Letters 24-08-06

Letters from home

Money on the mooove

BY LITANY BIRD
Dear Family and Friends,
In the dying days of Zimbabwe's old Bearer Cheques which have served as money, but are not really money, the change over has been messy, confusing and in many cases downright unfair. Regardless


of the pronouncement by the Reserve Bank Governor that the old money would remain valid until August 21, many establishments stopped accepting it almost a week before the cut off date. Shops and companies that were still accepting the old notes, did not have any new notes and therefore either couldn’t give you any change at all or gave you back old notes. As the cut off date drew closer there was less and less new money in circulation and everywhere people were desperately trying to get rid of old money. There was a double page, high gloss, pull out advert printed in three languages in the press which said: “Zero To Hero, let the hero rise in all of us.” Then followed all sorts of smart subheadings in shiny blue, pink, orange and green boxes which answered all the questions people may have about the new bearers cheques. It told us how to write cheques, how to pay bills and how to round up or down figures when converting to the new Bearer Cheques. (Yeah right, as if anything, of any description is ever rounded down in the country with the highest inflation in the world!) At the bottom of the page was a picture of a nifty little white pick up truck. “Mobile Cash Swap Team” it said, “Coming to a town near you. Bearing good news.” And written underneath the truck in purple print: “Money on the mooove!”
After reading the advert you sort of feel encouraged and think OK, this all looks smart, efficient and professional. For a moment you forget the body and vehicle searches for “illegal money” that are going on at the endless roadblocks all over the country. You forget the queues out of the doors of the banks as people still try and deposit box loads of old money and you forget the fact that the electricity is off again and there’s still no fuel to buy – even if you could afford it. Of course, the more you look for the nifty little Money On The Moove, mobile cash swap team truck, the more elusive it becomes and you are left wondering if in fact it ever existed at all. Three days before the deadline I took myself off to the supermarket to spend the last of my old money. I had Z$1.8 million . Just six years ago I could have bought a four-year-old Mercedes Benz 250D car with all the extras and in immaculate condition for Z$1.8 million. I wandered around the supermarket doing mental maths in my head, and in the end settled on a packet of salt, a box of custard powder and 20 plastic clothes pegs.
Standing in the line to pay, it was obvious everyone was doing the same as me – buying little things to get rid of the last of the money. The woman in front of me had a packet of soup, a bar of soap and a jar of peanut butter. Her bill came to Z$1,7 million and – she only had a million. I gave her 70 thousand out of my purse, she clapped in thanks and the man in line behind me said: “Good, thanks sister, I’ll help you if yours is short! ” Then the man behind him said “and I’ll help you!” This is the real face of Zimbabwe and this is what makes our country so special. Ndini shamwari yenyu.

Master of propaganda
EDITOR – Our evaluation of the president’s speech at the recent parliament opening, served as anther testimony to the quasi-religious cult Zanu (PF) has become, and enhanced our understanding of this ideology known as Zanu-ism. The religious element is seen as crucial to the practice and perception of propaganda. The harsh reality is that Mugabe is highly intellectual and has mastered the art of propaganda. His speeches demonstrate the art of deception used to create the ultimate illusion persuading Zimbabweans and specific African nations to value Zanu (PF) as the defender of Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and Africa’s fight against imperialism. Facing extreme political and economical hardships, it’s clear that it’s now difficult, for the Mugabe regime to oppress the Zimbabwean people. But Mugabe’s Harry Houdini master of illusion days are numbered. No amount of persuasion or hoodwinking is going to delude the Zimbabweans and the African community that the current situation is one that can be turned round by the introduction of NEDPP or Dr Gideon Gono unveiling of a youth friendly fund through the National Small and Medium Enterprises Development Support Programme. Not only are young Zimbabweans engaged in a war with a regime with misleading values but we are also at war with the African union (AU) for failing to uphold its own Charter and take responsibility on the Zimbabwean situation. By so doing, the AU legitimizes the Mugabe regime’s policies, prolongs the suffering of the Zimbabwean people and compromises prosperity of democracy in the region. Young Zimbabweans realize that propaganda is a tool of exclusion from the international community and it has also robbed us of our culture and history.
WELLINGTON CHIBANGUZA, Free-ZimYouth, UK

Leadership to blame for prison suffering
EDITOR-My heart sank as I read an article in your ever-increasingly popular paper about the conditions in Zimbabwe’s prisons. Of particular concern to me was the reported suffering of innocent children who are there because their mothers are convicts. The extended family concept, fast disappearing due to the chronic economic meltdown, is forcing convicted mothers to save time with their children in the harsh prison environment. I shudder to imagine the traumatic effects of such an experience to this young ones who being denied a separate allocation of food (a basic human right), have to make do with the paltry rations given their mothers, only enjoying meat and beans on national holidays! In addition these poor souls are exposed to contagious diseases prevalent in prisons like tuberculosis. I also believe they are exposed to possible sexual abuse, yet we are supposed to have a functional Social Services System protecting them. I do not blame the Dept of Social Welfare as they have to make do with very limited resources. My blame lies on the gullible leadership that gobbles any little money our economy generates, and oft times get their priorities wrong. Enough is enough, the current leadership has dismally failed and the sooner they are condemned to the political dustbin, the better for the nation. C. NGAIRONGWE, UK

