War on two fronts; Burden of a patriot

The advent of Covid-19 early last year precipitously placed the president of Zimbabwe and his new government between a rock and a hard place. Fighting an invisible enemy that one can only see under a powerful microscope on one front and another so visible that only those with no grey matter between their ears cannot discern.

The tools of modern warfare are not as ostensible as in the past and that makes it easy for those wielding them to attack with impunity. Divide and conquer remains their weapon of choice albeit now executed with such finesse that many are left none the wiser.

One is left wondering how a state like Zimbabwe known for its high literacy can be so polarised on issues to do with governance. Granted, the pangs of the economic environment are enough to drive anyone a little bonkers, however it’s the misplaced blame that has left this writer quizzical.

Speech is protected constitutionally and such is the standard for any truly democratic nation. As such, this article does not seek to muzzle anyone; by all means speak your minds. Its the blatant ignorance and hate expressed in some of the vehement utterances against the president that is troubling but it is to be expected because as earlier stated, modern warfare is quite tricky.

Since ascending to the helm, President Mnangagwa has, in keeping with 21st Century etiquette, maintained a strong social media presence. He communicates directly with citizens via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram often making announcements of proposed/executed government projects and legislature and offers laudatory remarks in times of success or those of condolences to bereaved families. However, a simple perusal of the comment section is enough to leave a sour taste in your mouth or leave you in stitches if you are just as daft as most of those keyboard warriors.

Simple fact is, contrary to all efforts by the West to thwart any successful ZANU PF led  government in Zimbabwe, president Mnangagwa’s government has evidently taken some great strides in improving the lives of Zimbabweans. No excuses or illusions, a lot still needs to be done and frankly it will not be easy but given the harsh conditions the progress is commendable.

In the months following his election into office, the president published a number of articles detailing the road map for the next five years. Three years on, it appears that despite the pushback from naysayers home and abroad as well as the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the expansion of both the main airport and Beitbridge border posts have proceeded unabated, the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway upgrade is almost complete, Command agriculture is yielding some record results, Gold and platinum production are at an all-time high and local industry is gaining some serious traction.

 What’s more, True freedom is expressed in how citizens have access to means of production in their own country. Scores of Zimbabweans have taken up commercial farming, mining and many have started their own businesses due to policies and legislature that enables them to do so. So even as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the long march to achieving the goals of vision 2030 continues with uncanny resilience. 

Zimbabwe has even been internationally applauded for its resilient fight against the Covid-19 pandemic through well timed provincial and national lockdown measures but more importantly acquisition of vaccines. As of August, 20 five vaccines had been approved for use in Zimbabwe and well over 1.5 million citizens have already been vaccinated at the time of this publication.

According to Reuters, over the last 3 weeks new infections in Zimbabwe have already dropped by an astounding 55%  and while there have been debates over different types of vaccines and their efficacy, health professionals have noted significant mitigating effects of vaccines currently being administered for free to Zimbabweans regardless of party affiliations, race, gender or tribe.

Conversely, while the international community agrees, as encoded in the statutes of the United Nations Charter, that sovereignty of all member states is of paramount importance, it appears Zimbabwe is still not held to the same standard. Declared and undeclared restrictive measures and sanctions still haunt the business community, the health sector and ipso facto ordinary citizens. This is done all in a bid to create economic instability and facilitate a regime change through the ballot or otherwise, after all, just last year a senior government official, Robert O’brien referred to Zimbabwe as a ‘foreign adversary.’

At the end of the day, it is unassailable truth that the second republic has made all efforts to send an olive branch to the West. The mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” was a clear declaration that the president was eager and willing to embrace the West. This was backed up by a plethora of changes such as allowing western observers to take part during the 2018 harmonised elections, doing away with draconian pieces of legislature and changing indigenisation laws that he admitted “were unfair for non-local business owners and international investors.”

Truth be told, the West would rather have a self-centred, unpatriotic zealot at the helm. One they can manipulate into serving their ends while short-changing ordinary citizens by pulling wool over their eyes with promises of overnight solutions to their problems, aid and other unsustainable endeavours.

As fate would have it, it is serendipitous that the country is the hands of a man nay, a patriot who, like Winston Churchill understands that; “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones and every dog that barks.”

Carter Chapwanya
Carter Chapwanya
Carter Chapwanya is a published author and currently a Political Science PhD candidate at Shandong University.