Zimbabwe: a ghost of its former self
It is disturbing to note that dictators all over the world have
ignored the simple fact that dictatorship as a crude system of
never succeeded. Just where does Mugabe think he is leading
us as a nation.
Why is it that he is refusing to listen to voices of wisdom.
questions form the core of my contribution.
That our country is in
deep social, economic and political crisis is
undebatable. The meltdown of
our economy is due to Mugabe's political
ineptitude which ever way one looks
at it. Politicians make and formulate
economic policies and ministers only
implement those policies. It is sad
that two decades down the line our
economy has all but collapsed. President
Robert Mugabe and his team, all
leaders of the Zanu PF government since
independence, are entirely to blame
for the ills afflicting us.
Like all dictators all over the world,
Mugabe has learnt to muzzle the
media, politicise the police force and the
army. To cap it all, he has
managed to create an atmosphere of patronage to
his party. Mugabe is
effectively minister of everything and only gives orders
to his appointees
who are regarded as ministers of the different ministries.
Above all, Mugabe
has learnt to be the law unto himself.
with these earthly powers, Mugabe has single-handedly destroyed
glorious country rendering it the pariah State that it is today.
today is a mere ghost of its former self.
Corruption in high
places, intolerance of opposing views, arrogance
and selfishness by Zanu PF
hierarchy under the leadership of a now fully
fledged dictatorship have all
seriously contributed to the demise of our
once vibrant economy. With an
inflation rate now hovering around 300 % and
an unemployment rate of over 80
% not to mention the starvation now ravaging
our land threatening to decimate
our population, there is no doubt that we
are headed for
But does Mugabe care? Well, facts on the ground suggest
Faced with an economic challenge such as our situation, why would
leader channel scarce resources to useless youth-reorientation
that benefit no one in the long run except turn the participants
murderers and rapists. Why would a caring leader order his supporters
harass, intimidate, kidnap, torture and even kill those holding a
view from his own.
Why is it that Mugabe refuses to
recognise the MDC as a legal
political party formed by Zimbabweans with a
vision. It is Mugabe's fear of
losing power. He sees the MDC as the demise of
his political career not
withstanding the number of degrees in violence he
claims to have. He cannot
stomach the idea of power in some else's
As the situation stands, Mugabe is prepared to go down with
nation. as long has the title President' remains attached to his name.
welfare of the country is not his priority. His is that of holding on
power at whatever cost to the nation. Scores of other dictators before
have taken this path only to discover, to their eternal chagrin, that
leads to a dead end.
What can no longer be in doubt now is
that Mugabe has to go. He is
supposed to have gone yesterday. He is now a
liability to our country's bid
for social and economic survival. We can not
continue to suffer as a nation
because of one mortal being in the name of
Mugabe. This country is bigger
than any individual and that includes Mugabe
Zimbabwe will still be there, long after Mugabe is
It is also unfortunate that some of us have allowed
ourselves to be
used by Mugabe at the expense of the majority. There are
those among us who
are prepared to cheer Mugabe even as he goes berserk in
destroying our once
glorious country. The Green Bombers, like the Storm
Troopers of the Nazi
Germany in Hitler's days, are prepared to do his bidding
no matter how
destructive to the majority.
All those of this
ilk, be warned that history will judge you harshly
in the not too distant
Mamuse Maunganidze Mlambo
Zimbabweans protest through graffiti
GAGGED Zimbabweans, who are finding it increasingly
openly discuss their opinions on the politics of the country in
to mounting repression by the Zanu PF regime, are resorting to
anger on the walls of many buildings in Harare.
snap survey by The Standard in Harare last week showed that many
walls in the
country's capital had become platforms of airing heaving
Giant graffiti messages inscribed on buildings, roads,
billboards, have become perfect stages to project the telltale
signs of the
country's depressing political and economic
Such features are often placed at "strategic"
locations across the
sprawling city, home to about one and half million
One such message is a bold plaque on an electric cabin
Harare-Bulawayo Road which reads: "Mugabe Zvakwana Chienda!"
(Mugabe we have
suffered enough. Go now!) while the others on near by rock
"Zanu PF Zvakwana. Enough is enough.
Mutembo of Kuwadzana, said of the mushrooming graffiti: "The
writing is on
the wall for Mugabe. He has for long delayed his departure
"The graffiti messages simply mean that even if you try to
people in whatever repressive manners, they will always find
alternative means to air out their views".
Shangwe of Kuwadzana says though the graffiti artists are
they apparently inscribed their messages to vent out
their anger at the way
the country is being run.
He said: "The people who write these
messages are faceless and
nameless but their issues are clearly stated. They
are reflecting the
feelings and anger of the majority of Zimbabweans about
Malaria threat stalks so called new farmers
By Valentine Maponga
ZIMBABWE could be hit by a malaria epidemic in
the former commercial
farms where landless peasants have been resettled
without adequate health
facilities being put in place, it has
The outbreak, which has been detected in most southern
countries, is likely to hit Zimbabwe hardest given the presence of
in some areas that were previously inhabitable for human
Some of these areas fell under the vast conservancies that
aside for wildlife by the former commercial farmers who were kicked
their farms by the Zanu PF government.
