In a few hours Zimbabwe will be having its historic harmonized presidential elections. Historic because they are elections without Robert Mugabe at the helm, historic at the level of peace and tolerance (not counting the bomb incident) for divergent views considering the history from past elections where citizens where openly intimidated and when talking anything remotely political was practically taboo, if a random speaker asked for your opinion you just shrugged it off non-commitally because having an opinion was hazardous to your well-being.
On my evening commute from the city in a public taxi, after everyone had paid for their fares, the conductor surprised the passengers by donning a graduation cap and declaring that he was University Graduate and yet here he was working as a Sliding Door Operator, opening and closing doors for passengers just like us, who just like him have dreams too, but working as a “hwindi” (the colloquial name for the minibus conductors and touts who try to get passengers to board their taxis; said to be derived from the sound the minivan door makes as it rolls on its railings and slides shut….. hwiiiiiiiii Ndiii) was never his dream, nor a job opportunity he would never pursue willingly.
He chronicled how he left for work at four in the morning and the earliest he got home was half-past ten in the evening; how he wasn’t even sure if his wife was beautiful or not since he only saw her at night. He is a stranger to his children, they cry when he tries to play with them; never play with strangers they were taught well; he leaves home before they wake up and returns long after they have gone to bed.
Even on the few off days he does get, they just stare at each awkwardly and his wife will be away, working. She is a qualified teacher but runs a tiny flea market right next to the cash dealers, the ones who hold thick wads of cash and sell money at a premium,
and sometimes she comes home with groceries and crisp new notes in a country where cash is a scares commodity, he worries that maybe she sells more than just pirated DVDs and secondhand clothes but he never asks, she isn’t really his wife, he cant afford a wedding, she is just someone with whom shares living expenses with and oh yeah they have children together.
At some point he asked the passengers to show by show of hands if they had family who had left for distant lands in the diaspora whom when they said goodbye at the airport said that they would be gone only for a little while, its been years and now you wonder the only time they are coming home is in a coffin (that is if you can pay for the international body repatriation fees) Everyone raised a hand, me included, the family structure has gaping holes left by those who sought economic asylum in the better world and sometimes as I rub the dust of my passport the only thing that keeps me here is that I can’t a plane ticket to greener pastures and not out of love for country…..
You could tell as he spoke this colourful account of his life that he was somewhat intoxicated, even he admitted that he had imbibed some cheap strong spirit alcohol known as “Musombodhiya” the only kind he can afford to drown his woes but the fact that he was drunk should not diminish the gospel he was preaching all he was saying was “Please Vote Wisely on Monday”
Someone asked the conductor whom he meant when we should vote for when he said vote wisely he laughed and replied “Isnt it obvious? The are three schools of voters those for whom the current regime has been good to, puppets of the regime those who cant think for themselves and those who want change, if you are in this taxi and not in a car of your own you need change in your life…Vote Wisely”
Vote Wisely wise ……. Who am I voting for? Ha! Isn’t that obvious, my preferred candidate talks a good talk but even though he talks such a good talk not enough people are listening, and this is all a numbers game, and out of 23 candidates.
I would vote for anyone who is willing to give him a chance in their next government because man mad great points well the the future is about to begin, dare we relive history…..
As I got to my stop and was getting off, the conductor concluded by asking if anyone had seen the eclipse, it was an omen, the end of an era, “ane nzeve anzwa tosangana paVote” let him ears listen: Vote Wisely