Despite not being personally in Zimbabwe at the moment, I feel the citizens anguish, loss of long-suffering and worn out patience looming in the air.
Some have adopted the #ShutdownZimbabwe2016 hashtag and stayed home today, not to aggravate the government, but to let them know that they have had enough and are no longer afraid to speak up and protest, which they're doing peacefully by staying home. To no surprise, the ZANU-PF-led government proceeded to block WhatsApp communication, but Zimbabweans have resorted to VPNs to bypass these restrictions.
While this goes on, a few privately owned companies that have decided to show the rest of Zimbabwe that the money they earn in a day means more than the locals who are suffering due to the news of Bond notes supposedly taking over and being ranked the same rating as the US$, which is an absurd thought, and as if that was not enough - the government proceeded to ban imported goods from entering the country. Protestors gathered at Beitbridge after hearing this, to which effect the law enforcers who are supposed to protect and serve Zimbabweans decided burning the area and beating them was the way forward.
Pastor Evan Mawarire, who founded the #ThisFlag movement that adopted the flag of Zimbabwe as a protest symbol earlier this year, is asking his countrymen to unite against “rampant and runaway corruption by government and government ministers”.
The call for a complete shutdown of the country, Pastor Evan says, is in protest of the government that has completely failed to look after and listen to the demands of its citizenry.
It shouldn't be like this though. Zimbabwe is a country of abundant natural resources, meaning that it should by all accounts be considered a rich country. It was at one point known as the bread basket of Africa. However, it seems the country's government is determined to tear it apart, shackling its residents with bureaucracy and depriving them of their basic rights.
One of my favorite poems by Alexander Baron, Coming of Age, comes to mind after hearing about Zimbabwe's situation and seeing the traumatizing videos online:
"So many crazy hang ups, passing fads and mad fanaticism sweep our lives when in our youthful innocence, our dads and councillors all fail to recognize the cause of hunger, want, and deprivation, within our own, and every other nation.
All governments and managements are blind to what is fundamentally unjust, oppression of the workers, womankind, the grinding of the poor into dust, and inequalities, in wealth so great, as to quite rightfully engender hate.
We take a swift and scathing look around, and in an instant put the world to right, not comprehending why they haven't found in centuries, what we have overnight.
Such is the perspicacity of youth,
And such is age to obfuscate the truth.
But as into the world we wend our way, the light of innocence begins to fade, the black and white are blended into grey, the game seems less and less a sick charade, until at last we understand what seemed so simple, is more complex than we dreamed."
This is truly the only way to describe Zimbabwe and what is happening, and it's only right the rest of the world understands why.