News - July 2008





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A new year message

Chinhoyi Arrests

Moral negligence

Who will be answerable for hungry people?

Under cover of darkness

A night of terror


Human Rights Group under attack

Another farmer attacked

Zim Independant
The Standard
Human Rights Forum
ZW News
Eddie Cross letters The Zimbabwe Situation


Chinhoyi Arrests

Moral negligence

Who will be answerable for hungry people?

Under cover of darkness

A night of terror

Daily News
Zim Independant
The Standard
Financial Gazette
Human Rights Forum
ZW News


NEW - Letters from the diaspora - click here

Gifts are being Given

Sunday 20th July 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
It's hard to believe that almost four months have passed since Zimbabweans voted for an MDC parliamentary majority and gave MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai the most presidential ballots. It's like that day never happened as 16 weeks down the line, the old order remains in place and we are stuck in a state of leadership denial.

It's been a brutal four months that Zimbabwe will never forget. A time when the country's leaders have bombarded us with hate speech, threatened us with war and tried to make us believe that they are immortal and their rule eternal. For the last four months we have been a population in a state of mourning as a litany of horror has become our daily lives: murder, torture, abduction, rape and arson.

And now, after all these weeks of abuse and before the soil has settled over fresh graves, gifts are being given by the same people who threatened war.
Scotch carts, tractors, ploughs and cultivators are being handed out at gatherings where everyone is waving little flags, wearing Zanu PF clothes and dancing for the leaders.

It's hard to fathom that this can possibly be real: that people can be cheering and ululating for farming implements before the tears for the dead are even dry on our faces, before the results of our votes in the March elections have been implemented, let alone accepted.

It seems to be of no consequence that the constitutional deadline for the swearing in of MP's and Senators, the election of the Speaker of the House and Senate and the ceremonial opening of Parliament have all been missed.

As I write this letter the leaves from the Msasa trees are falling thick and fast. They are early this year and the sound of them raining down on the roof gives notice of a new season about to start. The falling of the leaves, like the wishes of the people, cannot be stopped - no matter how many gifts are given.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

I am failing them

Saturday 12th July 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
In the main supermarket in my home town this weekend there were too many empty shelves to count. In the fortnight since Mr Mugabe was sworn in as President for his sixth term, everyday life has gone from struggle to complete crisis. No one is coping now and in the last two weeks virtually all foodstuffs, toiletries and household goods have completely disappeared from stores. On what should have been a busy weekend morning in our once thriving town, the car park was virtually empty and the only things to buy in the cavernous supermarket were cabbages, butternut squash, lemons, fizzy drinks and a few packets of meat.
"Where are all your goods?" I asked one shop attendant.
"There is nothing," he said, "the suppliers say they have nothing to deliver."
I stood while he weighed the butternut squash I had chosen and exclaimed in shock at the 30 billion dollar price sticker he fixed to the vegetable.

"Can I show you something?" the man said and before I could answer he took his most recent pay slip out of his pocket. For an entire month the shop assistant had earned just 28 billion dollars - not even enough to buy one single butternut squash. Eight hours a day, five and half days a week and his entire salary was not enough to provide even one single meal. He told me he had a wife and a child to support and said with remorse and shame in his voice:
"I am failing them and if I do not jump the border to look for work this month then they are surely going to die."

They are simple words stating a simple fact - people are surely going to die here in Zimbabwe if this situation continues for much longer. Despite their desperate determination to stay in power and retain their 28 years of leadership of the country, Zanu PF have so far not even acknowledged the critical shortage of foodstuffs and basic medicines let alone done anything about resolving it.

Everywhere people have stories of such deprivation and suffering to recount and we are a nation in a permanent state of shock. Shock that our lives have been reduced to this. Shock that yet again the UN have been unable to find a common voice. Shocked that the violence and brutality continues and shocked that yet again we are hearing of talks about talks about talks. On the 29th March the MDC won a parliamentary majority, It is long past time for them to be sworn in and take up the reigns and lead Zimbabwe out of this hell.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Simply sit down

Saturday 5th July 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
It is now clear that the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the March 29th elections has been ignored and, as a result we find ourselves in the deepest crisis. Hundreds of people: men, women and children have started arriving at foreign embassies in Harare, begging for temporary refuge and humanitarian assistance. First it was the South African embassy, then the American embassy: crowds of people who are cold, tired, homeless, hungry and frightened and who have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to. They don't shout, scream, protest and demand, instead they simply sit down on the roadside and wait patiently for someone to help them.

Such is the tragic image of our broken, desperate people that even for those of us living here, the ruination of ordinary lives and the suffering that people are enduring is utterly heartbreaking. Everyday holds tears and trauma and the most common phrase in our lives is: "We are in God's hands."

The MDC say that a quarter of a million people have been displaced from their homes since the end of March. It is undoubtable that thousands more have by now fled for our borders and crossed over into Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa - legally and illegally. They have done this to stay alive and unless something happens to change the situation urgently, hundreds of thousands of others will have no choice but to follow the exodus to our borders.

This morning, as I write this letter, hundreds upon hundreds of people are crowded outside banks across the country desperately trying to withdraw their own money. This is because most shops no longer accept cheques and the Governor of the Reserve Bank has limited daily withdrawals per person to one hundred billion dollars. With one hundred billion dollars you can, today only, buy just three single blood pressure tablets. Or, today only, you can buy one copy of a local weekly newspaper and and two small green onions. In my home town, even if you had the money, there is almost no food left to buy. In the week since Mr Mugabe was again sworn in as President, our supermarkets have become emptier than ever. There are no dry staple goods at all, no milk or eggs and no wheat or flour. In my home town the main bakery is closed and we've had no bread for over a fortnight.

This is why hundreds and thousands of people now have no choice but to leave the country. It is truly a most desperate situation and people from all walks of life are in dire need of help - primarily for food and life preserving medicines but also for shelter and protection. We hear the words from abroad and from the AU, the UN and some of our neighbours but we don't need words, we need help and we need it now, literally to save lives.
Until next week, thank you for reading, with love, cathy


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