Addressing Republican Party members on September 11, 1970, US Vice-President Spiro Agnew said: “In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.’”
Agnew was taking a dig at those elements of American society who, in thinking they are dishing out enlightened criticism and displaying sophistication by attacking anything and everything the establishment does, are merely in the grip of a paralysing negativity.
Spiro Agnew may well have been peering into a crystal ball and seeing Zimbabwe in 2018.
Thankfully, the nabobs of negativity are gradually being drowned out by the spirit of positivity that defines the Second Republic.
It would be instructive for the noisy minority to correctly read the events of the past week and join the silent majority in contributing to the creation of a better Zimbabwe.
Mr Gerd Müller, Germany’s Minister of Economic Co-operation and Development, was here and said a Joint Commission was being established between the two nations.
“Germany and Europe have great interest on stability and peace in this country that is why we are building on the implementation of reforms and we will support the Government of Zimbabwe, especially to implement measures that will improve the situation for people in rural areas that will benefit agriculture,” Mr Müller said.
Germany is the world’s fourth-largest economy and the biggest manufacturer in Europe.
Further, it is very influential in the European Union, whose own GDP is this year estimated at US$19,7 trillion — or 22 percent of the global economy.
Do the nabobs of negativity know this? Do they know what it means when Germany and Zimbabwe agree to a Joint Commission? Are these not signs of an economy and a political administration on the march?
There is more from the past week.
Britain’s Theresa May was in South Africa, where the nabobs of negativity in that country tried to press her to condemn President Mnangagwa and in essence get her to distance the United Kingdom from Zimbabwe.
Her response: “The President is an elected President . . .”
Now, the UK is the world’s fifth-largest economy and ranks as the fifth biggest importer as well as third in terms of outward-bound FDI.
Are these not the kinds of economies the Second Republic should be dealing with in its quest to create a middle-income economy by 2030?
And as the nabobs of negativity read this, President Mnangagwa is in Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation Summit.
For those who doubt the importance of Focac, listen to the counsel of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (Apparently opposition leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has a direct line to him and so it should not be hard for him to verify this.)
“The Africa-China co-operation is a central part of South-South co-operation. South-South Co-operation is more and more important in today’s world as a fundamental tool to allow for African countries to benefit from what has been the remarkable success of Chinese economic development in the past decades.
“. . . And with the dimension and the importance of the Chinese economy, the economic co-operation between Africa and China plays a very important strategic role.”
China is the second biggest economy in the world and the biggest in terms of purchasing power parity. It has the largest banking sector assets (US$39,9 trillion), is the fastest-growing consumer market, and second-largest importer.
And while all that is happening, Zimbabwe is on course to returning to the Commonwealth, a bloc that is projected to have internal trade worth US$1 trillion by 2020.
Surely, Zimbabwe is keeping fine company by any measure.
The question becomes: why would anyone think the country and its people will benefit from sabotaging such multilateral progress?
What Zimbabwe needs right now is for everyone to do their little bit to compliment these efforts.
We would like to draw the attention of the nabobs of negativity to Walt Whitman’s old poem, “O Me! O Life”.
“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish . . . The question, O me! so sad, recurring — What good amid these, O me, O life?
“Answer. That you are here — that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
As a Zimbabwean — as a student, as a farmer, as a politician, as a preacher, as a worker, as a business owner, as an artiste or an artisan — ask yourself: What will your verse be?
Will it be a soul-numbing, nation-killing negativity? Or will be honest, hard work?
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