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Tears in their eyes

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I have never seen such dejection in so many people’s lives ever since I was born. You meet virtually everyone asking what the latest is concerning the formation of the government of national unity in Zimbabwe. With the news beamed on satellite TV that this has been yet another dud, you see it in the people’s eyes: Dejection, anger and all kinds of unprintable epithets aimed at the Founding Father.

This is one nation that carries such collective misery one wonders if Zanu PF has any conscience left in its soul, someone thinks aloud. But its allowed, I figure.

The sentiment on the streets is: why did we vote in the first place if we are still expected to wait for Zanu PF “to negotiate the MDC into power?” You see it everyday and you feel your eyes welling up.

“Why are we being put through this,” an old man said as he trudged home from his work place where he stands guard with nothing but a baton stick.

I thought I saw him shed tears.

“Shame on Robert Mugabe,” another octagenarian said as he related how his rural neighbours are scrounging for food. You hear these miserable stories from the older folks who saw it all and thought they had built nests for their grandchildren only to be told their pensions and savings are now useless.

My mother saw for the first time an American greenback note and she made sure she did not accept it despite the fact that this is now the standard for all kinds of transactions.

“What kind of money is that?” asked the old girl.

She would rather settle for the South African Rand, she said.

My heart went into pieces. “Be careful with these Rands,” I said. “The boys out there will fleece you.”

“I will be fine,” she said.

Why can’t she and all those old darlings just use the local currency than be confused by all this crap, I cursed.

I have seen old people with distant looks in their eyes just wondering what the hell hit them, wondering what got into the head of that man they lifted shoulder high in that euphoric moment back then. But no one has the answers.

The elders say it goes deeper than power mongering, they see something we do not see and they are not at liberty to confide. But they carry the burden of having lived through the good old times of the white man, then the promise of the black man, then watched a good man gone bad wrecking havoc on a jewel they were proud to dedicate their blood, sweat and tears to.

I listened to Shona-speaking old men cursing the Founding Father and it was a bit curious as the understanding and interpretation of the dynamics of local politics has for years been Shonas being Mugabe-for-life types.

This is the history that has been fed by peddlers of ethnic politics where tribal overlords are supposed to have whole rabid acolytes lining up to voice their undying support all in the name of ethnic loyalty.

This indeed has existed, but I wondered if that rings true today. This is the kind of ethnicity that has seen the ghost of Gukurahundi continuing to haunt the psyche of many here.

So now by the twist of fate, Mugabe had alienated his own, I wondered as I watched the mouths of the old men move as they talked politics.

Not so, as the old men proffered.

All human beings must be respected, and this man does not respect anybody, one old man said as he puffed poignantly at his roll of shamrock and waited for a new day, silently wondering what it would bring.

One comment to “Tears in their eyes”

  1. Comment by Don Cox:

    “a good man gone bad”

    When was Mugabe a good man? Zimbabwe, like several other countries, went straight from colonialism to dictatorship. It has not yet been liberated.