Zimbabwe: where to begin?

A correspondent in Zimbabwe, a social worker, writes:

"A power-sharing deal between the MDC and Zanu PF has been agreed. This is not what Zimbabweans voted for but it seems we must make the best of it if we are to save the country from complete ruin. The very people who designed and implemented the nine-year collapse of Zimbabwe will now sit  alongside the victims of their ruinous policies.


What should be top of the agenda?

Should it be electricity? Supplies are down to six or less hours a day in most places. Businesses, manufacturing and industry are close to  collapse. Schools, hospitals and institutions are barely functional.

Should it be water? Supplies to urban, residential and industrial areas are down to two hours a day in most places and non-existent in others. Cholera and other water-borne disease are commonplace.

Should it be food? Shops are empty of all basic goods and individuals have resorted to importing their own supplies in order to survive. Food growing on seized farms is negligible and in most cases barely enough to feed one or two families. Almost half the population will need international food aid by Christmas.

Should it be money? Bank queues run into thousands as the Reserve Bank Governor restricts daily withdrawals to the current equivalent of just 2 British pence [about 3 cents] per customer. Without access to their own money people cannot buy food or medicines or pay their bills.

Should it be health? Hospitals have no drugs, equipment, food, linen or staff. Pharmacies increase their prices at least once every day and people are dying for lack of basic life-sustaining medication.

Should it be education? Teachers earn less than street cleaners and so they are always on strike. Pupils have no books. Parents cannot afford school and examination fees, uniforms or even food for their children.

Should it be land and the environment? Restoring property rights and Title Deeds? Controlling gold panning, diamond digging, tree cutting, poaching, streambank and roadside cultivation and fires?

Perhaps it should be repealing legislation which has destroyed freedom ofspeech, movement and association through laws which have turned born-and-bred Zimbabweans into aliens.

My own favorites will be top of the agenda: law and order and accountability.

Until Zimbabwe’s police stop saying, ’It is political’ and start arresting people who break the law regardless of their political affiliations, we can surely not move forward. So too the people who raped, murdered, burned, looted, tortured, stole and incited others to do likewise - they must be held accountable and punished for their deeds.

Zimbabwe stands at the threshold and we pray that our trust is not betrayed. Because we have suffered so much and for so long."

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