Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Author Archive

Zimbabweans have no respect for time

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

It does not need an expert in any field to inform the Zimbabwean populace that this country needs them in terms of production and economic resuscitation. In as much as we are aware that the economy is not functioning as expected, the few working systems that we have need maximum efficiency for sustainability.

One element that the entire national system does not respect is time.

For instance, if one goes to the bank to do a withdrawal the tellers are not in a hurry to serve you. As a result unnecessary queues form. If one goes to buy lunch, it takes a long time before the order is processed. Commuters are my witness when we see the police slowly doing their duty especially when they inspect public transport. So instead of people appreciating the role of the police in maintaining security and safety, people just get annoyed by unwarranted delays that are usually a result of unnecessary negotiations and kick back payments between the police and transport operators.

And if one goes to collect a National Identity card, the provision of services is slow. These are just some examples.

The entire economy is run in a manner that is slow, without any efficiency. We as citizens should start to think beyond our own selves, and start to act far beyond the call of duty as well. Those who work in positions where they serve people should now start to think in terms of production hours that the country loses by delays in services provided.  I mean, if you tell someone to wait, consider that you have not stopped that person alone, but you have also stopped production somewhere else. As a result you also stop national recovery! If you alone delay ten people for six minutes then you have cost the whole economy one production hour.

This knowledge only comes with an understanding beyond where you are at the moment. The no-hurry approach to life must not apply anymore if we are serious about making the country as vibrant as it was before. We therefore have to revisit our conscience when we tell someone to wait a moment, park there, of come back later.

Courts should stand tough against the spirit of Joro

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Residents in Ruwa are in a state of shock and disbelief after an 8-year-old girl was raped, killed and dumped in nearby fields. Even Grade Seven children are now accompanied to the Thorncroft School, for the fear that anything can happen. One prominent name behind all this is a 22-year-old man called Jeremiah Mazarura alias Joro. A young man well known in the area as Joro.  In Ruwa, any behavior that denotes heartlessness is refereed to as that of Joro.

To those that saw Joro soon after the incident, he was by no means a different man. As normal and happy as usual, even after the police released him. At first, no one could really tell that the blood of the little girl was fresh on his hands. Even at the burial of the girl, witnesses’ say that Joro was as affected and worried as any other shocked person in the locality.

Every Ruwa resident is desperately waiting for the 11th of May. A day set for the appearance of Joro and friends in court over this murder case.

The press reports that the motive behind the killing was the need to stop the girl from reporting the rape or making any signals. The community holds a different view. The belief in the gossip is that the girl was killed for some business purpose since the child was found without some body parts.

Joro’s is not the only weird story around; people are taking lives for the purpose of rituals that only the nyangas (traditional magicians) can tell their meaning. One wonders what has happened to moral and peace loving Zimbabweans? Human life has been reduced to that of a simple monkey or chicken. Why are citizens becoming this bloodthirsty? Can we put the blame on the tough time we have been in and are still enduring; that of political, economic and social difficulties? Before, these stories were really foreign to Zimbabweans. Now what is happening? Can this be one of the disadvantages of globalization? It is really disturbing and inhumane.

It is important that the courts be exemplary in giving tough punishment to these murderers. People should be freed from living in fear. They need smiles back on their faces, and peace and tranquility should exist in communities. Love for money and success should not be at the expense of human life. If these murders are done with “nyangas” and business people behind them, it is high time such culprits are traced to the root.

Men falsely accused of soliciting for prostitution in Zimbabwe

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Friday, April 30th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Prostitution is a profession as old as the human race. It has always been a wrong act, abominable in society. Today we cannot say the same in some countries where prostitutes are legally licensed to operate. Whether prostitutes should be allowed or not is not my subject for debate, at least for now.

It is wrong to punish John for Peter’s crime. In that regard, I wish to enquire if the police in Zimbabwe have tangible evidence against men whom they allege to be loitering for the sake of prostitution. It is now common knowledge to city men that during the evening some places have to be avoided for fear of being arrested. At the end of the day it automatically becomes a crime to walk through these places at night.

