By Elliot Ziwira
Considering the journey we have so far travelled as a nation, it is imperative to take stock of our time, to determine how we have utilised it in relation to our expectations as Zimbabweans.
It is encouraging to hear our listening servant leader President Mnangagwa hitting the nail on the head when he outlines his expectations in regard to public sector officials, who have been largely blamed for throwing spanners in the wheels of progress due to skewed bureaucratic and corrupt inclinations.
As Jim Bishop aptly posits, “nothing is as far away as a minute ago” because, as Michael Forbes concurs, “there is never enough time, unless you are serving it”.
It is only he who is incarcerated who has so much time on his plate, for he can afford to lose it and still claim to have it.
It is time really that the flower buds are seen sprouting on the trees of Eden; the Promised Land, because, as Baltasar Gracion espouses, “all that belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.”
It is our hope, therefore, that the custodians of our time as a nation will not let us down by merely watching as it ticks away; which is why when the President speaks we take heed.
Knowing that he has always had our interests at heart, his words carry so much hope for us.
Hitting the nail in, he continues:
“Equally, the bureaucracy in the Second Republic will be expected to be development-oriented, responsive to the people’s needs as well as exhibit high principles of professional ethics and integrity.”
Hearken well gentle reader, fellow countryman and kinsman mark His Excellency’s words; “principles of professional ethics and integrity” should always be exhibited. There is steel in this, but he is not yet done, for what we want is for him to say the word.
The word! The word! ED, the word, say the word! We want to hear you say the word! We all clamour encouragingly. Behold he raises his right hand, and he speaks:
“My administration will, therefore, expect public sector officials to deliver quality and timely services to the people as well as facilitate business, trade and investment. Bureaucratic bottlenecks, unnecessary delays, lethargic and corrupt activities will not be tolerated.”
Hear! Hear! Hear!
Mark the word my kinsman, did you hear it, he says it: “We must, as a society encourage and inculcate the culture of hard honest work. The prosecution of perpetrators of corruption will be carried out without fear or favour.”
Corruption! Corruption! Corruption! That’s the word. He that steals from his mother steals from himself, and he that steals from himself steals from us all, and he who steals from us is against us all.
As our servant leader has aptly said, there are, and there should be no sacred cows when it comes to the shaming and prosecution of wolves in sheep apparel.
We really are fed up and dazzled by this circular movement, where we pretend to be going somewhere, yet our motion is only in supposition, because some among us have turned the avaricious bayonet on us.
Corruption is destructive for it creates acrimony among siblings and friends, leading to anger, poverty, despondency, frustration and civil strife. This is, especially so because resources are never distributed equitably, as a minority elite benefits at the expense of the majority.
Grappling to make ends meet, as revenue that it is supposed to tap into miraculously disappears into the pockets of individuals, Government gropes around in economic darkness, as the rich get richer and the poor poorer.
According to a recent survey by Transparency International, Zimbabwe ranks poorly in the Corruption Perception Index, scoring an average 121,65 between 1998 and 2017; which places the country at number 157 out of the 180 countries under spotlight.
The watchdog takes cognisance of the fact that more than a quarter of the global population paid a bribe when dealing with public service providers at some point, with the police being the major culprit.
Taken, corruption is not a new phenomenon, and it is rampant throughout the world. The Bible also lashes out at it. But that is no excuse to condone or sugar-coat it.
Because it is the devil incarnate, the vice should be dealt with before it shreds the fabric of our society.
As Chenjerai Hove points out in “Palaver Finish” (2002), “the decay of the body begins with a small part of it.”
Hence, corruption should not be measured in terms of proportionality, no; corruption is corruption. If a small cancerous part is not removed in the nick of time, it will eat into the whole body and when that happens, it may be too late to undo it.
Like a venomous snake, corruption has a tail, body and head.
Dismembering the tail may not destroy it and lashing it on the back will only incapacitate its movement, but it will not destroy the venomous head, which will still strike any unsuspecting target with so much vigour and ruthlessness. In such instances, hitting the head will suffice.
The police are corrupt, you may say, and civil servants are corrupt, that may be true; but who really is responsible for fuelling that corruption? The Government! You may say that because of the pittance it gives its workers as salaries.
We Zimbabweans are responsible for our own suffering because we offer bribes and we do not give a hoot about others.
We simply do not care about the suffering of our neighbours.
Our gains will suffer reversal if the scourge of corruption is allowed to take root.
Something needs to be done to avert the suffering of the masses of Zimbabwe, who have been burdened by poverty for a long time and the time is now.
Procrastination really, is a thief of time, for monochronic time, which is both tangible and impatient waits for no man.
Because time waits for no man, it is trite that we all take stock of our hourglasses to determine how we have been faring in the making or breaking of the ice that has become our abode. To freeze or thaw, that is the question; and the President wraps it all up, when he says:
“In the Second Republic, no person or entity will be allowed to steal, loot or pocket that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. No one is above the law.
“This is a New Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe we all want”.
Indeed, he who steals from us, as Zimbabweans will only have himself to blame, for our servant leader has spoken. We will all gang up against thuggery bent on making perpetual beggars of us all as we bask on the golden beaches of our Motherland.