Author: Lawrence Hoba

Zimbabwe: A call for new heroes

A Zimbabwean casts his vote in Epwath on March 16 2013 during a referendum on a new constitution. (Pic: AFP)
A Zimbabwean casts his vote in Epwath on March 16 2013 during a referendum on a new constitution. (Pic: AFP)

I am convinced that Zimbabwe is devoid of sensibility and sensitivity. Each year we celebrate the President’s Birthday, Independence Day, Heroes Day, Defence Forces Day, and recently we added a new banquet to the list: a celebration to remember Zanu-PF’s emphatic win in last year’s elections. This recent excess, unfortunately, is more senseless and insensitive given that we had already hosted the mother of all weddings for the first daughter, while the average citizen is facing one form of starvation or another.

Every August we celebrate Heroes Day to remember those who sacrificed their lives for this country. Never mind who determines who is a hero or not, that is not the issue at stake here.  But this year on the 11th I was sitting at home, hoping to watch the proceedings on ZTV. Okay, let me admit, I was too broke to make it anywhere else. So I woke up, took my usual bath and got myself ready for the event. I was eager to hear the President’s Speech. Each time you hear him speak, you get a feeling that this may be his last speech, and you want to be one of those few who will remember him with the nostalgia of one who knew him well.

Just as I was waiting for the day to fully begin, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority struck. The lights went off. Literally just switched off.  I was left staring at a blank TV screen and, naturally, my mind decide to roam. Right there, I had my Voltaire moment: If it’s Heroes Day, then it means heroes are dying.  And each time we bury one, we have less and less left and like it or not, soon and very soon, there won’t be any heroes left.

Now, as you know heroes are those people who literally went into the bush to wage the armed struggle against the Ian Smith regime and afterwards remained cadres of Zanu-PF. Anyone outside this bracket is subject to appointment and definition by this first group.

We can’t live without heroes. We need heroes because villains don’t die, they just morph into another form, and are waiting to pounce on us and devour us, literally. You know the villains. You know their races, their names, their children, and even how they will come. You even know their proxies in the event that they can’t show their faces, and you secretly admire yourself for refusing some of their proxies during the 2013 general elections.

Sitting there that day, watching a blank TV screen, it struck me that maybe we need new heroes.

Having been given the mandate by a current hero, the President, when he said that The Leaders will be selected by the people, and I am the people, I am taking our destiny into my hands to ensure that we have new heroes.

Forgive my long preamble, but here is the call for applications:

New Heroes wanted for a country currently sitting in an economic cesspool. Previous heroes need not apply because their applications will be dismissed with the impunity they deserve. Besides, we acknowledge that very few genuine heroes remain from the previous generation. Also, please note, THIS IS STRICTLY AN ECONOMICS AND ADMINISTRATIVE JOB AND NOT A WE-DIED-FOR-THIS-COUNTRY KIND OF JOB.

Ensure Zimbabwe regains its breadbasket status

Create new jobs in their millions

Get various industries (primary, secondary and tertiary) working again

Mend broken international relations without necessarily selling away the country

Clear debt overhang, and strictly reduce future borrowing (bonding of minerals in the ground is a foolish idea you know)

Deal, with whatever tools available, with corruption

Tertiary qualifications, while desirable, are not a prerequisite. What’s needed is a demonstrated ability to generate own wealth cleanly. To those who are looking for the big break, this may be the wrong post to apply to. We will be carrying out strict lifestyle audits on successful candidates. Anyone previously suspected, accused or convicted of corruption, theft by conversion or any such crimes that would make us doubt your ability to handle public funds honestly, need not even attempt to apply.

Also, no one will be allowed to hold the nation to ransom by refusing to vacate these new seats by claiming that only they deserve to rule or govern because they sacrificed the most for this country. As stated earlier, those who have the right to such claims are fewer and fewer now, and the few that remain are dying.

All applications must be addressed to:
The Public Recruiter (a.k.a. The Voter, who is smarting from a stupid voting decision during the 2013 general elections and cannot wait for 2018 poll)

Lawrence Hoba is an entrepreneur, author and passive politician.  His short stories and poetry have appeared in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories, Writing Lives, Laughing Now, Warwick Review and Writing Now.  His anthology, The Trek and Other Stories (2009), was nominated for the NAMA in 2010 and went on to win the ZBPA award for Best Literature in English. It tackles the highs and lows of Zimbabwe’s land reform. Connect with him on Twitter@lawhoba

Dear Zanu-PF, here’s my application for one of those 2.2 million jobs you promised

Dear post-election Zanu-PF (aka Government of Zimbabwe)


With reference to your election manifesto, which excited even the MDC-T to splitting point and made me put a cross next to your name on the ballot paper, I hereby apply, publicly, for any one of the 2.2 million jobs you promised in Zim Asset. In case you have forgotten, this is that economic blueprint you came up with in October 2013, which is meant to “to provide an enabling environment for sustainable economic empowerment and social transformation to the people of Zimbabwe”.