Five years on
EDITOR – Five years ago a primary school teacher on our farm wrote this letter. I was amazing reading it again five years later! “The Provincial Ministers are now doing wrong.
a) they give the power to land invaders and by so dong they mislead the laws.
b) They give power to land invaders to disturb production of the country.
c) They disturb people working in white men’s farms and also disturb their families forgetting to know that they may otherwise become prime ministers of tomorrow.
d) They are training young generation theft.
e) They train lazyness to the country.
f) They run for (fast track) motions. Stealing to become rich fast. Inhuman and lack of civilization.
The out of jobs club are disturbing farmers because they are paid by the Provincial Ministers, but they forget to know they are doing temporary duties. Very soon now things will change and there will be nowhere to run and hide themselves. The land invaders will suffer more than they are doing to us. Let’s hope that God will be with us. Pindukayi.”

Canada condemned
EDITOR – We of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Canada, want to condemn unreservedly the recent invitation and permission for entry into Canada of Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi. Canada is fully aware that Mugabe government is responsible for failure to run the economy and massive human rights abuses. We urge the Canadian authorities not to be flip-flopping on the issue of sanctions, but to remain resolved unchangeably. Mubengegwi should be asked to go home and rectify the elections’ rigging, so as to speed Zanu (PF)’s political demise.
The Zanu (PF)government is criminal because of its abuse of the little medicines which are supposed to be accessed by the public on aids. She instead uses the drugs upon the elite of the society, making colossal profits out of people. We are hurting that the same people who oppress others in Zimbabwe, have free rides on the tax payers’ money to come and have holidays abroad under the pretext of attending an HIV/AIDS conference. That Zimbabwe top Zanu (PF) officials are banned from entering Canada should be policed with all seriousness. We will petition Prime Minister Stephen Harper on this issue to avoid future and similar accidents. ANDREW MANYEVERE, Toronto

Where is spirit of Ubuntu?
EDITOR – I would like to urge all Zimbabweans living in foreign countries to behave them selves and respect the laws of the particular countries that are hosting them. Disrespect and crime has never been a part of our culture. To those committing armed robberies in South Africa – please spare those old grandpas and other Zimbabweans who are working here so that children and parents who are back home can survive. As it is right now, innocent people are in trouble with the SA authorities because of your evil doings. How many are you and how many people should suffer and die while you are enjoying the fruits of crime? I beg every Zimbabwean to refrain from any form of crime and integrate with local communities to sustain a sweet environment. Come on guys lets make our selves and country proud. We still have a life back home, why do you want to loose the spirit of UBUNTU?
BONGANI NQOBIZITHA MPOFU, S Africa

Preparing to build
EDITOR – I would like to encourage all those who love Zimbabwe to know that even though feel that we are drowning and fear for our lives spiritually and physically. Just as in Mark 4 v35-41 Jesus is with us.
“Lord don’t you care if we perish?” we cry piteously. We no longer feel we are masters of our own destiny and our plans and hopes for the future are continually frustrated. But He is preparing for us to enter our own destiny as a nation – where we will take our eyes off our own problems and fears and have our eyes and ears opened to reveal the incredibly awesome power of God in His dealings with us.
The time of Joseph is upon us. Even when he was suffering in the pit and could see nothing but his pain, and rejection, His Father God was preparing him to rule His way. This is the time that Kingdom trading and administration will come into being. We will reap the fruit of training and discipline we have been through. The inner life we have built within ourselves in Jesus Christ, in order to cope even when things are falling apart around us, will prevail. These years training in faith training in steadfastness and faithfulness and Training in the Word will be the tools He uses to build His Kingdom in Zimbabwe.
ABBY JAMES, Harare

Organised legal theft
EDITOR – As I drove past VID the other day there was a police road block and three uniformed cops in a huddle counting fists full of money! At a place of business I visited a bit later, the owner said the employees had had their money confiscated by the “cops” and given a “receipt” and told they could collect it in new money in two years time! Organised legalised theft. And the poor people who are the worst off are the ones no doubt taking the most flak.
THE WITNESS, Harare

SADC has lost its way
EDITOR – We believe that SADC has lost its original objectives and has just become another talk shop. We attended the recent summit in Maseru as civic organisations to try and force SADC to conform to the original reasons it was formed – a child born from the Frontline States which saw the whole region attain independence. We wish to acknowledge the abuse of SADC by our leaders by joining many other civic organisations from the region who criticise the manner the organisation is operating. We want a people-oriented SADC and not cheap politicking organisation busy justifying tyranny.
-The movement has become too bureaucratic in its structures.
-When decisions are made, there are no consultations with the people.
-They talk of business programmes which benefit only the big fat cat political leaders
-No one monitors the formulated policies
-SADC has become a platform for dictatorships.
Remember this – As civic organisations we represent a large constituency and our voices are the voices of the people, and as we march in the streets of Maseru we represent 200 million people.
Jay Jay Sibanda, CONCERNED ZIMBABWEANS ABROAD; Jozi

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