their cultural desires, sucked in self-centredness.
One hollow reality about democracy is that it allows exercising democratic right, choosing candidates without necessarily evaluating the end-results. People cannot evaluate the end-result, on choices based on self-centredness. The unwanted white-supremacist regime had also driven most blacks to see value in comfortable life-styles, enjoyed by whites, than value in fellow blacks.
Genuine freedom fighters aught to have appreciated that the driving force behind freedom-fighting was to remove an evil system, replacing it with a good system. The whites should not be blamed exclusively. The people were supposed to be helped individually, to evaluate what constituted a good system, using their rare opportunity to elect the best candidates for leadership positions.
Anyone can argue that in 1980, the primary reason for voting was to end the war, not necessarily to replace an evil system with a good system. Others accept that analysis, but not the intellectual ones.
The protracted struggle resulted from the disgruntled black people, experiencing the evil nature of the white supremacist policies. Right or wrong, the war had become a necessary evil to remove an unjust system, in order to replace it with a good one.
The landmark opportunity, in 1980 General Elections was to exercise responsibility. With that consideration in mind, certainly no-one should point a finger at the nonagenarian leader. The current poverty is an effect of failure to exercise responsibility, at that time of voting. That behaviour helped in shaping the destiny of the country.
Consider the following example: In 1980, relocating to the low-density suburban areas became fashionable, among blacks throughout the country. Those unable to move to the considered privileged whites’ suburban areas were despised, instead of the other way round. A person became respected for acquiring vast material gains, rather than for what he could give, as adding value to other people. Here was born the self-centred cultural philosophy.
The ideal scenario ought to have been for the privileged whites to relocate to black suburban areas, seeking to share and add value to a people previously oppressed and disadvantaged. That sounds unrealistic, but workable when responsibility is taken into consideration.
Could relocating to other countries by most whites possibly have been to avoid the shame of associating with the black people? If so, that was another sign of irresponsibility. Those whites could not think about the hitherto disadvantaged blacks. In the meantime, some blacks were shamelessly stampeding to occupy the formerly white residential areas. They despised their fellow blacks who were unable to make it to the low-density areas.
Today the nation of Zimbabwe is entangled in poverty. Others blame the dictatorial tendencies of President Mugabe. But I disagree. Serve for violent incidences, Zimbabweans were generally not deprived of voting throughout the tenure of ZANU PF.
President Mugabe and ZANU PF are only a reflection of the calibre of those voting or not voting, since 1980. I may sympathize with perennial losers, crying foul all the time. But an election is an election. What did those losers do to educate the voting populace? The answer comes back to self-centredness. What pains me most is that this self-centred culture is found more, among Christians than among ordinary people. Yet Christians are supposed to enlighten the world.
Whereto from here? We all need to change the prevailing culture, focusing on adding value, for the benefit of the future generations. The effects of exercising responsibility becomes possible when investing on value-addition, than is currently the pattern.
Andrew Masuku is the author of the recently published book, Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers will find the book to be a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.