Still our neighbours are silent

BY LITANY BIRD Dear Family and Friends, Zimbabwe has begun harvesting the results of six years of mismanagement. We are continuing to have a bountiful rainy season and every day the heavens open and wash our troubled land. Streams and rivers are flowing, dams are filling, the vegetation is fl

ourishing but all this water is causing crumbling, decrepit and un-maintained systems to come dangerously close to falling apart.

This week the reports of diarrhoea and cholera have continued and we have seen the most appalling television coverage of foul and filthy piles of sodden and decaying garbage in and around the capital city. We have seen pictures of raw sewage bubbling up out of broken, blocked pipes and have heard reports of tap water with unacceptably high levels of blue green algae. The excuses from the authorities are the same as always – there is no fuel – to collect garbage, transport workers or carry spare parts; and there is no money – to buy fuel on the black market, to buy chemicals for the water or to purchase equipment needed to effect repairs.

Every day in my part of the country this week the electricity has gone off: at first it was two hours, then three, five, six and on Friday for seven hours. A telephone call to ZESA – the electricity supply company- is virtually pointless as all they can tell you is that the power cut is the result of load shedding. They say they don’t know how long the power will be off for and that it is out of their control.

This week there have been growing reports of army worm gobbling up the few crops that are in the ground on Zimbabwe’s farms. Apparently the worm is now in all but one of Zimbabwe’s provinces and is going largely unchecked for the same reason as everything else – no fuel to get to the affected crops and no money to buy the chemicals to spray the worms.

What a diabolical mess we are now in. It is not surprising that over 50 000 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa in the month over Christmas for being illegal immigrants or that each and every day another 400 jump the border into South Africa. I do not know what the figures are for border jumpers into Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana but I know that Zimbabweans are now just desperate to get away from the hunger, disease and dirt – not to mention inflation of 585%.

At the very least our neighbours could say something but still they stay quiet; what shame upon them that they cannot, even now, speak out. Ndini shamwari yenyu.

Post published in: Opinions

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