July 31 marked exactly one year since I cast my first official ballot in the country’s elections, ending previous attempts at maintaining my political virginity. Now, there is some background I should give you. I do not bet or play the lotto because everything I put my bet on seems to lose. Even when I want my football team to win, I don’t watch the match. That is why I have not been voting all these years. I hated to see what I love losing. But last year, for the first time, I took the risk – and the jinx was broken! You won the election. However, looking back on my country, I’m concerned about whether the jinx was really broken. Could it be that in you winning massively, Zimbabwe actually lost quite a lot?

Forgive my rambling. With so many of my job applications gone unanswered, I do not know if it was my cover letter that failed me, or the comma that was missing from my CV, or if it’s just that none of the 2.2 million jobs you promised are on the market yet. But the issue at stake here is that I am looking for a job, and urgently so, because I am 31 and unmarried and cannot afford to be unemployed. One may ask why I am applying to you. Most of the companies I approached are either already closing down or downsizing staff, and employing me is an unrealistic dream for them. But I know you have 2.2 million jobs that you promised me in 2013, and I have come to claim at least one.

I am one of those “resources that gives Zimbabwe a comparative advantage over regional and other international countries is its economic complexity that includes the strong human resource base, which is an outcome of a deliberate educational policy instituted by the ZANU-PF Government at Independence in 1980.” Unfortunately, I have been trying to make myself a useful resource with little success, hence I’m approaching you so that you can employ me.

I hold a qualification in tourism and hospitality, among other numerous qualifications, and should be glad that tourism is one of your key target economic areas with huge potential. It’s just that I have not seen what you referred to in Zim Asset as “Quick Wins” or “rapid results yielded “in the shortest possible time frame (October 2013 – December 2015)”. Obviously I blame this on the fact that no initiatives have been implemented or “blitz interventions” made since I voted for you. Damn the sanctions, of course. Oh, I had forgotten that there are also sanctions-busting strategies. So damn the inaction. What have you been doing this whole past year?

Secondly, survival has taught me all these other vital skills and given me a great deal of experience, which will account for any gap periods in my CV. Like most others, I am now a serial entrepreneur, sometimes vendor, marketer, social media enthusiast, administrator, occasional job-hunter and writer. So, do not get me into the unemployed-experience-unemployed conundrum. I don’t deserve it, neither do millions other Zimbabweans who have faced desperate situations, including this economy, and lived through it.

And if there are any other things that you deem important which I do not have, such as a driver’s licence and a passport, please remember that I might not have been able to afford the $200+ required to bribe driving inspectors, or had the time to wait in unending queues at the Registrar General’s offices.

And lastly, if it turns out that all the other vacancies have already been filled by the numerous educated but unemployed youths roaming the streets – most of whom are thinking of leaving the country – I would like to become one of the officials in the Office of the President and Cabinet who will “play a leading and co-ordinating role as overseer of the implementation process to ensure attainment of set targets of the Plan.”

At least I know that vacancies still exist in this section of Zim Asset because, with nothing happening, my only guess is that no one is co-ordinating the implementation process of this brilliant document. My claim to employment in this section is backed by my qualification in monitoring and evaluation, and validated testimonies that I am discreet, patriotic and intelligent enough to meet your requirements.

Please note:

  1. Do not take this a joke; I really need a job and so do millions others. And the earlier you make those “blitz interventions” for “Quick Wins”, the better it is for all of us. December 2015 is not far away.
  2. At this point don’t refer me to non-working youth funds. I have tried those before. All I need is a job. A piece of land would be a welcome alternative though.
  3. Please ensure that I get a job in haste before South Africa and its post-election ANC deport the more than 3 million jobless Zimbabweans there back home.
  4. I can attend interviews as fast as the kombi you want to banish without an alternative can take me to the venue.

Regards (because we are compatriots and I deserve better from you),
Lawrence Hoba


Lawrence Hoba is an entrepreneur, author and passive politician.  His short stories and poetry have appeared in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories, Writing Lives, Laughing Now, Warwick Review and Writing Now.  His anthology, The Trek and Other Stories (2009), was nominated for the NAMA in 2010 and went on to win the ZBPA award for Best Literature in English. It tackles the highs and lows of Zimbabwe’s land reform. Connect with him on Twitter: @lawhoba