Sunday, May 24, 2009



Dear Family and Friends,

As Zimbabwe struggles out of the darkness of a decade of dictatorship
and political mayhem we are beginning to see how hard the return
journey is going to be. And how long. Little snapshots tell the

Two policemen, in uniform and on foot, did a walkabout tour of some
local businesses this week. They want to improve relations, they say,
but need assistance with the basics. They desperately need tyres for
their vehicle and are looking for donations from the public. If you
can't run to tyres then how about typewriters, or paper they ask,
saying they have no stationery.

Typewriters! Can you imagine modern policing being done, not on
computers but typewriters! For a couple of years members of the
public have had to provide their own fingerprint forms, vehicle
clearance forms and even their own affidavit forms when visiting a
police station and then wait endlessly as records are handwritten.
With such problems as pens and paper, it doesn't bear thinking how
long it might take to restore law and order at higher levels, in
regard to things like property rights, human rights and farm

Two well known shops with branches all over the country went into
darkness this week as their electricity supply was disconnected.
Having no tills, computers, lights or other equipment took them back
into the dark ages in a hurry. They had been disconnected for non
payment because the amounts being demanded by ZESA (the electricity
supplier) are in the thousands of US dollars - more than a company's
entire monthly turnover. Similar exorbitant amounts are being charged
by the state controlled fixed line telephone company and everyone is
reeling and then despairing as they are disconnected. It appears that
the electricity and telephone suppliers are trying to recoup 10 years
worth of collapse in just a few months but their greed and speed is
putting business and the rebuilding of the country into a new cycle
of shutdown.

Cause for much excitement this week has been the

availability, suddenly, of telephone lines for mobile phones.

For more than eight years these lines have been non-existent,
available only on the black market. In January this year a line on
the black market cost 135 US dollars.This week phone lines are
available legally for 35 US dollars - still ten times more expensive
than in our neighbouring countries but they are selling like hot
cakes. Oppressive Zanu PF legislation concerning access to
information and the free press has not been repealed but the sudden
boom in phone lines is a dramatic step forward for Zimbabweans who
can now send and receive their own information without the political

Until next time from the land of golden grass, thanks for reading,
love cathy



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