- A columnist with the State-controlled Sunday Mail has warned that the 2023 elections are already in the bag for the ruling Zanu-PF party. We reproduce below the full article as published by the Sunday Mail on 25th April, 2021.
IN rural areas, men and women, just as cattle and donkeys, are beasts of burden. Life doesn’t come cheap and easy in the village.
Success also often comes from or after unavoidable physical exertion.
As Bishop Lazi once said, typical life in the village is what God intended ever since he cursed the disobedient Adam in the Garden of Eden.
It is all about sweat and toil.
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return,” says God in Genesis 3:17-19.
Where the Bishop comes from, it is invariably hard workers that succeed and are exalted, while lazy sloths are slighted and condemned.
While it takes a short trip to the supermarket or grocer for urban folk to put food on the table, in rural areas this can only be possible after a back-breaking cycle of clearing the field, ploughing, sowing and harvesting.
While urbanites endlessly complain about receiving water three days — sometimes four or five days — a week, in rural areas sourcing this basic necessity is an abjectly difficult task.
You have to walk distances to the nearest river, where, in some instances, you have to scoop out frogs or tadpoles that would be leisurely resting in the well.
But usually, especially during the dry season, the water often has a musky taste of cow urine, which, we are always told, is medicinal. Kikiki.
Even the most mundane of tasks such as visiting the township to process maize into mealie-meal is unbelievably daunting, as it involves using a wheelbarrow to navigate circuitous and tortuous paths bogged down by sand, rock outcrops and prohibitively harsh terrain.
For girls and women, it is the head, rather than the wheelbarrow, that is used as a convenient carrier for weighty loads over distances.
It is nothing short of punishing, but you have to get inured to it.
Some organisations claim that about 33 percent of rural folk do not have access to safe drinking water, while girls and women have to travel four kilometres on average to fetch water every day.
This is why every borehole, trafficable pathway or bridge, among other critical conveniences, is unimaginably life-changing for villagers and communities.
Bishop Lazarus has always known that some politicians are hopeless dimwits, but he never thought they could be incorrigibly naïve and daft to the extent of being blind to tectonic shifts happening around the country that are clearly an existential threat to them.
You should have seen how they all laughed and pooh-poohed the recently commissioned bridge that straddles Ruya River and provides an ideal and God-sent thoroughfare to Karanda Mission Hospital.
Most of the narratives obsessed about the suitability of the bridge as a modern carriageway for alien vehicular traffic and reduced beneficiary communities to non-entities whose erstwhile struggles are not worthy of discussion or consideration.
Their former daily struggles remained an insignificant footnote for haughty and snobbish political elites.
It was the same drama when Pembi River Bridge was launched on July 15 last year after a major facelift, or when ED commissioned a new borehole to serve three communities in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North.
You have to be irredeemably ignorant not to discern the political connotations of such hugely transformative projects.
Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa often uses the tale of the boiling frog.
You see, it is believed that when you put a frog in boiling water, it instantly jumps out, but when you put it in tepid water, it feels at home.
Even when the heat is turned on, it tries to adjust until it fatally boils with the water.
ED is turning on the heat.
The bridge over Ruya River, Pembi River Bridge and the borehole in Nyamandlovu should not be viewed in isolation.
Do you still remember the Chombwe Water Bridge commissioned on December 21 to supply piped water to more than 10 000 households, including schools, clinics and business centres in Chivi, Masvingo?
Such projects, which are changing people’s lives, are already underway in various parts of the country.
In the 2021 Budget, Prof Mthuli Ncube allocated a combined $590 million to Zinwa and DDF to procure drilling rigs, while an additional $741 million was set aside for borehole rehabilitation and maintenance.
Water is indeed life.
It is also a critical need that is gradually being met.
But not only are lives in rural communities being changed, livelihoods are being transformed as well.
You might have heard last week that Causeway Dam in Marondera has been completed and is now awaiting commissioning.
This is not a vanity project.
A masterplan is already being developed to ensure that families, including those that had to make way for the project, benefit from life-changing irrigation schemes that will undoubtedly improve their material wellbeing.
A similar project has since taken off in Buhera, where land is being cleared for a major irrigation scheme.
Bishop Lazi always tells folks that if only they could take time away from their desktops to witness the sheer scale and scope of projects around the country, would they really appreciate the ongoing tectonic shift?
Devolution has been an absolute masterstroke and game-changer.
Communities are increasingly beginning to notice real change and not mere rhetoric as before.
And this year, the $20 billion kitty for the exercise will be massively impactful in more way than one.
Need we also talk of the fledgling mega horticultural projects that are in the offing?
Imagine the impact that would be made between now and 2023.
This is how elections are rigged; most definitely how the 2023 elections are being rigged — by fulfilling election promises and materially changing lives for the better.
While some political parties see these projects as hilarious, their own campaigns to capture the rural vote have been as laughable as they are tragic.
The optics provided MDC-A secretary-general Chalton Hwende of what is being styled as a rural mobilisation drive couldn’t have been more comical.
These chaps simply visit their own supporters, pretend to assist them in the fields, munch their hosts’ food, help themselves to paper-bagfuls of harvested crops before making a beeline for Harare. Kikiki.
If you think the Bishop is lying, just look for pictures of Hende’s visit to Mhondoro.
Argh, surely the gods must surely be crazy.
Isn’t it ironic that the cities they superintend spend days on end without water, while some of the rural communities they seek to court and capture now have piped water?
It is absolutely ridiculous!
Boreholes, bridges and roads mean the world for communities; more so, projects that give them a shot at decent livelihoods.
While they continue laughing, we wait to see who will have guffaws of raucous laughter in 2023.
Bishop out! ■