Rushing red rivers by Cathy Buckle

via Rushing red rivers by Cathy Buckle | SW Radio Africa Monday, May 26, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
Driving towards Zimbabwe from a neighbouring country recently it was hard not to be overwhelmed by two dramatically different sights that seem to tell the story of the subcontinent so well. Through every town and village you see such poverty and people living in such primitive conditions that it’s hard to believe these are places in the 21st century. People bathing in rivers, washing clothes in rock pools, carrying enormous burdens of food or wood on their heads, crushing rocks to sell stones, living in mud walled houses roofed with grass, reeds or plastic. And everywhere people are making a living on the side of the road, selling everything from live animals to meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, cheap clothes, furniture, machines and all manner of electrical goods.

On the other side of the coin is the dramatic beauty that surrounds
this gruelling poverty. Brilliant blue skies, towering kopjes, vast
open plains, rushing red rivers, giant trees and a treasure trove of
spectacular birds whose colours are so bright and gaudy that you
wouldn’t believe they were real unless you saw them with your own

When you get to the border to come back into Zimbabwe, reality
returns. How long will it take before someone is holding their hand
out for a bribe you wonder? It doesn’t take long at all. Barely have
you closed the car door when a crush of men are offering to get you to
the front of the queue and ‘rush’ you through immigration and
customs formalities. They don’t take no for an answer lightly;
persistence is definitely their middle name. With all the formalities
completed there comes the dreaded boom at the exit gate where an
apparent official who is not wearing a uniform or carrying any
identity makes a bee line for you. After ten minutes of absurd
demands, un-provable requirements and un-documented regulations, he
finally gets fed up and says: “Oh just give me something and you can
proceed.” Corruption has sadly become the most dominant feature in
Zimbabwean life: everything has got a price and everyone wants their
cut. That this should happen at our border posts, the shop window into
our country, makes us hang our heads in shame.

After a time away from Zimbabwe it is always great to be home but oh
so disappointing that nothing seems to change. There was news of a
brutal attack on a Guruve farm where father and daughter, Malcolm and
Catherine Francis, were left beaten and unconscious and both
subsequently died. Then the tragic news of ten fatalities in yet
another accident involving a minibus. And then, a little light in a
gloomy tunnel, the news that constitutional lawyer, Justice Alfred
Mavedzenge, has filed a High Court application seeking to compel the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to make the voters’ roll public. For
all of us in Zimbabwean it is still unbelievable that we went into the
July 2013 elections without ever having seen the voters roll and even
more unbelievable that it has still not be seen ten months later.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 23rd May 2014.



  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 7 years ago

    Mliswa kaukonde chiyangwa mandiwanzira kasakuwere bonyongwe kaseke brothers joey bimha …we know what u have in common.

  • comment-avatar
    Heighho 7 years ago

    Irresponsible procreation is the leading cause of poverty in Africa. Time to mount major family planning schemes and encourage males to change their perceptions -it really is not smart to father 116 children, duh.

    • comment-avatar
      roving ambassador. 7 years ago

      Its the lack of credible leadership . Zanu must just go.

    • comment-avatar
      Straight Shooter 7 years ago

      That is rubbish. Africa is the continent with one of the smallest populations than any other. Stop being racist.

      Travel through many Africans, you find vast plains, valleys, land that are unhabited, unlike in China India,or Sout America.

      The African Development Bank will tell you that poor logistics in Africa are also a result of highly dispersed populations and the small populations in many Africans are also the reason why its very difficult for Africa to industrialise. It is much easier and cheaper to import goods manufactured elsewhere than producing them locally.

      Get your facts right and stop perpetuating white racist stereotypes of Africa and Africans!!!

      • comment-avatar
        Straight Shooter 7 years ago

        CORRECTION: “Small populations in many African countries”

    • comment-avatar
      Don Cox 7 years ago

      You have this the wrong way round. Poverty is the leading cause of big families.

      As people become more prosperous, family size goes down.

  • comment-avatar
    Nimrod Mupanesengende 7 years ago

    Oi, Cathy!! You seem quite some brave woman. The scene you described of a neighbouring country is quite vivid in my mind and you must be talking about a journey from Mozambique along the N6- Beira to Mutare road. Why not just name the country? And the border post you talked about must no doubt be the Forbes border post outside Mutare. Icho!!!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    publicprotector 7 years ago

    Justice Alfred Mavedzenge, ‘constitutional lawyer’?
    The issue is hard copies are available, he wants the master electronic copy so that he can alter it and commit electoral fraud like all criminals – yet another criminal lawyer out to impress the local dim community.
    What other possible reason would anyone have for wanting the master electronic copy, when they can read the hard copy?