When one gets arrested he is automatically accused of loitering for the purpose of prostitution and I wonder how the police arrive at these conclusions just automatically. The police make men pay fines. However, when the men do not have money they spend nights in custody or are sent to court later. Considering that prostitution is a commercial practice – we even call the prostitutes “commercial sex workers” – is it not common sense that whoever is soliciting would have money for that purpose? If that person does not have cash at hand how would he have hired the service?

The courts prosecute poor people who do not have cash at hand, and who might not even have succeeded in the endeavor even if they wished to, because they have no money. Surely no man can intend to engage commercial sex workers without cash? In fact the real culprits come with their cars, pick up prostitutes and go. There is little ability to arrest such people since most of the police involved usually move around on bicycles. Surely the poor are paying for the wrong they never did, and the rich are guilty and yet go free?

Deforestation in Zimbabwe

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

If you still doubt the power of people, ask the ZESA bosses who locked themselves in their offices when confronted by scores of women, not violent but demanding to express their grievances over the unfair charges by the main power service provider. Surely there is a powerful force in numbers and in unity of purpose. The number of those who participated in the demonstration clearly shows that the most affected people by power cuts are women who have the load of looking for firewood for preparing meals. They are the ones who feel the gap left by power cuts and the pain of looking for alternatives and preparing food in smoky fireplaces. People now resort to traditional meat preservation methods, because fridges are no longer reliable.

And all this is putting pressure on the sparsely distributed population of flora around the city.

If birds and rabbits had the capacity, they should have joined the streets in protest for their natural habitat is no more in and around Harare.  Even the fish of the Mukuvisi River should have joined in because deforestation coupled with poor practices of urban farming that have seen streams losing their depth.

Since 2008, when the Forestry Commission encouraged the urban authorities to consider tree planting as a means of curbing further deforestation, nothing has been seen on the positive front. Axes are at work on a daily basis, but no seeds are being planted to replace the trees.

Not only is this predominant in the cities; even the countryside has almost doubled, if not trebled, a tree devouring appetite. New farmers have for the past decade been clearing forests for farming, building homesteads as well as for firewood. The use of firewood for the preparation of the best paying farming crop, Virginia tobacco, is also a cause for concern.  Almost every new farmer appreciates tobacco as the best paying crop and wants to grow it. There is no electricity or coal for preparing this crop; only available is the natural tree that has taken thirty years or centuries to mature only to fall in less than a few minutes destined for preparing tobacco.

Agricultural extension officers are doing their work in teaching people how to grow tobacco, how to prepare it and how to sell it. But I wonder if there are any initiatives on how to plant new trees, how to preserve the existing ones and also on the use of alternative power sources.

Global warming is seeing a shift of seasons, and an unreliability of rainfall, a phenomena that should be of concern to farmers and yet, only the axe is at work. It is high time the authorities start giving value to the natural vegetation.

I want many people to wake up and do something for the sake of our environment, in unity so our voices can be heard.

The problem of water, power and robbers in Zimbabwe

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

I always read publications by organizations like Harare Residents Trust and Combined Harare Residents Association among others and feel proud of their work as voices of residents in Zimbabwe and feel encouraged by their effort in taking time to meet residents to solicit their views.  However there is one area which is not adequately covered by these constructive initiatives. I wonder if this place,  Ruwa, slightly above twenty kilometers to the east of Harare along Mutare road, has leaders and residents representatives at all?

Ruwa is one of the fastest growing catchment areas of the city of Harare. The area supplies labour mainly to Ruwa industries, Masasa industries well as the city centre. It comprises prominent places like Zimre Park, Windsor Park, Damafalls, and the core Ruwa which people refer to as the “location.”

The three major problems in Ruwa are water, transport and robbers.


Ruwa has a permanent water problem despite having all the infrastructure in place. People usually find water from their taps a day or two before the billing date towards month end. In response to the problem a borehole was drilled in the southern part close to Better Days Shopping Centre but this borehole was last used in November before the onset of the rainy season. A supply of water comes from a pump close to Spur Shopping area. Residents are expected to fetch water from here after travelling distances more or less 2 to 3 kilometers. At the time of writing the pump is not operational as there is reported to be a fault for over a week now.

