Cathy Buckle is a friend of mine, although we’ve never met.
Cathy is one of the displaced farmers of Zimbabwe, forced off their land by the socialist (Nay, dare I say it? “Communist!”) Robert Mugabe, who was put into power by the direct meddling of Jimmy Carter’s ‘White Guilt” based foreign policy.
Cathy sends these e-mails a couple of times a month, letting us on the outside know how things are going (and deteriorating). This is “Wealth Re-Distribution” in action, at it’s worst and most gluttonous. A cautionary tale of where of Beloved Leader wants us to be, although he won’t say so. A new government reigns there now, and 100 days into the new administration, nothing has changed.
Ringing any bells?
In Cathy’s country she lives in fear of her life every day for letting us know this. Let us hope that is also not in our future . . . although some of my recent blog posts might indicate otherwise.
Saturday 2nd May 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
This month’s municipal accounts are the first printed bills we’ve had from the local council for eight months. The accounts were hand delivered, door to door, post box to post box in residential suburbs. This, believe it or not, is cause for comment!
When a neighbour told me to look in my post box, I laughed and said that was a waste of time because nothing has gone into my home post box for nearly a year. The Post Office doesn’t deliver any letters anymore – who knows why. The bank’s have long since given up sending out statements to their customers and other street delivered items like electricity, telephone and municipal accounts have fallen by the wayside in Zimbabwe’s collapse. It’s been so long since anything’s gone into my post box that I had to use a stick to clear a way through the spiders webs and had to manoeuvre my hand carefully underneath a hanging hornets’ nest. There, lying in the dust and rust was my municipal bill. A couple of hornets flew out and the nest shivered in warning and alarm as I carefully lifted out the piece of paper. No envelope, not stapled closed, not even folded discreetly, the municipal bill may as well as have stayed where it was for the information it contained.
“All charges are in US Dollars and you are expected to pay on time to avoid inconveniences,” it said. The bill itemized municipal charges and included a Fire Levy. This was cause for much heated conversation in the street. “A Fire Levy,” people said, “for what?”. The last time a house burned down in our neighbourhood the fire engine didn’t come, apparently because it was picking up sick people.
Another item on the bill causing rage is that of Public Street Lighting. For three years the street lights in our neighbourhood haven’t worked so you can cross that charge off, everyone is saying. Then there’s the one that makes us all furious: Refuse Removal. It’s been over a year since our garbage has been collected. We burn what we can, because we have no choice, we bury what we can and we accumulate what’s left. Piles of trash lie under trees, on roadsides and dumped on any vacant piece of land.
Water charges on the municipal account are cause for disgust and contempt by residents. As I write this letter we are going into our fourth day without water – not a drop anywhere in the whole town and none are spared, not schools, hospitals, old age homes, industry or residences. The absence of water for days at a time is just one of our nightmares and does not address the issue of raw sewage flowing into the dam our water is being drawn from. Not to mention the levy for the pipeline from the new dam that we’ve been paying for years and yet not a drop does it deliver, in fact the pipe is not yet even laid in the trench dug for it.
Needless to say, no one is paying the ludicrous amounts being charged by the municipality. Charges so high that they amount to three quarters of a civil servants entire monthly wage. Everyone is paying something but only a small token. We have been paying in US dollars for electricity, telephones and municipal services for three months and now its time to receive service.
The new sentiment sweeping over Zimbabwe, at all levels, is: You deliver, we pay. You fix, we pay. You maintain, we pay.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy
Saturday 9th May 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Winter is moving into Zimbabwe and even though the days are shorter, the wind cooler and the temperatures dropping, it is a beautiful time of year. The grass is tall and gold, the cassia and mimosa trees are covered in yellow flowers and the aloes are promising a spectacular display in the weeks to come: their spikes a mass of blooms waiting to open. On the roadsides the white poinsettias are covered in flowers, the Munondo trees are crowned with chocolate pods and in the vleis and wetlands the red hot pokers are a sight to behold.
As our growing season comes to an end and after the good rainy season we’ve had this year, I’d like to be able to tell you that out here in the country areas there is a great bustle of harvesting underway. Sadly that is not the case this May 2009. Roads out of once busy commercial farming areas are stagnantly quiet. All season many of our farms have lain fallow because of no seed, no fertilizer or quite simply no interest from the people who took them over. Zimbabweans travelling east, west, north and south can testify to seeing this same picture of empty fields in all directions.
Thankfully in urban areas the small roadside, suburban plantings (similar to allotments) of maize, beans and sunflowers have done quite well. Maize cobs are lying out to dry on verandahs and roofs in urban areas and this has become a common sight; it is a graphic demonstration of how hunger has infiltrated right into our cities, towns and urban neighbourhoods. This rooftop food is how Zimbabwe’s teachers, nurses and civil servants are going to survive the months ahead – on what they’ve grown on the side of the road.
We are reminded this week that the MDC have been participating in Zimbabwe’s power sharing unity government for a hundred days. Most days its been very hard for ordinary people to see the power sharing as it has had so little effect on our daily lives. Criminals still walk free on our streets; political prisoners are still juggled in and out of detention; chaos continues on farms; water and electricity supplies are pathetic and an undoubtedly fierce battle for real power rages just out of view.
Most people are saying that 100 days is long enough, the honeymoon is over and its time to get down to business. No more delays, stalling, empty ultimatums and promises. We want to see action from this enormous government that we have, real action that will improve our lives and lift us out of the filth and despair that we’ve tolerated for the last decade.
©Copyright cathy buckle 9th May 2009. Reprinted by permission, of course. See more at her website at Zimbabwe News
I agree. One hundred days is long enough, the honeymoon is over and its time to get down to business. No more delays, stalling, empty ultimatums and promises. I agree completely.