What World Cup?

Dear Family and Friends,
While the eyes of the world are on South Africa as it hosts the 2010 World Cup Football games, we are sitting here next door shivering in the dark and the cold.

For the past four months we’ve been experiencing 16 hour a day power cuts, only having electricity in the middle of the night. All our protestations have been met with assurances that these cuts were to enable vital maintenance which in turn would allow for uninterrupted power during the World Cup Football Games. That has turned out to be a myth.

In my home area first we missed the excitement prior to the concert at the Soweto stadium, then we missed the official opening of the World Cup games, then, to top it all off, we missed the first match between South Africa and Mexico. When the electricity did finally come on, after everything was over, we were more concerned about the essentials of life than about football. Essentials like a hot meal – the first for days, washing and ironing, charging telephones and batteries and catching up on the news.

With the world’s cameras just a few hundred km away over the border, and the great spectacle of extravagance being unfolded in South Africa, its hard to believe the dark ages events taking place in Zimbabwe. Behind the football smokescreen an MDC MP was arrested and spent days in police custody for giving out donated vitamins, dietary supplements and common aspirin tablets. This comes shortly before the long awaited and very overdue constitutional outreach programme begins, a programme in which this MP has been heavily involved.

Also lost in the football smoke is Farai Maguwa, a researcher into human rights violations at the Marange diamond fields who was arrested, denied bail and has remained in custody for the second week. This comes days before Zimbabwe again tries to get Kimberley Process approval to sell diamonds. We wonder if any of the international camera crews might cross the border and report on the new wave of farm seizures in many parts of the country. In the past week 16 commercial farmers who had court orders protecting them have come under renewed eviction attempts.

This is happening at a time when the Commercial Farmers Union have said that Zimbabwe is set to record its lowest ever wheat output of about 10 000 tonnes. To put this into context, Zimbabwe used to produce between 250 and 300 thousand tons of wheat prior to land invasions. Zimbabwe will need to import up to 400 thousand tonnes of wheat in the coming year in order to meet national requirements.

Finally, the last puff in the smoke cloud obscuring Zimbabwe from international attention, comes the news that our leaders are again to call for mediation to settle outstanding issues in their power sharing agreement. Still no governors, no deputy minister of agriculture, no resolution on unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General. The JOC still rules supreme. Most people agree that this is all now a waste of time and that we should proceed with a new constitution and elections and stop all this stalling. Until next week, thanks for reading, Ndini shamwari yenyu.

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