As most of the
developed plots were grabbed by cronies of the ruling
peasants were left with no option but to take up the areas
which have no
basic infrastructure such as roads, clinics and schools.
these peasants who may unfortunately be seriously affected by
malaria epidemic. We shudder to think what would happen to
contract malaria in areas which are sometimes up to 50 km from
a health expert in Harare yesterday.
The Southern Africa Malaria
Control Unit has already issued a warning
of looming epidemics in the region
stressing that Zimbabwe was one of the
countries which was going to be hard
hit by malaria.
It warned the Cyclone Japhet-induced heavy rains
and flooding that
occurred between January and March had a potential of
Secretary for the ministry of
Health and Child Welfare, Elizabeth
Xaba, spurned The Standard's questions
about the fate of the resettled
people on farms where there are no health
"I do not talk about such matters over the phone," Xaba
In the past, low-lying areas such as
Zambezi Valley, Chiredzi, Mwenezi
and Muzarabani have been most affected by
These areas are prone to flooding during rain
seasons, which provide
conditions that are favourable for the breeding of the
mosquito, the insect
that transmits malaria.
Zimbabwe flunks democracy test
By our own
ZIMBABWE will fail to meet the common standard.s of democracy
norms of election management that have been drafted by the African
(AU), The Standard has learnt.
Key on the country's major
shortcomings is the silence of Zimbabwe's
1979 Lancaster House Constitution
on the number of terms a head of state
should stand for
This emerged at a conference held in Pretoria, South
to map out clear strategies in promoting dialogue and common
on issues relating to elections, democracy and good governance
The four-day meeting, which was attended by more than
representing African governments, AU representatives, members
of the civic
society and representatives of election management bodies,
national constitutions across the continent should enshrine
clearly stated the number of terms a president is allowed to
"Constitutions and legal frameworks should
determine the tenure and
number of terms that a head of state and government
can stand for
elections," says part of the resolution issued by the AU after
The Zimbabwean constitution does not state the number
of terms a
president can stand for election.
Mugabe has been in power for the past 23 years since
Britain in 1980 amid growing voices of discontent over the
manner that he won
his fifth term last March.
The conference also emphasised the
importance of a fair media during
elections and that the voices of opposition
parties should also be heard in
the public media.
be equitable access to the public media by all parties
election," say part of the AU's resolution.
should allow the media to cover all public meetings
and events and guarantee
the safety of journalists and ensure that coverage
of elections is fair and
The Pretoria conference also called on African
governments to set up
independent election management bodies that are
impartial and transparent.
National constitutions and legal
frameworks should establish
independent election management bodies and
independent institutions that
support and entrench democracy such as a
national human rights commission,
anti-corruption bodies and independent
In Zimbabwe, both the Election Supervisory Commission
Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, are appointed by Mugabe,
suspicion of their fairness and objectivity during election
Delegates at the Pretoria conference implored governments to
all political parties in the designing, administration and
rules for elections through structured
They also agreed that political parties should be
public funds to ensure adequate participation in elections.
Letter received :
No Man is an Island...
reason why I love South Africa (Zimbabwe) is that no-one knows what's going on.
Confusion is the national state of mind. In times of uncertainty, people need
leadership like they need oxygen. Without it, they will perish. So today, how
can you lead someone through the confusion? How can you help somebody deal with
their crisis? How can you shine your light on them? Remember, if you want to
master your fear, help someone else master
- Mike Lipkin -
Whilst flipping through Mike Lipkin's
book, these words jumped out at me with enormous significance! Surely confusion
represents massive challenges for those of us with an appetite for the unknown?
Zimbabweans are desperate for people who can help them to help themselves
through the confusion. However, helping is not quite enough!
Lipkin's quote reminds me
of another wonderful piece of wisdom from a dying professor ...Morrie Schwartz
"Love each other or perish."
So here we are, more confused than
ever before about what our future holds for us in Zimbabwe and times have never
been more uncertain! Pam, a recently returned Zimbabwean who toured Oz and New
Zealand for a few months for a look-see, recently compared our existence here to
that of a free-range chicken as opposed to a battery-reared one .... although
the latter has security, shelter and food supplied in a technologically advanced
clinical system at regular intervals, we are running around freely (with no
restrictions on how or where we can go)searching for food (bread and milk to
mention a few!) dodging the dangerous predators (you know who!). Pam also
decided, like many of us, that she's happier being free-range and living in the
chaos we have come to know and love as Africa!
Rising from all this confusion is
the very real feeling that we are having to start from scratch again as a
community and as a nation. The basic tenets being helping each other and
unconditional love for each other. Never before have we had so many
opportunities to make a difference in so many lives. The smallest gesture of
goodwill leads to the biggest ripples as far as nation-building goes. I gave a
lift to a group of people who had been waiting for a commuter bus for an hour
and a half (this was at 7.30am!) on the side of the road during the stayaway
.... by the time I dropped them off at Chisipite, we had exchanged a number of
serious views on Zim's situation as well as a few laughs. Their gratitude knew
no bounds for my seemingly insignificant gesture ... but we parted ways as
friends and somewhat more enlightened as to just how similar our shared vision
for a new Zimbabwe really is!
