I never revel in others people’s misery and suffering – since, due to the same compassion that drives me to fearlessly stand up, and speak out for oppressed and unjustly-treated Zimbabweans – I similarly feel empathy even for those used as tools in this repressive state machinery.
This is certainly not different for state-controlled broadcaster, ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) employees – who were reportedly not being paid their promised outstanding allowances, and are earning sickening salaries – in their daily job in parroting the oppressive and corruption-infested Zimbabwe regime’s reprehensible propaganda and unapologetic deceit.
It is alleged that, last week, ZBC senior executives ordered the immediate shutting down of all WhatsApp groups linked to the state-controlled broadcaster – which had become a crying platform for its workers, whose employer has repeatedly reneged on obligations to increase their measly wages, as well as delays in paying US$75 monthly COVID-19 allowances.
This, in spite of, the supposed unsuccessful attempts by worker representatives to meet with their CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Adelaide Chikunguru, since her controversial appointment in June 2021 – meant to iron out grievances, which also included the claimed questionable purchase of 33 Nissan Navara vehicles, in the midst of poor remuneration for employees.
Be that as it may, what truly captured my interest with these allegations is the fact that, ZBC workers – more specifically, their news journalists – have never been shy in their relentless efforts in denigrating other Zimbabweans, especially civil servants, in their own fights for a better livelihood and dignified salaries.
As a matter of fact, state-controlled media has been at the forefront of labelling any who dared exercise their constitutionally-enshrined right to collective job action – as some Western-sponsored agents of illegal regime change.
They have gone out of their way trying to “prove” that, teachers’ and nurses’ union leaders were being clandestinely paid by foreign powers to supposedly “incite unrest and cause instability” in the country – simply for courageously standing up for their rights, and adamantly refusing to work for slave wages, regardless of concerted efforts by the repressive regime in holding them at ransom.
Yet, the glaring irony of it all is, that these state media journalists were also wallowing in near poverty – similarly being ill-treated and mistreated by their employers – thereby, desperately requiring a strong voice to speak on their behalf.
Of course, some may argue that these journalists were merely trying to make a living, in order to feed their families – in a country with a severely diminished media industry, more so in the electronic sector (having had only one broadcaster for over six decades), thereby limiting employment opportunities – leaving many with no choice, but to work for state propaganda machinery, whose views they may not necessarily personally share.
This may well and truly be the fact, however, when it comes to issues of national development – where real people’s lives are at stake, and directly affected (positively or negatively) by the decisions and actions of those in power – could there truly be any excuse or reason for anyone to justify colluding and cooperating with authors of the citizenry’s untold impoverishment and unspeakable suffering?
I am also a journalist who is facing immense financial challenges in this country – but, selling my soul to the devil, merely for me to put food on the table, and send my son to school, at the expense of the millions of Zimbabweans who are living in extreme poverty, due to the ruling elite’s insatiable greed, mismanagement of the economy, and incompetence – will be a grave violation of my Jehovah God-anchored principles and beliefs.
As much as I may endure suffering today, I earnestly believe that God Himself will open the phenomenal doors of success for me, at the most appropriate time – besides, He has never left me, nor forsaken me, but has remained faithful, through His Son Christ Jesus.
Why would anyone, then, choose to defend this unpardonable travesty of justice, and undeniable crime against the hapless and defenceless people of Zimbabwe – by the very leaders that are mandated to protect and enable their prosperity, dignity, and respectability?
The plight befalling our brothers and sisters at the state-controlled broadcaster should serve as a profound lesson in the folly of allowing oneself to be a puppet and pawn in the oppression and subjugation of one’s own fellow citizens.
There is never a reward for selling out, and subjecting oneself to a dog that is used by its human master to hunt down and kill fellow animals – as the result is always the same…the dog is never counted amongst the masters, but is always treated as second class, and given the leftovers of its own kill.
In fact, all those who have sold out the struggle for a better and more dignified livelihood for others have never been world changers – since they have only served to maintain the suffering and impoverishment of the masses.
Yet, on the other hand – those who have stood boldly in the face of unending tribulations and persecution, in fighting for other citizens’ prosperity and advancement – have managed to force positive change in people’s lives, and bring smiles on Zimbabweans’ faces.
It was through teachers’ unwavering stance that their salaries have been constantly reviewed.
It was the resistance of the people of Zimbabwe in January 2019 that ZUPCO buses were hastily reintroduced.
Cowards have never achieved anything, except to make the lives of other people a living hell.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org