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


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Beer puddles
April 3, 2011, 8:06 am

 

Dear Family and Friends,

They say that good things come in threes and despite all the bad news about Zimbabwe, a few flickering lights have given cause for hope recently.

A few days ago, good news came for a couple of hundred villagers living near a main highway, when a passing beer truck lost its load. Rounding a bend on the main road in the east of the country I came across an accident which must have happened just a few minutes before. A large truck loaded to its maximum height with crates of Chibuku beer had lost at least half of its cargo on the tarmac at the foot of a hill. The brown plastic beer containers, known here as Scuds, had rolled out of dozens of blue plastic crates and were lying all over the road. Many of the Scuds had burst and spilled their contents and the tarmac was running with beer, sticky pools of the thick, cloudy beer forming puddles in the steep eroded cut-offs on the edge of the tar. Some of the crates must have shattered on impact and shards of blue plastic decorated what was rapidly turning into a frenzy in front of my eyes. From out of the bush in all directions people came running: men, women and teenagers. They raced out into the road without even a glance for approaching traffic and feverishly gathered up undamaged Scuds and ran away with them. Some of the more adventurous people were cupping their hands and literally drinking from the beer puddles on the road, while others used tins and empty bottles to snatch a few mouthfuls. Stepping hard on my brakes to avoid hitting any of the manic beer collectors, I slowed as I passed the truck driver; the look in his eyes said it all: despair and a hopeless acceptance that he wouldn’t be able to save much of his cargo. Nearly four hours later, on my return journey, I was astonished to see the beer truck still stranded on the side of the highway. His now empty blue crates had been reloaded and tied down, watched by a sizeable crowd of very merry spectators. Four women came running out of the bush carrying empty twenty litre containers, heading for a spot under a tree where decanting of looted Scuds seemed to be taking place. A great roar of approval went up at their arrival from a crowd of a hundred or more people who stood, sat and danced in the long grass on the roadside. The unexpected party on the roadside made me think of other good news that has given us cause to smile and cheer recently. 

Very good news came for democracy in Zimbabwe when the MDC’s Lovemore Moyo was re-elected Speaker of the House of Assembly.  After being removed from a post he had held for two and a half years by a Supreme Court ruling because his original election had been procedurally flawed, Lovemore Moyo was again chosen by MP’s for the critically important position. The result came in at 105 votes to 93 and has left Zanu PF in an angry tizz as they hunt for which three of their own MP’s` had obviously voted for Lovemore Moyo. Speaking to his ZANU PF committee members a couple of days later, Mr Mugabe said about the mystery voters: “Let us correct ourselves…. They are wrong in being members of our party.”

The last piece of good news came at the end of the recent SADC meeting in Zambia. The summit's final communiqué read in part: “There must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of the GPA." Back in Harare Mr Mugabe was quoted as saying in response to SADC: “We will not brook dictation from any source. We will resist interference from any source, even from our neighbours,”  

So SADC, will you be giving us reason for beer drinking on the roadside? Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.



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