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November 27, 2023

When Suicide Slithered in Like a Snake

By Ndaba Sibanda

When Suicide Slithered in Like a Snake

Oh, Oh, Onah, do you sometimes soberly run your numb nose
over your armpits to detect where the odor comes from
or just revel being in denial: scapegoating, playing to the gallery?
am I talking in parables, dear daughter of patriotism?
I'm talking of how the War Compensation Fund
fell victim to corrupt business practices!
didn’t the cabinet members use it
to look after their interests?
don’t they live in obscene opulence?

Oh, Oh, Onah, don't start me on that one,
you sought preferential admission
into educational institutions,
preferential access to housing,
government employment,
residential and business stands
and land, and was there a full stop?

let us go down memory...
do you remember on August 21, 1997
when the ruling party's first secretary finally
yielded and rolled out a gratuity of Z$50,000
(USD 4000) and a Z2, 000 (USD 150) monthly
pension for each ex-combatant?

nose-diving, you heaped blame
on detractors and the West

didn't your president then say this?
"there is greater readiness
than there has ever been to assist you…
we will find the money for this and we
can borrow if we need to,
have you ever heard of a country
that has collapsed because of borrowing?"

if ever there was a demonstration of populism,
when you talk of the menace of sanctions, remember
where we are coming from, your role in the mess, the rot,
Oh, Oh, Onah, what a development, that was a moment
of economic suicide, doesn't your denying head think so?
let's look at its disturbing, disastrous consequences ...
what did economists call it? recklessness? graft? what?

guess what, trade balance turned negative
as exports plunged, citizens were heavily taxed
remember there was no meaningful investment
in the country…except perhaps for daily price hikes,
later the country experienced shortages of basic items
and state brutality and a daily dose of propaganda,
remember, how some beneficiaries went on a spending spree?
One man hiring a bus, ladies of the night...cows watching TVs !
Oh, Oh, Onah, wasn't that a moment of economic madness, too?

Article © Ndaba Sibanda. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-11-14
Image(s) are public domain.
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