Poverty is a reality of our times, but do the poor have choices?

The poor, or powerless are literally taken as collateral damage with very little they can do



By Darlington Chiuta


It is hard to point at who the poor are as there will always someone poorer than the person we
think or identify as poor. There is however universal acceptance that the poor exist and they
shall ever be there.

Mark 14:7 “For you will always have the poor with you and whenever you wish you can do good to them but you do not always have Me,” said Jesus responding to people who had suggested that the expensive oil that had been applied to him could have been sold and the money used to help the poor.

This shows that poverty is normal, I did not say good but normal to the extent that it can be compartmentalised to individuals, families, communities, countries and ultimately continents and if you go into your imagination mode you can actually replace the above segments with actual players.

When one listens to advisors, motivational speakers, politicians and those that have been lucky to make it you would be inclined to think that the poor have done to deserve the poverty they are wallowing in. But in reality, how much choice do the poor really have? It is a sad reality that there are some people who will never taste life out of abject poverty.

The saying that some are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them

The saying that some are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them and some achieve greatness can be also reversed with the word great replaced by poor and greatness by poverty.

Let us look at the reality of poverty. Some are born poor, some have poverty thrust upon them
and some achieve poverty. Some people were forced into slavery which means that they can
narrate normal life to slavery.

However, their children are born in slavery thus they would have never experienced any other kind of life but slavery and slavery therefore becomes the norm.

The underlying fact is that behind the poverty there is always a hand that is at control and takes
away the possible choices.

The first determinant is the family, community or nationality in which one is born. I am not
taking away the fact that there are odd ones that make it and at times the ratio of those who
make it to those who don’t is insignificant thus resulting in the agreed Back Tax concept.

Collateral damage

A scenario where there is only one person who manages to get out of the poverty clutches.

They have a choice to distribute whatever they make evenly trying to lift relatives that may actually
not make it. In the end relationships end sour with one doing a lot for everyone and not getting
any help when they become needy one day.

It has also led to the akaromba accusation. This cuts across even in communities.

Politics plays a major role in making the citizenry either poor or wealthy. The people while they
may have dreams and ambitions including skills but the political climate will pre-determine the

Some politicians will cling to power at all costs and will determine what can be done or not done to the extent of controlling even communication lines like internet to protect their interests. The political field will go right up to trading levels with the issues like sanctions a good example.

The poor or powerless are literally taken as collateral damage with very little they can do. When issues like rigging come into play they are debated and played at competitors level the people in which the rigging will have played the poor, have no say.

When they are given docile representatives they have no choice. The reason why Africans run away from their countries is just the difference in the political and economic environments

Knowledge and experience play a huge role in imagination. The famous “If you can dream it you
can live it” from motivational speakers becomes more of a statement from a vantage point. In
2008 two folks from my village were in agreement that their 10year olds did not know and had
never tasted margarine because it was not there.

The world of some people is so limited and marginalized to the extent that even their wildest imaginations remain small talk in the real world.

You find women in the rural areas calling buying pots an achievement and having no
toothpaste and having no bed to sleep on is very normal.

Minimisation of the imagination scope

The absence of electronic media like TVs adds to the minimization of the imagination scope. Censored broadcasting also limits the scope of the people. Everything that they watch is designed to make them behave and believe that the lives they live are normal.

Certain narratives are repeated until they become true to the unsuspecting who continue to be sold hope that never comes. Whatever they are told by the imposed leaders becomes ultimate truth.

Everyone who comes to the “aid” of the poor comes with a prescriptive approach where in the
end the poor do not get to see the benefits and most of it is looted before it gets to them.

Courses benefit the training provider, donations will be not for empowerment but consumption
which makes them dependent on the donor or politician for the next vote.

Every effort is made to keep them in a certain place and mode for the benefit of those who hold the ropes.

They are taught to live within their means when there are no means to talk about. To scale down when
there when all they live for daily is to survive.

Basic things like passports to trek like others are pipe dreams and beyond reach. They actually do not dream that far because basic things are actually beyond their dreams.

When you want to accuse poor people of lacking dreams and lacking effort or even lacking initiatives just remember that some people are born in poverty and some have poverty thrust upon them by systems and they do not have any choices at their disposal.

If you can just expose someone to the bigger world you will have widened their horizon and in the spiritual world grace would have found them.


Darlington Chiuta is chairperson of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Holders Association and he writes in his personal capacity. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of www.zimbabwedigitalnews.com





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