Owing to the difficulties in getting water, residents have resorted to digging wells in their own premises. These borehole sites are not properly surveyed and given the size of the stands, wells are by default too close to houses, some are even on the wrong side of houses risking the water being contaminated with sewage.  The water is not safe to drink at all. The wells cannot supply water all year round, and during the dry season, they run dry forcing everyone to go and queue for water by the tanks where water is pumped.


Residents in Ruwa are overcharged by commuters who charge them double fare during peak hours. Residents have tried to resist but they are now gradually giving in. At Fourth Street Bus Terminus, two Ruwa stations have sprouted. The one for those who can afford the double fare and the other for those who can afford the normal fare. For the love of money commuters prefer ferrying those who can afford more, leaving the poor majority stranded by the bus stop waiting for a few large buses which charge reasonable fares. In addition no commuter buses reach into places like Windsor Park. They drop people close to TM store where they have to walk up to about five kilometers to their homes.


The whole way from Mabvuku turn off, to well after George Shopping Centre is unsafe for people after dark or towards sunset. Police have at one time camped at Zimre turnoff, where cases of murder are frequent. Now just their tent is left and the police are no more, yet the place remains as risky as before.

At the TM bus stop where people drop to get into Windsor Park, the road has become a hunting ground for merciless robbers who have no hesitation to take peoples’ lives for money. People have been robbed and killed at the place. It is public knowledge yet no action has been taken about it. Darkness remains a dangerous snare for Windsor residents who sometimes have to drop at Maha Shopping Centre to walk across industries for their safety yet increasing the length of the already long distance which they cover on foot.

Faced with these challenges, Ruwa residents are living in constant fear for their lives. Of late a young orphan girl was murdered in mysterious circumstances which the police are still investigating. There has been no media coverage and no talk about it as if it was normal. We call upon whoever has authority to look into this problem as a matter of urgency.

Urban people are leading rural lifestyles yet they pay urban rates and contribute to the urban economy.

Zimbabwe’s electricity tariffs unrealistic

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

There is a wide outcry that the charges of many service providers including the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) are unjustifiably high. Responding to public complaints and the issuance of yellow cards by WOZA in Bulawayo over the unfair charges, Mr. Ernest Machiya, of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of ZESA, said the authority’s tariffs were justified as they were the lowest in the SADC region.

This is not a new statement, and it’s the only answer that the ZESA ever has. I am sure that the majority of people in Zimbabwe are civil servants taking home between 100 to 200 dollars a month. That person has school going children, who need fees, transport money and food. Power is not the only service to pay for. There is also water, rentals and other rates that are also charged at their own levels of madness. People’s earnings are far below regional levels. Food is very expensive given that we are living largely on imported products. Is there any justification to charge a regional tariff to people who are struggling well below the poverty datum line? Is there any justification to compare normal economies to an abnormal one such as ours. The little that we can afford to pay them has been turned into hefty salaries for themselves without improving the service delivery side. What should come first between awarding above average salaries and improving service delivery?

Despite poor a poor service characterised by severe power cuts, ZESA has no shame in billing its domestic customers amounts close to and above 1000 dollars a month. In some instances it is billing twice a month, a trend that has never been heard of in the history of this country.

During the past era, tuck-shop owners always raised their prices in response to an anticipated increase in supply of money maybe because salaries have been increased. That was simple supply and demand economics. Can ZESA tell us what it is responding to when charging USD2000 to someone with USD150 in his pocket, worse still without any proper supply of services?

Mr Machiya, can you suggest how you expect a headmaster at Mufakose High to pay you say 500 dollars a month only for your power and nothing more, let alone a widow in Budiriro? We encourage leaders of institutions like ZESA to desist from displaying such absurdity. We end up questioning your credentials as professionals and as leaders of socially responsible institutions. Our advice to you service providers is simple, “The issue is not about the regional level, it is about who your clients are and what they can afford.” For South Africans, power charges are a reasonable fraction of the an average person’s salary, the same can be said of Botswana, Mozambique and whichever regional country one can name. The same cannot be said of our dear Zimbabwe. Can you all join us in the campaign for decent salaries for everyone before charging high tariffs. It should be known to ZESA and other companies that the amounts which people are not paying does not constitute an asset in you balance sheet; it is by default bad debt as no one will ever afford to pay up even in a decade’s time.