Saturday, April 16, 2005

Cathy's latest letter

Dear Family and Friends,
On lamp posts, telephone poles, street signs, walls and trees in Marondera town, the tattered remnants of Zimbabwe's election have not been cleared away a fortnight after the event. Ninety nine percent of the posters advertise the ruling party and say: "We are proud to be Zimbabweans on our land" but to the hundreds of unemployed young men who sit on walls and pavements around the town, the words offer no comfort. For two days this week large parts of Marondera town have had no water or just an explosive air lock followed by a rusty trickle and it has become common to see women walking with 20 litre plastic drums on their heads going to find water so that they can cook food, wash clothes and keep their children clean. I am sure that these women draw little comfort from the incessant propaganda about "our land". Urban women, living in towns like Marondera with a population of almost a million people, suddenly find themselves having to revert to practices common to their mothers and grandmothers who lived in remote rural areas of the country. It is a sad indictment of a country which celebrates 25 years of independence this week. A fortnight after the election there is no maize meal, sugar, salt or eggs in Marondera's shops so there can't be many mums and housewives getting solace from the posters about "our land." For a brief moment there was a little buzz of interest this week at the opening of parliament. That excitement didn't last long though because the House opened and even though some of the Zanu PF MP's had lost their constituencies in the election, they regained their places when they were appointed by the President using his 30 reserved parliamentary seats. The House opened, the MP's were sworn in and then, with one swift "The Ayes have it", Parliament was adjourned to the 28th of June - a long two months away. President Mugabe announced his new Cabinet this week and that too has almost no changes, offers no inspiration and promises yet more of the same. Even the Minister of Agriculture who hasn't been able to secure food for the people for the last four years is still warming the same seat in Zimbabwe's sixth parliament. Perhaps the only thing that really caused a stir this week was the news that six new fighter jets have arrived in the country - in defence of "our land" no doubt. Until next time, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle16th April 2005 http://africantears.netfirms.comMy books "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from:orders@africabookcentre.com ; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ;in Australia and New Zealand: johnmreed@johnreedbooks.com.au ; Africa: www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com

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