Zimbabwe is going nowhere with delusional leaders!

I am reminded of my younger days.

May 19, 2024 - 10:00
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Zimbabwe is going nowhere with delusional leaders!

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

We used to love joking about a guy who had fallen head over heels with a certain girl.

Amid their intimate rendezvous, the guy would become so love-struck that he ended up promising the young lady all manner of things he clearly could not afford.

He told of the humongous mansion and latest luxury car he would buy for her whilst meeting all her expenses.

Yet, in all this, he did not even have a bicycle to his name, rented a one-roomed, poorly-furnished cottage, and struggled to put food on his own table.

As one Paul Matavire once sang: Sendadhakwa, sendanwa kangopisa, love inonditenderedza musoro (love twists my mind as if I’m drunk from strong spirits).

As much as this may be expected from some enamoured youth – it is, nonetheless, quite troubling when we witness the same delusional thinking from our national leaders.

This is the sense I got when listening to yesterday’s post-cabinet press briefing in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

Here, we had the Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerayi Moyo speaking lyrically about how the government was going to provide all schools with laptops and other ICT devices.

He promised the nation that this program would shortly commence in specific rural areas and later rolled out to the rest of the country.

I could not help myself smiling.

Not over the prospects of our learning institutions finally being modernized – but because this reminded me of the delusional love-struck young man.

In fact, I began to think of all the ludicrous promises the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration had made over the past few years.

In the education sector alone, there has never been a shortage of grandiose plans and programs by this government.

In 2022, the ICT ministry, through POTRAZ (Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe), launched the ‘A computer laboratory for every school’ program.

The aim was to establish computer laboratories that were fully equipped with modern ICT gadgets and internet connectivity in every school in Zimbabwe.

The then ICT Minister Jenfan Muswere declared: The scope of the project also includes the provision of functional websites equipped with a Learning Management System, (e-learning) materials, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, e-mail services and tele-education/video conferencing facilities.

The main beneficiaries were to be rural schools that had historically been disadvantaged and marginalized.

However, today, the government of Zimbabwe is rehashing the same promises it made years ago – which have largely remained unfilled.

Why rush into making such delusional promises when this is the same administration that is failing to build basic school infrastructure or even electrifying those already in existence?

Surely, does this make any sense?

According to statistics released by ARTUZ (Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe), in 2022 alone, 63 percent of rural children dropped out of school.

This has been attributed to various factors, including financial constraints, adolescent pregnancy, and drug abuse.

It becomes even more chilling.

85 percent of rural school children lack reading skills, and 86 percent do not have numeracy skills.

In the same breath, there is a massive shortage of teachers in rural schools – with ARTUZ reporting that there was a shortfall of 20,000.

Poor remuneration and deplorable working conditions (particularly in rural areas) were cited as the main causes of this deficit.

Why is the Mnangagwa administration not focusing on these glaring shortcomings?

How can they, when they are busy daydreaming?

When leaders decide to be delusional, they quickly lose sight of real concerns right in front of them.

There is an urgent need to address the economic challenges facing the majority of Zimbabweans – so that, at least, parents afford to send their children to school.

In spite of repeated promises by Mnangagwa to avail free education, this has, nevertheless, remained a mere pipedream.

Besides, even if they attended school, under what conditions do their learn?

Let us remember that most learning institutions in rural areas are miles away and are not even fit for purpose.

It is not surprising at all finding children learning under trees or in some dilapidated structure whilst sitting on the ground or on bricks.

At the same time, they do not have the most basic learning materials such as text and exercise books.

Is there, then, any wonder why 85 and 86 percent lack reading and numeracy skills, respectively?

There is also a need to capacitate teachers so that they are motivated and able to deliver on their mandate by giving them decent salaries and acceptable working conditions.

Who would want to work where they are forced to live in a ramshackle dwelling without the most basics as water or ablution facilities?

Yet, here we have a government talking about providing every pupil with a laptop!

The government has to come back to reality.

We are not going anywhere as a country with delusional leaders.

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/

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David Lee Munemo David Lee Munemo is a rising Zimbabwean journalist with a passion for making complex news discoveries accessible to the public. Driven by a belief in the importance of information communication, David's work tackles a variety of news fields, from groundbreaking entertainment research to the latest political news.