The divergent ways of becoming wealthy

Due to poverty exposure, resulting from colonialism, the Zimbabwean government assumed that indigenization was necessary. The land reform program became desirable—considered as uplifting the wellbeing of the locals. All this sounds noble, but as long as not sufficiently placed in the right perspective, indigenization became a fallacy. There are only two ways through which a person becomes wealthy. One is genuine and the other is dubious.

Corruption has become a monster—too insurmountable for the government to handle. Even the impoverished law enforcement agencies cannot let go of what appears as opportunities to also become wealthy. A High Court Judge, when approached with huge sums of money cannot be expected to resist the temptation to accept the bribe. Regardless of how serious the crime, a criminal is free, as long as able to grease the terminals in the justice system.

Under-the-table transactions... - Royalty-free Bribing Stock Photo

This is how most of the lucrative wealth, as observed among the richest in Zimbabwe, can be fairly accounted for. Most of those moguls’ attest to having honestly acquired their wealth. But the question that the journalists seem to avoid asking is who would have benefitted, leading to such wealthy statuses? If boasting about having honestly attained wealth, what services did the person give as benefitting others in exchange, leading to his/her affluence?

Bill Gates is one of the known wealthy people in this world. But, clearly, who can deny that the entire civilization owes more to Bill Gates’ Microsoft Windows? Millions of other successful businesses, downstream, are attributed to Microsoft services. In other words, the extraordinarily wealthy condition of Bill Gates can easily be translated into the improved lives of ordinary people. This is the type of wealth that makes it impossible for anyone to grumble. It answers the question of how the wealthy person became affluent.

This, of course, is different from the wealth, corruptly achieved. Zimbabwe can boast of some wealthy moguls, among its nationals. Yet unable to explain causes of abject poverty among its ordinary people. Those poor people cannot readily account for their impoverished conditions—when faced with the reality that education is meaningless to them.

Millions of people are languishing in abject poverty, without any hope of ever coming out of such condition. Yet a few hundred, compete among the wealthiest across the world. Most young people are encouraged to also become corrupt if entertaining the idea of ever becoming wealthy.

Obsession with education is of no value, as long as not catering for the improved lifestyles of ordinary people. The indicators of a dead economy, are clearly revealed among teachers whose remuneration is less than that of the security guards. As important as teachers are supposed to be, they are so embarrassed to publicly declare being in the teaching profession.

This is just as we have a government that penalizes doctors for complaining about the obvious. It is only an insane governing system that expects qualified medical doctors, to accept being paid peanuts. Where, in the world, can politicians be classified as more important than qualified medical doctors? Of course, nothing can be more insane, than what prevails in our governing system.

How can a country be economically sustained without valuing the services of medical practitioners? How can a country be economically sustained, without valuing the services of teachers? As long as wealth is driven by greed and desire to impress, the country is on a dwindling spiral.

While corrupt police officers are disgustingly loathed, one needs to understand where their corrupt behavior stems from. Cursed is a country whose economy is corruptly driven. A human being is basically good but is susceptible to being corrupt when exposed to the hardest conditions of survival.

This disregards the racial background of the individual concerned. A typical example is that of a person who, under normal circumstances, would not eat human flesh. But when exposed to choosing between life and death, the same person might be tempted to eat human flesh. As long as viewing that to be the only channel towards survival.

There are many people who are potentially good, in Zimbabwe. But having succumbed to corruption—due to hard economic conditions. This should not be construed as condoning the prevailing corrupt reality—having brought our country into its shameful state. Poor governance is clearly the only reason why it cannot be possible to address corruption in Zimbabwe. It is impossible to address corruption, without first addressing the underscoring causes of corruption. Unfortunately, decision-making has been monopolized by the governing authorities.

If the country’s resources could be channeled towards educational improvement, corruption would be halfway handled. However, such education has to be properly defined, as most of what is described as education is, actually, the opposite. Education is valuable only when improving those concerned to become assets, rather than liabilities. This starts with producing good teachers when convinced of the nobility in serving humanity.

Effective teachers are those aware of the need to uplift standards, in an impoverished country. Teachers are predisposed to influence good behavior in a society—as long as their calling is into teaching. This is different from those into teaching, due to there being no alternative employment.

A good teacher feels good, only when producing the best students, who then change the economic environment for the better. The strong argument has always been that it is impossible to produce good teachers in a country, as impoverished as ours. Most teachers were corruptly inducted into teaching professions.

The unemployed young people have no choice, but accepting anything that comes their way, even though their calling may not necessarily be into teaching. As long as given something to occupy themselves with, teaching becomes better than nothing. That reasoning may be understandable, but pointing to an intractable system of corruption.

Such a corruptible mindset gets planted into the innocent young children, meant to also become educators in the future. We need teachers in schools, not mere bodies representing professional teachers. This is as simple as supposedly common sense. Yet it cannot appeal to the decision-makers—spurred by corrupt politicians who celebrate being elected to lead, even when aware of their ineptitude.

If things go wrong, scapegoating provides an easy escape for them. They cannot be asked to account by an uneducated populace. This portrays a governing system that deliberately allows non-standard selection in the teaching profession. They benefit more, as long as more people are suppressed and remain in poverty. We see them proudly driving high-class vehicles in potholed streets—boasting of how clever they are—compared with the rest of the populace.