All around me on a daily basis this
week, I have met with, and spoken to so many emerging leaders (at all levels in
the social strata) in this confusion. What if, through all the pain, the loss
and the uncertainty, we came to really appreciate all that we had taken for
granted in the past?
What if we reclaimed Zimbabwean
heritage and family social values?What if we recreated new laws and a new moral
and ethical code about which we could feel proud once more? What if the police
and the army could be seen as upholders of the law again and feel pride in the
job and rank that they hold. What if, by going through just about every savagery
and abuse of human rights, we fought harder than we have ever fought in our
lives to make real the dream of a new social standing where we have learned that
above all, our survival depends on the extent to which each of us is prepared to
sacrifice our selfish ways in order to build up the people and the community
Believe, me there are many, many
wonderful, committed people out there both here in Zimbabwe and outside of her
borders doing just that ... and that's why "Our Zimbabwe" will
prevail. Every day brings us closer ... every hour counts ... are we
contributing to nation building or are we wasting all those opportunities? We
are one people, one nation ... every thought, every act gains or takes from
sacred ground ... by reaching out and helping and by unconditionally loving each
other ... let us all build a safe holy place where we can raise our families,
celebrate our friends who constitute our community and proudly call our new
man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and do not send to
know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
- John Donne -
[This story is about a little
wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the
wind and the fresh air - until he notices the other waves in front of him,
crashing against the shore.
"My God, this is terrible,"
the wave says. "Look what's going to happen to me!"
Then along comes another
wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, "Why do you look
The first wave says, "You
don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be
nothing! Isn't it terrible?"
The second wave says, "No,
you don't understand. You're not a wave, you're a part of the
- Prof. Morrie Schwartz
Here's to you, the power of one and
the strength of our emerging new nation!
Letter received :
Sorry I have been out of touch for a
while - please don't think this means we have not been looking after our senior
We have been very active this year,
even though we haven't been shopping. It has been
decided that it does leave us wide open to abuse, which actually spoils the
outing for everyone.
We have, though, arranged several
adoptions and are currently looking for help for a mother and daughter (aged 95
and 60-something) who are living in one of the homes. If you would like to help
please contact me for more details.
We also know of an old guy who is
driving about in his car with very bald tyres. We are looking for 2nd hand 13"
tyres for him, if you can help there.
I have been in touch with a lady in
the states (ex Zimbo) who has arranged 2 adoptions through her church for oldies
living here. This is great, but Im sure there are more of us here
who can support our own community??!
I have also been in contact with a
retired couple in Knysna. They have joined a walking club, and they would like
to help us with money. They are also ex-Zimbabwean. Due to the costs of
telephone calls, I am waiting for them to arrange a email facility, and we will
be able to correspond easier.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a
fund raising function in Jo'burg last month, and we
are hoping that there is going to be a way to receive funds from that function
for the Zim (they call them ZOPS!) pensioners.
I found all the South Africans at the
event to be most concerned about our oldies, and very willing to help. I hope
that opens doors for us - maybe even in commodities, if not cash. I thank them
once again - even if I cant say too much - for their hospitality and caring. If
there is anyone who might be able to make a plan here, please contact me.
We are still to arrange our lunchtime
get together at Hot Rock, and hope Ralph still has that wine for us! We will
arrange this with the owner of Hot Rock, and let you know.
I was at a business function a few
weeks ago, and was given nearly a whole pig, that was left over from the day,
for the old folks. This was taken to the Dorothy Duncan Home. They were
delighted, thank you Rod and Mike. (Please see attached photo)
We sent out Chocolates for Easter
(and for "just because") to many of the homes, as well as some Avo's from our
tree at home. The chocolate stash is nearly
finished, and I dont have any "oldies money" at all - if you would like to
contribute, in cash or goods, please contact me.
We spend a lovely evening at the Moth
Cottages playing darts with the pensioners there. We were made to feel very
welcome, and I hope we made a small difference to their lives. We were quite
"chatted out" by the time we got home! Of course your company will always be
well received if you cant afford to give anything else.
We were invited to a lunch at the
Blue Kerry Home, where we were shown all around the cottages and the High Care
unit - they really have a super place there. We have adopted one of their
residents recently, and hope to be able to do more to help the folk living
Well, hope this brings
everyone up to date about whats been happening, please dont forget
about these old people - they really need us... now
more than ever,
At the Opening Ceremony of HIFA today, Henry
Olonga's "Our Zimbabwe" was sung most beautifully - what a wonderful tribute to
him! And to all the others who have suffered to make our dream of Our Zimbabwe
come true. Quite a few tears were shed, as we remembered.
Let us complete the change...for their sakes, as
well as our own.