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


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“The revolution is eating its own children.”
November 14, 2014, 11:53 am

 

Dear Family and Friends,

When the pilot announces that the plane is entering Zimbabwean air space, your eyes are drawn to the windows.  After living through fourteen years of crisis and land take-overs which have left us importing over 80% of the food we eat, you know what you are undoubtedly going to see from the aeroplane window. In your head you know it’s going to be a painful sight but, for an absurd moment your heart rules and you  search the ground below for anything that may prove you wrong and restore hope.

From horizon to horizon along the plane’s route to Harare, many hundreds of kilometres pass beneath your gaze but there is nothing to see except small scrapes and dusty little plots. There is no green to see,  no sign of young summer crops, no big ploughed fields, no irrigated crops, in fact just  no sign of commercial agriculture on a scale needed to sustain our population of 14 million people.     

Arriving at Harare airport, the first thing you see is the tall conical tower designed like that of the ancient ruins at Great Zimbabwe. Large lettering on the  tower says it all for what lies beyond. Some of the letters have fallen off and the words read: “WELC  ME  TO  IMBABWE.”  As the plane comes to a standstill it  is embarrassing to hear  the comments and sniggers of visitors and you feel yourself lowering your eyes: ashamed of the state of your home country. At passport control there are more comments passed in hushed voices: “Your authorities are so intrusive,” a German man says; “they make you feel like you’ve done something wrong”  another says and your shame deepens and eyes draw ever lower. The animated chatter, laughter and buzz of countries you have just come from is gone in an instant and its back to the land of suspicion, whispers and looking over your shoulder.

Unbelievable things have been happening in Zimbabwe in recent weeks as faction fights within Zanu PF have exploded in the battle to succeed Mr Mugabe when he eventually steps down.  Two main sides have emerged, those supporting  Mrs Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa on one hand and those supporting Mrs Mujuru on the other.  Front page newspaper headlines this week  tell the story in four little words: “Total Chaos in Zanu PF. ” Below the Daily News’ front page headline is a picture of hundreds of Zanu PF supporters  trying to oust their own Zanu PF provincial chairman  from his post  in Marondera town. Eye witnesses described eleven truck loads of strangers to Marondera arriving to bulk up the demonstration. Riot police, tear gas, helmets, shields and baton sticks have become familiar sights in my home town. Its chilling to know that we are now at a time in our crisis when doing simple everyday things like going  shopping  could see you getting caught in the middle of chaos without any warning.   

“The revolution is eating its own children,” is the phrase we are hearing almost every day and through it all our brave, brave journalists keep telling this story and making sense of it all . An editorial in NewsDay  this week concluded with this message we are all trying to heed: “In the meantime the general populace is advised to watch from the periphery as the system implodes.”   

While we wonder why opposition parties are not cashing in on the Zanu PF chaos, we also wonder which way now for Zimbabwe? We are holding our breath, living in hope.  Until the next time, thanks for reading this letter and supporting my books, love cathy.



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