A Tidal Wave of Destruction and Misery
When operation "Murambatsvina" was at its height, I was walking through
bus depot in a small regional town looking at the devastation - about
small businesses had been destroyed that morning and behind me was the
astonishing sight of police, assisted by home owners, destroying
accommodation. As I walked back to where my vehicle was parked two
spoke to me from the side of the road "this is a Zanu Tsunami" they
A Zanu PF Tsunami! Looking back on the past 6 years, we could say that
the whole sorry story of Zimbabwe. After 20 years of independence and
decades of promise, the leaders who have controlled this country since
have simply destroyed not only what they achieved in the first decade
their government but at least 30 to 40 years of hard work before they
over. The achievements of the past are still there - monuments to what
of people our forefathers were, modern cities, tall buildings, a
network of infrastructure that would do a more developed State proud.
inside this historical fašade, the factories are silent and many people
What is more astonishing is that this whole sorry tale was a deliberate
planned exercise in self destruction, carried out with savage
determination by educated and sophisticated men and women. One could
same thing about the "Great Leap Forward" in China under Mao, or the
globally destructive swathe of German aggression in the 30's and 40's.
is the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials at which the Nazi
responsible for the physical destruction of Europe and perhaps 60
deaths - the deaths of a whole generation of young men in the Soviet
central Europe and millions of others from other continents. Looking at
row of men in an Allied Court it was difficult to understand how such
could have done such things to their own people and to others. But they
Under the leadership of Robert Mugabe, a team of men and women, many of
holding PhD's from reputable Universities in the West, have almost
commercial agriculture, created near perfect conditions for the spread
HIV/Aids, destroyed much of the medical and educational system that at
stage delivered the best social services of this kind in Africa. They
overseen the largest and most continuous fall in national economic
any country in the world, they have reduced exports to the stage where
can no longer sustain our economy or pay our bills.
In social terms we now have one of the highest rates of maternal and
mortality in the world. This means that if you were born in this
today - your mother would have a 1 in 7 chance of dying in the process
giving you birth and then you would face a new world where your own
of survival were 50/50. We have seen the flight of millions of our
other countries, airlines fly full every day from Harare airport and
half empty. The Limpopo River has become a broad road to Egoli and a
desperate life in the slums of South Africa.
Our children attend school hungry and when they are there they try to
in classrooms without windows, sometimes even roofs, no school books,
chalk, with teachers so badly paid and poorly motivated that they do
give a damn if the kids pass or fail. Children are sitting exams after
years of schooling and achieving pass rates of 2 or 3 percent at some
Schools. We note in business, a rapid decline in the standard of
in the average school leaver. Neither functionally literate nor
many school leavers are little use in a factory or retail environment.
We are a nation of professional mourners - we attend the funerals of
and friends every week. Sometimes the stories are just devastating -
past week I know of one young man whose wife was discharged by a
Hospital with cancer of the stomach. The hospital could do nothing for
and told the young husband to take her home to die. He carried her from
hospital to the nearby roadside and begged a lift in a long haul truck,
then he carried her from the road to his rural home some 15 kilometers
the main road. It was over 40 Celsius in the shade at the time; the
two children. To hire a car to take her 200 kilometers to her home
have cost the young man Z$9 million. An impossible sum for them today.
Over 80 per cent of our basic foods are now imported, half our
requires food aid and tens of thousands are sick with tuberculosis,
and other Aids related diseases. With prices doubling ever three months
incomes shrinking in line with the economy and the declining value of
money we earn, life has become a nightmare for the average person here.
cannot feed our babies with the food they need, our children go to
hungry or hang around the homestead because we cannot pay the school
and our hospitals are mortuaries where underpaid nurses and doctors
with few drugs and little else.
And then, because Zanu PF perceived that the urban poor in the informal
sector were a continuing threat, they launched operation Murambatsvina
during which they destroyed a million small businesses, perhaps 300 000
homes and displaced a third of the total urban population who are now
homeless, destitute and even more desperate. And when the American
Ambassador gets his staff to prepare a detailed stark summary of all
destruction, he is vilified in the press, told to "go to hell" and
threatened with expulsion - pure political intimidation. But he was
speak out and we ask, "Where are the others".
Instead of threatening Mugabe and his cronies with another Nuremberg
for their gross violations of our human and political rights, the UN
with these thugs for permission to feed our people and house our
It's an absolute disgrace and a complete travesty of everything the UN
stands for in the world today. All those associated with this sham and
abdication of responsibility should be ashamed of themselves.
After 1945, we never thought the United Nations would allow it to
again - but we did not understand, the determination of those in charge
there only applies to their own essential interests and not those of
poor in places like Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo, 20th November 2005