I had the most traumatic trip to Zimbabwe recently, where the high level of corruption in that country shocked me. It is pathetic.
I hate to talk about other countries as we have our own similar issues here in our diamond-clad country.
While Zimbabwe has risen from the ashes, the residents are faced with probably the highest hyperinflation ever.
It seems like its only Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and their fellow politicians who are smiling all the way to their banks.
When my partner mentioned that Zimbabwe had killed the US$ dollar, I laughed and said… come on, that is impossible… you are talking about the US$ dollar here.
Three trips down the line, I know perfectly what he meant. There is nothing less that a dollar, as you won’t get change for something that costs 80 cents. I hadn’t comprehended how the inflation renders US$100 nothing. You can buy very little with that.
Our truck is adorned with white and amber/orange reflectors and is fully equipped with a fire extinguisher. And we paid heavy fines at the numerous road blocks before we ensured these were in place.
It was as if each and every road block knew we were coming. You debate on whether to pay the government charge and get a receipt but you also know that at the next road block you may be asked for something else.
The option a motorist is given is to pay the government fine or the personal charge which in most cases is half the government fine and the blatant explanation is that the officials have to share the loot. Never have I seen bribery expressed so freely in my whole life. In Botswana even though you can occasionally bribe, which, needless to say I avoid, the officers will be looking over their shoulder. But at least here you can plead for a pardon and the officers will use their discretion to let you go with a stern verbal warning.
To get a Zimbabwean passport is a nightmare for citizens
The charges for acquiring a Zimbabwean passport are exorbitant. For a 24 hours to three days passport you pay US$318 (around P2400) while three to five days sets one back US$253 (around P1900.00).
In addition to the high costs, one has to have extra US$ dollars in bribery to cater for the numerous officials during the process of the passport submission and collection.
How can a government steal from its own people?
“There are three levels of governance in my country, a disgusted Zimbabwean resident here told me.
“There is Mugabe’s ZANU PF government, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) government and finally the government of the people (run by corrupt government officials). Everybody wants his cut.” He said.
Angry government officials who feel betrayed by the system make daily bribery targets to supplement their income. Any hope for change was quashed when MDC and ZANU-PF decided to rule together.
Global Political Agreement (GPA) my foot. How is it possible for two different political parties with different polices to run a country together?
Opposition has joined the ruling party to fill their stomachs at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe. That’s all it is!
How can a government steal from its own people?
In Africa it doesn’t rain but it pours… or the rains don’t come at all. While in Zimbabwe I was shocked by the long periods of power and water cuts and couldn’t wait to get back home.
However, on my arrival I was shocked that Botswana is not only load shedding but water shedding too.
What is happening? Are we going the Zimbabwean way with possible merged multi-party rule?Just a thought.
IMAGES LIKE these make my heart bleeds. In March I met this 10-year-old from Wedza Zimbabwe walking barefooted to her school located 4.8 kilometres from home.
Imagine a Grade 1 student walking almost 10 kilometres to school daily. When I saw her again in August 2012, the school dress she was wearing was now torn but thanks to some Batswana who opened their hearts and wardrobes, she received clothes and several pairs of shoes.
But what happens when they get torn? It is the duty of governments to look after their citizens, especially innocent children.
African leaders spent much of their time globe trotting, wining and dining in five star hotels when children like her don’t have basic clothing and food.
But when they beg from “developed” countries it is always about poverty eradication and elimination. When you go into rural areas, the pain and desolation makes a heart bleeds. What have Africa done to deserve such leadership of greed and a quest to live like the ones they claimed oppressed them? How are they different from the imperialists?
The leaders are too busy with self-interest and self-serving politics to look after the welfare of their people. They simply don’t care! Their quest is to fill their greedy bulging stomachs.
Shame on Africa to still have these stories and images. Who is exploiting whom?