BY MOSES MATENGA

A WORLD happiness report released last week has ranked Zimbabweans among the saddest citizens in the world, only higher than the war-ravaged Afghanistanis and South Sudanese.

The World Happiness Report is an annual survey by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of the United Nations and looks at the state of global happiness in 156 countries.

It ranks countries using the Gallup World Poll and six factors, levels of gross domestic product, life expectancy, generosity, social support and freedom and corruption income.

The survey was launched in 2012.

“On the other end of the spectrum, the unhappiest cities have some common themes,” the report read in part.

“Most are located in underdeveloped countries and have experienced war (Kabul in Afghanistan, Sanaa in Yemen), armed conflict (Gaza in Palestine), civil war (Juba in South Sudan, Bangui in the Central African Republic), political instability (Cairo in Egypt) or devastating natural catastrophes (Port-au-Prince in Haiti).”

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said the report showed that the people were unhappy with the country’s economic direction.

“The report is stating what is obtaining on the ground in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are, indeed, very sad. The way of life being led my most Zimbabweans makes them a sad nation,” CiZC spokesperson Marvellous Khumalo said.

“The socio-economic and political situation in the country has frustrated a number of citizens. Symptoms of this sadness includes that more than four million Zimbabweans left their country and were forced into self-exile for various reasons ranging from economic to political refugee.”

He added: “If Zimbabweans were not sad, those in the diaspora should have been back home. Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world without a currency.

“The level of polarisation in the country shows that as Zimbabweans we are a very sad nation. If we also trace the recurrence of incidences of post-independent politically motivated violence, all these are signs of a nation crying out loud for healing.

“When Mugabe was pushed out of office, look at how most citizens celebrated being hopeful that a new era was waiting, but only to get a worse off situation. Zimbabweans are very sad and frustrated. This is why Zimbabweans are sad.”

The report added in part: “As revealed by earlier studies of earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis and even economic crises, a high trust society quite naturally looks for and finds co-operative ways to work together to repair the damage and rebuild better lives. This has led sometimes to surprising increases in happiness in the wake of what might otherwise seem to be unmitigated disasters.”

The ranking relied on city residents’ self-reports of how they themselves evaluate the quality of their lives.

“Besides the happiest countries, the World Happiness Report also looked at the places where people are the unhappiest. This year, Afghanistan was named the unhappiest place in the world, followed by South Sudan and Zimbabwe,” the report further read.

Afghanistan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Central African Republic complete the top five unhappy countries in the world that has also Tanzania, Botswana, Yemen, Malawi and India completing the bottom 10.