The Sunday Mail
Where are we, as Zimbabweans, really going? We are a people blessed with abundant natural and human resources, but our highly educated and knowledgeable dividend of youthful minds is being led astray from the primary national issue at hand by hashtag and selfie activists. One Evan Mawarire has run off to America, only looking back to tweet that “thisflag” must continue; this time each bearer for himself. Your sheep are neglected, disillusioned and bitter mufundisi.
Mufundisi dines in the States after a handshake with Obama.
We are led astray because of ignorance of the real issue.
Zimbabwe is a country endowed with vast natural resources now returned to her people, and yet we have stubbornly resist claiming our space as an enabled youth to constructively and judiciously exploit them.
The cry of innovative and resilient youth to President Mugabe should be that we have established economic platforms to take Zimbabwe’s new indigenised economy forward, but are being frustrated.
President Mugabe has consistently called on Zimbabwe’s highly educated young people to apply that education and innovation to form companies to exploit the natural resources presented to them.
Instead, all that degreed #tajamuka and fellow #thisgown clowns can conjure up in their bright minds are hashtags.
Recently, a senior Zimbabwean cleric while visiting Israel, had a profound revelation. Looking on present day Israel, his mind was drawn in wonder to the Israelites of old and saw how they had moved from economic enslavement in Egypt to their Promised Land of milk and honey.
Surely, those thousands of years before the birth of Christ, they looked upon desert land.
And knowing Israel as we do today, there were no natural resources like platinum, gold or diamonds to put glittering smiles on the new arrivals’ tired faces.
And yet those Israelites, looking upon a desert to which they had travelled for 40 years, embraced that God-given Promised Land.
They did not shun the land given to them in the way the Mkwananzi’s would have us do today.
What dawned upon the Zimbabwean cleric, which must dawn upon the rest of us, is that the independent Israelites saw that Promised Land first in their minds and through faith.
And they began to painstakingly invest sweat and innovation in the prosperous Israel we see today. Israel transformed its desert into an oasis, exporting agricultural produce and technology to the world.
So, we must ask: What is wrong with us as a young post-Independence Zimbabwean nation, presented with our “Promised Land”, that we tweet ourselves into poverty?
A whole degreed youth group can only apply its educated minds to hashtags to complain about joblessness, yet their President has long implored them to exploit abundant resources to guarantee livelihoods.
Those degrees and doctorates cannot serve the livelihoods of their holders primarily because they resist the new indigenous economy presented to them.
Consider South Korea immediately after the end of the devastating civil war in 1953. It was far less degreed than Zimbabwe today, and Korea had and still has not a single natural resource.
Yet that country set its mind and energies to a command style and systematic economic transformation agenda.
Korea’s rural communities, under the Saemaul Undong Movement, led that economic revolution. Ordinary people sacrificed what household wealth they had and contributed their enterprise towards transforming and growing the economy.
Today, Souht Korea’s economy is in the world’s top 10.
That initiative is as good as President Mugabe launching community share ownership trusts here. Half-a-decade later and guaranteed millions in seed capital and shareholding in mining companies, communities still struggle with underdevelopment.
Where are the degreed youth of those communities to leverage and multiply that wealth? Instead they point a finger at the same President Mugabe who has empowered their communities.
Then there is the handful of war veterans with their communique who have failed to impart the ideological vision of the liberation struggle to nurture a post-Independence economic revolution.
Our calling as young people, as was that of the youthful heroes of political liberation, is to be the heroes of the economic revolution.
Rangu Nyamurundira is a lawyer and advocate for Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and economic empowerment programme