My people are Afraid 

Hello everyone! It’s been almost four months since you’ve heard from me! I am sorry about that; things have been rather crazy for me. The reason I do not like to write posts when I am busy is that these posts take me a long time to think up and articulate. When I do not have the time to sort my thoughts, I can barely pick a topic to write on, let alone research it and present clear content to you all. Luckily, I have finished my master’s now so, I have a lot more time to dedicate to this blog. 

I am currently in Zimbabwe (yay!). I will be back in The Netherlands soon though to continue at my new job! I have been here for six days and I have already seen and heard so many things about what is happening in Zimbabwe that have left me utterly gobsmacked. You know when you look at a situation and think: well things surely cannot get any worse? Well, Zimbabwe is a constant reminder that things can always get worse. I said this exact sentence to myself last year and the year before around this time and even wrote a blog post about it. I looked at the situation in Zimbabwe and thought ‘well, this is it, things cannot possibly get worse…people are going to do something about how things currently are.’  And yet, I find myself looking at an even more desperate situation and even more desperate people.

I’d like to take you back to a post I wrote two years ago, on the 27th of July 2020. If you have the time, I implore you to reread it at: (https://unsungperspective.com/2020/07/27/july-31st/). If you do not have the time, that’s all right, I will give you a brief recap. In August 2018, with an equal mix of skepticism and jubilation, Zimbabwe swore in a new president. Unfortunately, four years later, we have seen the country fall faster than we ever thought possible. Already by 2020 (the time I wrote the post), people had seen that the government was running the country into the ground. People were starving, dying, and being driven to dangerous measures just to stay alive. All of this anger and frustration led to a buzz around July 31st (2020). It was believed that there would be a huge protest against the government in Harare on July 31st. I wrote with excitement and anticipation about what this protest would bring about. Sadly, two years later, I have to say that the July 31st protest did not even make a dent in Zimbabwean history.

Unfortunately, our inability to do anything two years ago ushered in this period of even worse circumstances. It is two years later, and things have only gotten worse. We are now experiencing a devastating economic crisis, with an inflation rate of around 600%. A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe is RTGS$600. I have no clue what the average salary is but it is definitely not keeping up with the inflation rate. I heard from one person that they are earning USD$30 per month and she seemed to believe that majority of Zimbabweans (lucky enough to have a job), are earning around the same amount. Healthcare has failed and education is failing. The youth of Zimbabwe are out of school, out of jobs, and out of options…

When I wrote in 2020, something despicable had also just happened which was leading people to saying enough is enough. Ironically, I am going to tell you guys about something eerily similar to what happened then. In 2020, female activists Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova had been abducted and tortured for speaking out against the government and highlighting the issues the country was facing. On the 24th of May 2022, Moreblessing Ali was gruesomely murdered for her activism against the current government. Moreblessing was a member of the Citizens of Coalition for Change (CCC) and after speaking out against the government just like Joana, Cecilia and Netsai, she was targeted and found to be a victim of extreme violence. The family of Moreblessing has spoken out about their devastation regarding the incident and CCC members and supporters have taken to the street to protest her murder. Unsurprisingly, the current governing party has denied all allegations of their involvement in this incident, just as they did with the 2020 one. They even further exacerbated the situation by arresting Moreblessing’s lawyer, Job Sikhala on the grounds of “inciting violence.” Which is their most famous go-to allegation when they want to arrest someone. There is always a systematic pattern of torture that occurs when the current party is under threat.  So, while this story is devastating, it came as no surprise to anyone in Zimbabwe. The CCC has come out though (at the beginning of this week) stating that they are tired, and they will fight back against the violence this time. With the 2023 elections quickly approaching, I would say, once again, Zimbabwe is a volcano on the verge of erupting. I once again find myself plagued with the same feelings I felt two years ago. Feelings of anxiety, excitement, dread, and anticipation. 

I was quite annoyed when I realized that there was not even a morsel of change the last time I felt these feelings about the future of my country. However, looking at the violence and intimidation that has already started a year ahead of the elections, I understand why. I was actually afraid to post this post while I am still in Zimbabwe because it is a scary place to be outspoken. In addition to this, while I am politically outspoken and despise the way Zimbabwe is currently being run, I actually have no political affiliation in Zimbabwe. I do not support any party, but I simply support the betterment of the country. I (like many Zimbabweans) distrust all political parties because none of them seem to really be rooting for the people of Zimbabwe. Therefore, while change seems to be looming, I am terrified of what that might even mean. All I know is that if things remain the way they currently are, more of us are going to die. Whether it is by the hands of those who want to stay in power or by starvation, Zimbabweans will continue to die if we do not seize the feeling in the country right now. Despite it all, for now, we still remain a happy and peaceful people and it is up to us to protect this and to look towards building a country that we can be proud of. 

So, I hope this upcoming year is the year that Zimbabweans are able to stand up for themselves. Politics aside, Zimbabweans standing up for themselves is now a matter of survival rather than political affiliation or gain. I want those who are standing up for themselves and their communities, like the brave women mentioned above, to know that I support you. We all support you in creating a better Zimbabwe, even if we are afraid to show it. There is light at the end of the tunnel for Zimbabwe.

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