Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cathy Buckle's Weekly Letter from Zimbabwe !


5th September, 2009.

Dear Family and Friends,

Zimbabwe is breathtakingly beautiful this spring. Everyone is talking
about the spectacular colours of the new leaves on the trees. Perhaps
its because we are all just so utterly worn out after a decade of
decay and horror or maybe we are finally allowing ourselves to see
beauty again and begin feeling hopeful about the times ahead. One
friend who is back in the country for a month after having spent 3
years in exile in the Diaspora, said that just sitting under the
Msasa trees was enough to decide her.

'I'm coming home,' she said.

The wide blue sky and warm sun, the open spaces and rugged beauty and
the calls of hoopoes, sparrowhawks and bulbuls is enough to weaken the
hardest of Zimbabwean hearts.

Coming home will not be easy. The flush of saved money doesn't go far
in these times when every American dollar that we have buys food and
pays bills with nothing left over for the other essentials necessary
for life and health. It will not be easy learning to negotiate the
flood tide of officials in every government department and building
who want, need, demand, a bribe in order to do their job. For many
who come home it will be a bitter pill seeing the evil still walking
free amongst us: the men (and women) who beat, burnt, raped and
murdered us and our families, friends and relations this last decade.
Perhaps hardest of all for people coming home from democratic
countries will be accepting that lawlessness still exists depending
on your political affiliations and that mayhem and thuggery continues
in farming areas where "land" is still used as a smokescreen for
theft, looting, arson and murder.

Events of this week are likely to put paid to thoughts and plans of
coming home for many Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Hardly had the fire
died down and the ash settled from the suspicious fires which
destroyed the farms and homes of Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell when
yet more dire news came. These two farmers who have endured so much
and fought so hard for their legal rights - and who have won their
cases in Zimbabwean and SADC courts are now bereft. The farmers and
their farm workers and all of their families have lost everything -
homes, jobs and futures. Listening to Ben Freeth talking on an
independent radio programme this week, the tears filled my eyes.

"I told my workers I'll be back. I promised them we'd rebuild,"
Freeth said.

They are words that many thousands of commercial farmers have said to
their faithful and loyal employees as they've been evicted,
dispossessed and lost everything this last decade. Promises that
farmers have been unable to keep as Zanu PF have changed laws,
amended the constitution and disregarded rulings made by their own
courts. This week legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa

hammered in the last nail. Zimbabwe, he said, will no longer appear
in front of the regional SADC courts, will not recognise their
rulings or respond to any actions or suits instituted by the SADC

As beautiful as Zimbabwe is this spring we are still a long way from
being free of the clique who cling to power and fill their pockets.
But, as every day passes, we are closer to the day when this arranged
marriage of inconvenience can be over and we can hold free, fair and
democratic elections and start again.

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy



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