These are the politicians who facilitate the selection of corrupt individuals among civil servants. Most of the so-called rich people are, actually, the beneficiaries of a corrupt governing system. They do not even know what to do with the lucre at their disposal. They masquerade as patriotic people when labeling those advocating for change, “sell-outs.” They can influence the hoodlums of society to violently deal with those advocating for positive change.  Zimbabwe is not the first to experience such a ticklish, behavior.

In one of his ministerial escapades in Ephesus, Paul was almost killed, as found to be encroaching into Demetrius’ silversmith business. Poor people were incited to become riotous towards Paul’s mission. This had nothing to do with their welfare, as such people were, simply, being manipulated by a person benefitting from their stupidity (Acts 19:24-41). All this serves to highlight the negative effects of pursuing wealth through corruption.

However, all wealth cannot be labeled as unacceptable. As indicated, earlier, there are people with progressive innovations that improve ordinary people’s lifestyles. In Zimbabwe, Strive Masiyiwa has been credited with improving communication for ordinary Zimbabweans, through his Econet cellphone initiatives. At least we have got something to point at, as far as Masiyiwa’s wealth is concerned.

It is impossible to deny that the cellphone industry has improved ordinary people’s lifestyles, in Zimbabwe. The unacceptable human aspect of desiring to accumulate more than is necessary can also be observed, in Strive Masiyiwa. But, at least, Strive can easily account for the source of his lucrative wealth and fancy life-style. This is different from those flamboyantly displaying their wealth—but without revealing the beneficiaries—as proof of exchange for their trading activities.

Wealth is accessible to anyone who comes up with ideas that alleviate people’s survival challenges. This could be as simple as installing a grinding mill and some tuck-shop in an area where such facilities are not available. What is important is serving the community. A person’s problems become easily addressed, as long as occupied with handling other people’s problems. A country becomes blessed, when in possession of such innovative businesspeople.

The starting point is proper education. Our young people should be taught to increase value in themselves, by thinking in terms of serving the community, more than focus on self. An objective educational system produces better politicians, who then bring hope to a highly depressed nation like ours.

Nevertheless, we should not overlook the fact that we still have the best teachers around. Such teachers need encouragement, more than being discouraged for getting little, in their teaching professions. Their good works may eventually produce good politicians, entrusted with good legislative ideas, in crafting best laws for the country. That is precisely what a nation needs—more-so if this culminates in one of such politicians becoming state President.

A human being is valuable, only when answering the question, “In all my toiling on this planet, have most people been glad that I live?” Imagine a teacher, so motivated in such a way that his/her students remain indebted to him all their lives? They continue to remember that model teacher, even after his death, due to valuable teaching services obtained from him.

The same could apply to a businessman whose objective would be to serve, as to improve the living conditions of ordinary people. What about a doctor or a nurse—so obsessed with the health of those in his or her community? The list continues, endlessly, as descriptive of a civilization that eliminates the current suffering, experienced by ordinary humanity.

Shall we now contrast this with those seeking to answer the question, “In all my toiling on this planet, have I ever enjoyed myself?” This being the person whose answer to this question points to the current poverty status of our nation. The impact derived from such a mindset negatively affects the entire nation. Does it seem as if most people admire such dubious characters when considering the escalation of corruption in our beloved country?

Such dubious characters are the ones, actually, desiring that the status quo should remain undisturbed. They profit more when the majority agonize. Their enjoyment comes from the suffering of ordinary people. Their behavior resonates with the racist behavior, imposed by the colonialists. Their interpretation of success is the comfort, where the rest of the populace languishes in distress. A nation is doomed when having such characters in bigger numbers.

Apparently, there cannot be perfect individuals on this planet. There cannot be absolute rightness or absolute wrongness. A person is said to be on the mend towards being right when more people benefit from his/her endeavors. A person can be deteriorating towards being evil, or more wrong, when more people suffer, due to his/her corruptible conducts in life.

Such corruptible activities make that person feel comfortable, as the lucre so obtained, enables him to feel comfortable where everyone else languishes in discomfort. This is the person who, actually, assumes being wise or cleverer than everyone else. Unfortunately, due to greed, there are some poor people who admire such characters. Those admirers end up being also corrupt, as to be highly honored, through a corrupt system.

When working tirelessly to change lives for the better, one becomes despised—and viewed as not intelligent enough. The survival needs make that person susceptible to succumbing—so as to catch up with those appearing as enjoying life in a depressed environment. What is also descriptive of such characters are common displays of corrupt Christian testimonies, as observed in local churches.

Such testimonies are, actually, encouraged by the equally corrupt Christian ministers, motivating their poor congregants to constantly give tithes, generously, for the pastor’s welfare. Out of the desire to enjoy in this life, many people fall for such scums and become fortuitously impoverished. As long as a person seeks to answer the question of personal enjoyment in this life, the person becomes susceptible to corruption or being duped.

Yet when answering the question of whether other people become glad that he lives, the person eventually receives real enjoyment. All of humanity’s problems are centered on the failure to distinguish value in serving other people. Most people engage in doing the opposite, leading to the currently stressed national economy. While appearing as enjoying, such evil characters are on a dwindling spiral. They need to be prayed for.

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 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.

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