Saturday, May 14, 2005

Cathy Buckle's Letter From Zimbabwe.

Dear Family and Friends,
Some weeks it is hard to know what to write that best describes the events, atmosphere and topic of conversation in Zimbabwe. This week I thought that the subject matter for my letter would be obvious and easy.On Tuesday 62 men who had allegedly been involved in plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea, were due to be released from Chikurubi prison inHarare. They had come to the end of their one year prison sentence and were to be released and then immediately deported to South Africa. Tuesday came and went without the release of the 62 men and the rather vague explanation offered was that the dates has been incorrectly calculated and the release date was actually only on Wednesday. The alleged mercenaries were not released on either Wednesday or Thursday. Trying to follow the story on state owned radio and TV news broadcasts was almost impossible. On one of those days an announcement was made that the 62 men had now completed their prison term and were to be released into the custody of Immigration officials. On the next day, when nothing had happened I determined to watch the main evening Television news to get an update. It was three or four minutes after 8pm when I switched on what is usually an hour long event but it seemed that there was no main evening news that night in Zimbabwe. There was no news at all just a football game. There was no printed crawl line at the bottom of the screen with summarised news highlights, there was just no news at all. I must admit that I had already listened to the news on Short Wave Radio Africa and knew that there was actually quite a lot of news that day including people being arrested in Mabvuku for trying to protest about having no water.By Friday evening the 62 men had still not been released from Chikurubi. Alitany of reasons had been proffered including "logistical problems","security concerns", an immigration official who was "out of town" and finally the statement that the timing of the release and method of transportation that would be used for the deportation, was "classified information."Hey Ho ! This is clearly one story I am not going to tell but all week an image has stayed imprinted in my mind and it has given me cause to smile.One evening the Zimbabwean lawyer involved in defending the 62 mercenaries was shown on a South African television news program. Behind him there was a poster on the wall which read "Don't follow me I'm lost!" How very appropriate. Until next week, with love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 14thMay 2005http://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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