    • comment-avatar
      Zimlover 7 years ago

      Publicprotector, whom or what exactly are you trying to protect? Can you please clarify whom you are referring to with “the local dim community”? Zimbabwean public? Or you’re posting comfortably from Britain or America? Either way, it sounds like a racist insult. You better be careful derogating others like that, it might easily fall back to yourself. But of course being the good guys around here, we’re always willing to assist and enlighten. So lets treat you to a bit of 21st century basic knowledge on IT, electronic files and copies thereof…

      Lesson 1:

      The difference between a digital computer file and a printed physical file, illustrated here at the example of Zim voters roll 2013 (please look at the picture using URL below):

      Task 1:

      You want to verify that your name appears on the 2013 voters roll, exactly once without duplication, at your current location of residence, your data listed and spelled correctly, assuming that you’re neither dead nor dim. Please tick which method is appropriate and time-efficient for the task at hand, in the year 2014:

      [ ] a) Reading the printed copy, a truckload of A3 papers compiled in 1,958 binders weighing well over 2 tons, to find your name between 6.4 Million others (hint: estimate time needed, and potential complications)

      [ ] b) Feeding each A3 page from those 1,958 binders manually into an A4 size document scanner, ask western donors (colonialist pack!) to upgrade your IT hardware installation, then run OCR software (text recognition) on each page to convert the fuzzy image back into computer-searchable text, manually correct a couple of thousand errors resulting from OCR, save as file, then use appropriate software application’s find feature to find your name (hint: estimate time needed, and potential complications).

      [ ] c) According to your rights from Zimbabwean law, ask Mudede (Registrar General) and Rita Makarau (ZEC Chairperson) to provide you with an electronic copy of that computer file which contains the voters roll, i.e. the very file (say an excel spreadsheet) from which they printed the hard copy (as they successfully did, just seconds before all their computers including external backup media suddenly broke down… due to sanctions!!! Imagine!). They can simply copy that computer file onto a medium of their choice (say CD-ROM, USB flash disk, external HDD, or even online publication), for which essentially they have to follow exactly these steps:

      Lesson 2 (how to copy a computer file, e.g. votersroll2013.xls):

      – In file manager, select the file (single left mouse click on votersroll.xls)
      – Press Ctrl+C on keyboard (make sure it’s not Shing Shong and keys are functional)
      – Navigate to target folder (on the CD-Rom, USB flash disk,…, or online), click-click
      – Press Ctrl+V on keyboard – DONE! (File copy successfully created for public consumption and protection against fraud from nikuved voters roll).
      (Should they need help for that 30-seconds procedure, they can ask any mukomana kana musikana kumusha on whatsapp, they know how to copy a computer file…)

      And fwiw, a normal file copy on some physical media or online location will suffice, no need to grant us access to what you call the “electronic master copy”. It’s actually a criminal offence that NIKUV was granted access to that file, because according to AIPPA (chapter 10:27), Part II, section 5.3(a), there are no rights to such information for “a person who is not a citizen of Zimbabwe” (2003 version of AIPPA).

      Publicprotector, can you please enlighten us how (according to your comment) someone could possibly “commit electoral fraud” with a public electronic *copy* of the 2013 voters roll
      – when the original file remains secured on government servers
      – given that the election is over and the supposedly correct results of that alledgedly “free and fair” election are already out?

      What an unfit choice and waste on ZPF’s payroll to send out an obviously IT ignorant (dim?) person like publicprotector into the big wide world of global internet to protect their looting interests in a desperate attempt to mislead the public…

  • comment-avatar

    Who has been the beneficiary of our god given natural resources? Certainly not us. Food for thought.

  • comment-avatar
    Straight Shooter 7 years ago

    As long as:

    2.Gukurahundi tribal political leadership;
    3.Gukurahundi tendencies;
    4.Gukurahundi thinking;
    5.Gukurahundi tribal voting patterns;
    6.Gukurahundi solutions; and
    7.Gukurahundi attitudes subsist – Zimbabwe will never come right.

    You can cry everyday, 24/7, 365 days over the dire situation in that country; it will never make a difference.