Electionballs, no change over the passing of time
In these parts we have been through capitalism, Marxist-Leninist communism, humanism, socialism, corrupt elitism – and now we’ve got a new one: ‘miserablism.’
It is suffered by the majority of the people who neither have the will nor the energy to defeat it after being downtrodden for so long.
Elections are around the corner but apathy is king. It is assumed the outcome of the August 23 vote has already been fiddled and one vote won’t make a difference. We keep forgetting the old African proverb that one mosquito can make a helluva difference to a night’s sleep.
How can you tell the elections are upon us? Promises from dishonest politicians and lies, metaphorically speaking, like, say, from a hooker who insists she’s a virgin.
The state electricity company announces that electricity shortages that have been going on for years are over for good. New generators are on stream. Hey presto. Within hours my power snaps off and my solar kicks in. God giveth what the ZANU PF ruling party hath taken away.
The crippled economy, we are told, is on the mend, disastrous public services like health and education will soon reap the trickle-down benefits, potholed roads and broken sewers are being attended to.
We’ve heard it all before. Our elections come in 5-year cycles and here is what my alter ego, my psuedonym Andrew Saxon, said at election time 15 years ago.
We now have a fed-up nation frustrated by empty election promises. In one bar, there’s debate on the government minister going to Washington to collect bail-out cash from the international lenders.
Oh, no, you don’t qualify because there are lots of other African countries that are poorer than you. You don’t have official ‘PNS’ – Poor Nation Status .
“What do you think we’ve been trying to do for years but make the country poor?” says the minister.
Most fanciful of all in the run up to polling is the governement’s assertion that sewers are leaking because the colonialists put in sub-standard underground pipes. They, the whites, also had potholes as big as a bath tub. (That, I venture to suggest, was in the days of ox-drawn wagons before any roads were built.)
In the debate in the pubs this election we have small animal ears sticking out of a pothole. Is it a rabbit the hungry homeless squatting in the overgrown vlei nearby have chased to have something for supper? Is it a stray dog? Oh, no! It’s a giraffe. And the cockroaches, they say, have got so fat in the stinking garbage littering the streets they don’t run away when you shine a light on them.
But the good news is that foreign consultants are coming to advise how our sanitary facilities can be fixed and my source says they will use laser equipment to find holes in those treacherous colonial pipes.
This syndrome pesists 15 years later. Nothing came to pass on the drain repairs because by the time the squabbling, influence peddling and grabbing pieces of the pie were argued the project price had soared out of reach. Other major projects have suffered the same fate.
Once upon a time I actually voted for ZANU PF. In my constituency Robert Mugabe’s finance minister Bernard Chidzero was standing against Greek entrepreneur Dennis Divaris, campaigning on a ticket of being a progressive white liberal after disavowing his outrageous right wing support for Ian Smith’s regime. His renaissance presumably was to protect his business interests under the new order of black rule.
The late Chidzero was a fine technocrat partly responsible for optimism and pragmatism in the early days, soon to be replaced by skullduggery and gloom.
There you have a two more of the -isms we have been through. Optimism and pragmatism. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget ‘struggleism,’ talking about the valiant fighters who emancipated us from ‘colonialism’ 40+ years ago.
Click on this link for ‘Monkey Business in Milton Park,’ explaining why we thought Divaris was not worthy of winning a vote but still got into post-independence politics, how he had a semi-tame monkey called Charlie shot out of the trees in his leafy suburb and tried to sue me for writing about it. It’s classic, not to be missed. I know so many of you don’t have the time or inclination to click on me but go on, this time try it.