By Masimba Biriwasha | Open Editorial | @ChiefKMasimba | February 20, 2014
Growing up in Zimbabwe, the country seemed like a magical place, filled with hope and possibility. There was a sense that you could be anything that you wanted, that you could work hard and turn yourself into whatever you wanted to be. That – if anything – we were a blessed people.
Granted, Zimbabwe had its fair share of problems. At Independence from British rule in 1980, the Government of Zimbabwe inherited some of the most serious socio-economic inequalities in the world in terms of income, assets and access to education, housing and healthcare.
Independence brought a crisis of rising expectations requiring the government to immediately address the inherited inequalities. Thus, during the first decade of independence, the government invested heavily into social programs aimed at uplifting the livelihoods of the majority of the people.
I’m a proud product of that investment into the social sector.
But, something went awfully wrong along the way. Selfishness and greed corrupted our politicians. The social sector, which was the pride of Zimbabwe, is now in shambles. The education system is in doldrums. Getting ill in Zimbabwe is akin to a death passage.
The thing that makes me angriest about what’s gone wrong in the last 20 years is that our government has lost touch, while our politicians continue to self-aggrandize.
While the politicians line their pockets, Zimbabwe continues to fall behind. The whole world looks down on us with pity. Our people want a change, not just of our political masters, but a change that improves lives and livelihoods.
We need a new crop of politicians that have a game plan to rebuild Zimbabwe from the cities to the suburbs to the rural areas. We need new politicians that will put our people first again.
We need to rediscover the dream of the beginning that nurtured children of the first generation of our independence. We have to make government work again to deliver education and healthcare, to provide internet to schools and roads in the hinterland of the country so farmers can take their goods to the market.
Zimbabwe needs a new approach to government. There is a need to change the way that government does its business. We need a government that expands opportunity and not simply serve to fleece the country. It’s time to heal Zimbabwe.