- Dear Family and Friends,
- I received a call early one morning this week from a
friend in a small country town. Speaking quickly and quietly for fear of
being overheard, he told me of the frightening events that were going on
all around him. Eight double cab vehicles had arrived in the town. Armed
men in civilian clothes alighted. They had lists of names of people who
had been involved in the election campaign for the opposition MDC in the
- "They are hunting us down," he said. "Each
and every one of us is being sought out, beaten and punished for supporting
- Some have had their homes burnt down, large numbers of
people have been beaten and a local opposition organizer said :" it
is terrible, there are injured people everywhere."
- Later another call came, this time the story was of events
on one of the few remaining commercial farms. Again the eye witness account
was of armed men. There were youths too, many scores of them and they were
clearly high on drugs and drink. The drumming, singing, shouting and intimidation
carried only one message: there will be no change in Zimbabwe.
- Scores of stories like this are coming in from all over
the country. Armed men, drugged youths, lists of opposition supporters
and activists, and a wave of fear sweeping over our country. None are being
spared : men, women, children. Beating, burning, threatening and intimidating
is the result of the brave voices of Zimbabweans across the country who
voted for change.
- While this goes on the economic and domestic situation
for families everywhere has reached absolutely critical levels. In the
fortnight since the elections food supplies in the shops have dropped to
almost nothing. One major supermarket in my home town this weekend had
lines and lines of scouring powder but no basics at all - no rice, pasta,
flour, cereals, tin, jars or in fact anything edible.
- All fresh produce from milk and eggs to vegetables and
meat has become virtually unobtainable as thugs and mobs close down farms,
terrify workers and rob the nations shelves of the last few mouthfuls of
food. A friend who helps feed children whose parents have died of AIDS,
waited for almost 5 hours at the local Grain Marketing Board Depot while
every single bag of the precious staple grain was loaded onto army trucks.
She left empty handed and had also failed to find any beans, fish or even
soya to buy for vulnerable children hungry and alone.
- The reaction of our neighbours to the terror and tragedy
unravelling Zimbabwe is beyond all understanding. South African president
Thabo Mbeki emerged from an hour long meeting with Mr Mugabe saying: "There
is no crisis in Zimbabwe." Fourteen African heads of state met for
12 hours in Zambia and emerged saying: "election results must be released
- Of course, we don't know what went on behind closed doors
but it seems like quiet diplomacy has again been the convenient smoke screen
for Africa's Big Men. It is no comfort whatsoever to us mums who can't
find enough food for our families. It is no comfort to frightened men whispering
on crackly telephone lines about men with guns on an opposition witch hunt.
It is no comfort to farmers trying to grow food but faced with drugged,
drunken youths who want what they've got.
- Zimbabweans voted for change a fortnight ago, the MDC
announced that it had been achieved but day by day that change is being
painfully, brutally stripped away.
- Until next week,
- love, cathy.
- Copyright cathy buckle 13th April 2008. www.cathybuckle.com
My books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available
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