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African Tears Beyond Tears Innocent Victims Imire Can you hear the drums, by Cathy Buckle


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Look out of any window
June 8, 2013, 9:16 am

 

Dear Family and Friends,

For thirteen years Zimbabwe has been struggling for a free, fair and transparent election. Since February 2000 everything about elections has been about fear; about running, hiding, beating and brutality. Repeated electoral outcomes have been seriously questioned and now it’s almost that time again. As we approach another election most of us have a lump of cement in the pit of our stomachs and it grows heavier by the day.

An absurd situation overtook us in the last week which left the Supreme Court ruling that elections must be held by the 31st July. The only people happy with the ruling are Zanu PF. No one else is ready. Electoral reforms have not been undertaken and new legislation needed has not been presented to parliament. The new Constitution has only just been signed into law and by adhering to the Supreme Court ruling to hold election by July 31st, sections of the new constitution will have to be breached – before the ink on the new charter is even dry.

Dramatic newspaper headlines in recent days announced that a ‘grand coalition’ had been formed to oppose the holding of elections by the 31st of July. While the leadership and lawyers battle it out and again the region gets dragged into another round of  Zimbabwe’s arguments, everything in the country is shuddering to a standstill.

In recent days the shocking facts about the national winter wheat crop were revealed in the press. The last date for planting winter wheat is  around the 10th of May with the deadline being the 25th May. By the end of the first week of  June 2013 only two thousand hectares of land had been planted to winter wheat this season.  This is half the hectarage that was planted last year. Allowing a yield of three tonnes a hectare, Zimbabwe has only planted enough wheat to produce six thousand tonnes of grain this year. In a country that consumes 450,000 tonnes of wheat a year, we are set to produce enough wheat to last the country just one week.

So while the national leadership argues about elections, fights over dates and trips backwards and forwards to SADC and the AU, we again look out the window and ask just one question: where’s the food going to come from? Any number of land reform apologists can produce any number of books on the apparent success of Zanu PF’s land seizure policy but the fact of the matter is clear for all to see. Look out of any window, travel down any road, go into any supermarket: it’s not Zimbabwean food that we are eating because we just aren’t growing our own food anymore.   Until next time and  to so many people who have been reading this letter for so long, thank you. Love cathy



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