Letters (i) 25-5-06

Budiriro turnout consistent
EDITOR - Thanks for the news coverage on Zimbabwe. Concerning the recent by-election in Budiriro, the turn-out of voters is consistent of a by-election in Zimbabwe. People do not worry much about going to vote during a bye election. This does not re

flect the character of voting during a parliamentary or Presidential election where people turn out in their thousands. Come presidential election you will be surprised to see all people leaving their homes early and sacrifice to spent the whole day queuing wanting to cast a vote to remove the ageing dictator. The results are a clear indication that Zanu (PF) maintained it’s support base of about 3000 people and the MDC faction led by Mutambara has no place in the hearts of the people. There was jubilation in Budiriro and Glenview from early Sunday as MDC supporters went around singing in a convoy of cars with MDC stickers, stopping at every shopping centre buying beer for men, but nothing for the mothers and the children. I thought they could have thanked the women also by buying them something, even bread or cool drinks. Later on a truck load of riot police did it’s rounds. I failed to understand it’s purpose. Was it to stop the MDC from celebrating or to maintain peace? But there was no threat to peace. STANFORD, Glenview

Police heavy-handed
EDITOR – Yet again with deep sadness we receive reports of the arrest of close to 200 of our sisters and children in Bulawayo. Their crime is that they are publicly speaking out again on the eve- increasing levels of poverty and its impact on the lives of women and the poor in our country. What concerns us is the criminalization of legitimate forms of protest still available to women. The recent rise in maternity fees means that the majority of women who become pregnant will never afford such fees with the only option being to give birth in unhygienic conditions outside hospitals. The rise in the price of basic food means that women are on a daily basis confronted by hungry children and husbands who they cannot feed. The increases in school fees mean that many women will have to stay at home with children who are unable to attend classes. Women in Zimbabwe live in a very hostile environment. The heavy-handed way in which the police handled the protesting women in Bulawayo only serves to increase the insecurity of many women. We assure our sisters that we are with them in our prayers and that God is on the side of those who struggle for justice. WOMEN TOGETHER in Prayer for Zimbabwe, Harare

Education only for the privileged few
EDITOR – Old missionaries can still tell you stories of how they had to lure children to come and attend school, how especially girls would not be sent to school by parents who considered educating girls was a waste of money “since she was going to get married anyway”. These times are definitely long past. It was a cause of great bitterness in Rhodesian times that black children did not have the same educational opportunities as white children. The opening up of the educational system to all children of whatever background was one of the great achievements of Independence. Schools have just reopened for the second term. The fees have gone up steeply. More and more parents are no longer able to pay, more and more children drop out. Many come to the Church for help and support, a few can be assisted. But the Church does not have the resources to undo the damage government has done to the economy. So far people have “muddled through” however bad the circumstances may have been. Now maybe people do realize that “muddling through” won’t do any longer. The situation is too serious for that. Fundamental change is needed. We are back in a situation of discrimination, not between black and white any more, but between rich and poor. The Minister of Education thinks this problem can be solved by destroying the schools for the affluent: making everybody miserable would create a measure of equality, true. But that helps no one. Especially hard hit are college and university students. Many will just have to interrupt their studies, try and make a living elsewhere and come back when they have found the funds or the general situation has changed completely or both. Parents and children should understand that interrupting education now does not mean the end of education altogether. But the interruption must not be too long. Otherwise some miss the bus altogether. Change must come soon, or else Zimbabwe loses a whole generation. IN TOUCH JESUIT COMMUNICATIONS, Harare

Post published in: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *