The banana republic of Zimbabwe

I am chilled at the depth of the wound that ZANU (PF) has inflicted upon this land and our national psyche.

“Banana Republic” is a term coined by the American writer O. Henry in his book titled: “Cabbages and Kings” (1904) “A banana republic is a politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resource (fruits, minerals), and usually features a society composed of stratified social classes, such as a great, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy, composed of the élites of business, politics, and the military. Or to put it in other words; it denotes a country dependent upon limited primary-sector productions, which is ruled by a plutocracy who exploit the national economy by means of a politico-economic oligarchy (Source Wikipedia)

Spot on isn’t it?

Our plutocracy in Zimbabwe, truly believes that it has the inalienable right to political power and will do all it can, to force that reality on its citizens. It stifles public debate, criminalizes alternative views and seeks to continually create an illusion of its invincibility. It uses disinformation, cohesion, incarceration and if necessary, violence, to force its ideas onto us, its citizens. It continues to deny the possibility that there is a better way and will seek to damage personal initiative and ambition in all instances. Like an octopus, its tentacles must lay claim to all fortunes to be made and on those who might make them.

Its minions, be they hawkers, professors, governors, senators, chiefs, bishops spies, dealers, small time farmers and drunkards alike, have become an amorphous conglomeration of willing political factions, who must blindly endorse and partake in its activities and crimes, while expecting to be the beneficiaries of its largesse.

What this has done over time, is to stifle objective judgment and postponed the urgency of us dealing honestly with the pressing socio economic problems we face. I have seen grown educated men in suits, continuing to blame sanctions and others for our economic problems, scared to admit that indeed ZANU (PF) has failed. In fact the truth of the matter is that, ZANU (PF) never had a solution in the first place. They have never figured out this economy since 1980. This can be easily proved by how everything, almost everything which they have touched has been in slow decline, a day at a time.

Each day that I pursue issues, I am chilled at the depth of the wound that ZANU (PF) has inflicted upon this land and our national psyche. This applies especially to the older generation of Zimbabweans, who have effectively given up on any hope for change, because the wound inflicted, is so deep and permanent.
They remind me of the phenomenon where, if you shackle an elephant in one spot for long enough, and then remove the shackles, it will not move an inch believing the shackles to still exist. I now deliberately avoid talking to some of them about creating a better future in Zimbabwe because it pains me to see such despondency and lack of hope in their eyes.

What is further perplexing is the fact that, even though we Zimbabweans are in general known as educated and hard working, we seem almost incapable to use that education and that hard work to apply solutions that improve our life conditions. In other words, we have become a nation of educated fools, who may have all the academic accolades, but are incompetent in shaping their circumstances. Instead most have joined the gravy train and are quick to use the name of ZANU (PF) to get what they want. From occupying churches for personal gain to cheap market stalls at Mbare musika, all blindly claim allegiance to the party and use its name to injure fellow citizens. Principles, conflict of interests, ethics have become the armor of the foolish, while corruption and unprecedented greed have become the sword of success.

We must be wise and use the wisdom of the Eskimo, who, when hunting the wolf, finds a long sharp knife and drenches it in fresh blood and freezes it in the cold ice. He then adds some more fresh blood until the knife is thick with layers of fresh frozen blood. He carefully places the knife in the snow, with the sharp edge facing upwards and waits. In the morning, he wakes up to find a dead wolf. A wolf that would have licked the knife’s sharp edge to its death while tasting the delicious warm blood as it begins cuts its own tongue.

Through its own actions and its crimes, we shall see the wolf continue to drink its own warm blood, believing it to be the delicious rewards of years of violence, corruption and the suppression of the will of reasonable and well meaning Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe is indeed poised for a great future.

Vince Musewe is an independent economist in Harare and you can contact him on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>