Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cathy's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,

For six months we have not had a drop of rain in Zimbabwe and now, as we
wait for the first thunderstorm, the atmosphere is exceedingly strained.
Daytime temperatures are way up in the thirties Centigrade and the skies
are mostly clear and still. During the day we battle with flies which seem
to be everywhere and at night the mosquitoes whine and wheedle
incessantly. The mozzies, as we call them, are very bad already, even
before the rains have started, and they are going mostly unchecked as even
a simple tin of insecticide is now over quarter a million of dollars and a
luxury that few people can afford.

In Marondera this week we've gone two days without water, one day without
electricity and every day without petrol and yet, amazingly enough, we
muddle through one day after another. I have found it almost unbearable to
watch and follow Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition
have lost their way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on
squabbling over the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves
said was not wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population
stretched way beyond the limits. Night after night state owned television
have announced with growing glee that that "the rift in the MDC is
widening" and have shown opposition party officials issuing opposing
statements and publicly contradicting each other. For six years we have
seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on national television but
this week the film footage has been incessant as the ruling party have
gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mr Mugabe calls "that irrelevant

I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to
their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the
rapes, arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered
our lives for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of
them are happy and contented that their families are spread out all over
the world, in political and financial exile. I cannot believe that any one
of them will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel good
about earning a living as a Senator. It will be a living that ordinary
people are dying, literally, to give them. I cannot believe that any of
the MDC leaders, even one of them, think that these elections will be
different - clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent. Multiple
hundreds of thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either
through forced removal from their homes and constituencies through one
government policy or another or by having been declared aliens in the
country of their birth.

On Friday Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on ZBC TV that people
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina would not be eligible to vote unless
they had re-registered in their new constituencies. This announcement was
followed shortly afterwards by an advert advising that voter registration
would close just 48 hours later on Sunday.

And so, while it is agonising to watch the MDC tear themselves apart,
ordinary people are left feeling betrayed and bereft and asking why we
have all endured so much, suffered so much and lost so much. Certainly not
to become part of the gravy train. We are waiting for the rain in
Zimbabwe, and for democracy and an end to oppression, unemployment, hunger
and soaring inflation. Until next week, love cathy
Copyright cathy buckle 22 October 2005. "African Tears" and
"Beyond Tears" are available from:


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