Zimbabwe: Ostrich Mentality Destroying Zim

editorial

United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver's preliminary report following her 11-day fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe is a poignant reminder of everything that has gone wrong with this country.

Elver concluded that Zimbabwe was on the brink of "man-made starvation" with close to 60% of the population now food insecure.

She feared that the crisis would escalate due to political instability and the deteriorating economic situation. Elver said the dire food shortages were worsened by hyperinflation.

She rightly concluded that Zimbabwe's transformation from being "the breadbasket of Africa to now considered food insecure, with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic needs due to hyperinflation" was largely due to failures in governance.

From a chaotic land reform programme that destroyed Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, unchecked corruption by the elite to poor economic policies and human rights violations, the country's collapse has been well-documented before.

Elver was merely restating what Zimbabweans have debated about and begged their government to correct to no avail.

Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa two years ago acknowledged these issues when he took over from Robert Mugabe following a military coup.

Mnangagwa promised Zimbabweans "a new kind of democracy" and a swift economic revival, which he said would be achieved through a complete shift from the way things were done under Mugabe.

Elver, however, was the second UN expert to raise questions about the so-called new dispensation in less than four months after special rapporteur Clement Voule also made a damning conclusion about the deteriorating situation in the country.

As expected, the government has brushed aside Elver's report with Information secretary Nick Mangwana insisting on social media platforms that the country's problems were a result of droughts and sanctions.

During Mugabe's era, the government never took responsibility for any of the problems the country faced, blaming everything on Western countries.

The destruction of agriculture and corruption that has seen the country lose billions of dollars is being done by the Zimbabwean government and until the country has a responsible leadership, the rot will continue.

Instead of burying their heads in the sand like ostriches when confronted with the truth, government officials need to take stock of the things that the country needs to do differently.

Zimbabwe is a very resource rich country and its citizens do not deserve to be starving and dying of medieval diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

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