I got to work late having been online since 3am attending to work-related tasks that unhappily involved engaging with a story about how top management at Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) is gobbling at least US$1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time the State enterprise is reeling under a US$38 million debt.
Honestly, I am choking with some indescribably emotion.
It is a cross between excruciating pain and mind-numbing rage.
Not to mention the sense of complete violation that always weighs me down when I have to consider the nature, form and shape of a given instance of injustice.
What on God’s green earth is wrong with our leaders?
I say ‘our leaders’ and take ownership of said leaders even though I did not choose them because they are the leaders of the day and viewing them as someone else’s leaders would diminish my capacity to hold them accountable – so they are MY leaders and I want to hold them to account.
I got to work still in a state and quite incapacitated, unable to function let alone process any of the tasks that I had before me.
I was and still am too aggrieved, beyond distressed and indeed quite beside myself.
So I ignored the buzz around me, shut the world out and sat at my laptop to write because for some of us – writing is what we do when we don’t know what else to do and when we don’t have the power to do anything else.
I was reminded this morning of this very touching musical scene from the acclaimed film – Sarafina.
The music score for the scene in question captures this heartrending mood of the youth’s powerlessness following a brutal raid by apartheid police against which they were completely defenseless.
There is something about those piercing voices, shrieking in desperation and shouting to the heavens:
“O safa, saphel’ isizw’ esimnyama
O safa isizwe sabantsundu
Anitshelen’ inkokheli zethu zisilamulele kuloludaba”
Loosely translated the song means, ‘Oh, the black nation is dying, the African nation is dying! Can you tell our leaders to come to our rescue’?
Words cannot do justice to that poignant song so before I continue here it is below so you can listen to it for yourself.
Anyway this song strikes a chord in me because it speaks to the value system that I was raised to uphold.
It speaks to the idea that it is the duty of those who have power to protect those who have none.
It is the obligation of those who have voices to speak up in defense of those who (for whatever reason) cannot speak for themselves.
It is the mandate of those who are leaders to protect the interest of those they are leading and it is the worst human failing to betray the public entrusted invested in a person.
What is wrong with our leaders who don’t care?
They don’t care at all. Not even an iota. Hell, they don’t even care enough to even fake it!
How does anyone sleep at night knowing that they are complicit in an injustice as awful as the PSMAS salary debacle?
Honestly, when will have leaders that we could even conceive of crying out to for help, for deliverance or for rescue?
In the family pecking order, I am reasonably positioned in the higher echelons of authority and being a big sister to several boys and girls (most of them are fast becoming young men and women) – I dutifully assume the responsibility of rushing to the rescue whenever my siblings are in trouble.
I never hesitate because it is hardwired in me that by virtue of being their ‘leader’ in the family’s totem pole – I have an obligation to place myself between them and harm.
I do not know any other duty more sacrosanct than the duty to protect, to defend and to sacrifice (within reason) for those whose care and wellbeing I have been entrusted with.
It is with this fundamental understanding of what it means to lead, to be responsible for the fates of others and to have the power to positively impact upon their lives that I am rendered stupefied by the leaders Zimbabwe is cursed with.
We are surely cursed. Because there is no other word for it.
It is a curse to have such selfish creatures, such conscience-less, heartless, un-empathetic, callous, unrepentant, shameless, arrogant and evil people at the helm of public institutions.
Surely, heads and torsos must roll.
Having won a parliamentary majority, the buck for every grievance we have stops with ZANU PF and if it fails to act on these atrocious goings on; it will live up to the words of one of its own – Nathaniel Manheru who stated: Trust my Party: when it finds itself with no enemy, it ingeniously becomes one itself! Against itself!
Perhaps ZANU PF has been afforded an opportunity to prove that it is not what Manheru fears it is when he noted – And then a key point which many seek to duck: it is in its moments of undisputed and indisputable ascendancy and triumph that Zanu-PF is always at its worst and most fallible. It becomes reckless, very reckless. It becomes insolent, very insolent. It becomes indifferent to the people, most indifferent.
I hope the Government day does not choose to remain indifferent.
In a very perceptive and refreshingly candid article Amai Jukwa charged-: We [ZANU PF] have become accustomed to mollycoddling ineptitude and finding any and every excuse to defend those responsible…It is not so much that Zanu-PF does not know what is right to do. The problem is that some put political expediency ahead of efficiency and competence. There is a tug of war between the intellectual persuasions of Zanu-PF and it’s political considerations…Government agencies are inefficient and unimaginative; some of those in power have no sense of community and seek to line their pockets at the expense of the nation… If Zanu-PF is serious about making Zimbabwe work again it needs to say thank you to the incompetent comrades within its ranks for the little work done thus far and then bid them farewell.
To conclude my frustrated rant and smother this overwhelming sense of impotence; I will borrow from the Herald’s Editorial Comment of today reacting to what it termed “the institutionalized plunder in Government-linked enterprises” which observes -:
In short, people are paying themselves for failing to prove their individual and collective worth to the nation….. There must be some form of punishment for people who steal our present and our future from us, because their actions are really no different to treason. Zimbabweans need to see political will going beyond talk to real action that does not spare self-serving parasites regardless of who they are.
If this chorus of voices does not ring as melodiously as the musical score of the film Sarafina – it is the best we can do in raising our voices to call for those in power to heed our pitiable cries.
This injustice is suffocating!
p.s I was so annoyed I couldn’t be bothered with putting pretty pictures.