It is a great leap of faith for anyone battling rising unemployment and possible starvation to think or even imagine life in four months’ time let alone in 2018.
Zimbabweans would have to survive the current drought, an economy now only serving a few and the tragedy of a government that is struggling to get out of the wilderness, if they are going to see 2018.
The future looks grim. Hunger is stalking the country. Companies are either working below capacity or closing down. Every day the number of vendors on the streets increases and soon there will be more traders than buyers.
The government is boxed in and the opposition parties are paralysed. Only the Pentecostal churches are doing a roaring business in harvesting souls and impoverishing them.
It is hard to see through the maze of uncertainty that has become Zimbabwe. Getting through just one day has become a lot of work for most people. There is a lot of burying heads in the sand by our politicians. Those in power are hanging in there and hope they can continue to spin their way out of trouble. The opposition parties, like vultures, are waiting and praying for the ruling party to fall.
While politicians play the waiting game, the citizens seek solace elsewhere. It is difficult to see into the future when even the government hospitals can no longer guarantee that one can get a painkiller to get rid of a hunger-induced headache.
The reality between today and 2018 is that for most only religion makes sense. As German philosopher Karl Max said; “Religion is the opium of the oppressed.” Zimbabwe has been seized in the religious mania for lack of hope.
A glance into the future is possible when there are signs of a future. People who get up every morning and go to work have a future to think of. People who can feed their families think beyond today, next week, next month, next year or plan for 2018.
It should be easy to look at our lives between now and 2018, a year when if all things are equal we should have yet another round of elections, but it is not that easy. The road is bumpy, the grass is too long and the cobwebs are too thick. The eyes no longer see that far. Looking into just two weeks ahead is blinding.
When hope flows it is easy to look into the future. A people who have a life can look into the future. A people suppressed, oppressed and impoverished have no future to think of – getting through today is more than they can handle.
Too many things have gone wrong. The brand of what passes for democracy heavily tarnished. The government has been out of sync with the people for so long it has even forgotten the people. The opposition has been in opposition for so long they have lost their way.
Tomorrow is tough enough to think of. A year from now the face of Zimbabwe will be something we all will not be able to recognise. Things are getting worse, not better. There is no candy coming from the West and huge investment deals only exist on the pages of state papers.
It is almost impossible to imagine how the year will end for nothing is as it seems anymore.
It is hard to see right now but eventually change in government might come. The reality is that if and when change finally comes to Zimbabwe, many people will be disappointed because nothing will change.
As long as we have traders in power – people who believe in buying and selling and not production our problems will not go away. If current traders are replaced by another group of traders, we will just have new faces with similar appetites.
Between now and 2018 our only hope as a country lies in finding a quality of leaders who not only know how to serve but can inspire confidence in investors, know how to resuscitate commerce and industry and can exhume agriculture. It is a time that should be dedicated to paving the way for ensuring that Zimbabwe will never travel this ruinous road again.
Our only salvation between now and 2018 and that there be men and women of courage willing to rebuild the rails, repair the train and find an able team to run the train.
The problem with looking into the future when everything rests on presence or absence of one particular person is that everything then hinges on whether or not the person goes.
Zimbabwe is in that mode where everything now seems to be on hold waiting for Robert Mugabe to go. Scenarios are painted of when he goes but what if he never goes? What if he sticks to his promise to continue ruling and decides to run again next year in 2018?
That is almost untenable. More and more young people have been packing suitcases again and taking the gap. More people will leave and those who remain will feel they have nothing to live for. Right now there is no silver lining on that very dark cloud that is Zimbabwe.
The more we lose hope the harder it will be for anyone to see past the next few days. There are no signs that life will improve for most Zimbabweans. In some parts of the country, people are already surviving on roots. Between now and 2018 Zimbabwe will probably be one big church because politics has failed the people and also because the people have failed themselves.