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Archive for the 'Shortages and Inflation' Category

Life as it is

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Friday, November 9th, 2012 by Marko Phiri

Two chaps from two totally different backgrounds found themselves back in Zimbabwe in the past couple of weeks.

One was a guy who toiled at the once glorious and well paying NRZ but left the misery of unpaid labour and headed for South Africa a couple of years ago. The other, a wise guy who has seen the world as a journalist, public relations guru, university lecturer and everything else in between and went to Botswana looking for a piece of that Khama wealth.

When the NZR guy came through, he had on his mind returning to his former job seeing he was missing home rather too terribly. He has some job in SA and looking at him, I thought he must be better off than he was back in the day as a railwayman.

He looked fit, his skin was “ruddy” and was generally clean, leading me to conclude that the grass sure must be greener on the other side. But here he was saying he had in mind settling back home and living the rest of his life to the fullest.

He made rounds to meet up with erstwhile work colleagues to get the pulse of what has been happening, who died, who got promoted, who left the country, who ran off with somebody else’s wife, you know the usual stuff old friends talk about.

That’s when his dream of a blissful return to the motherland disappeared.

His NRZ buddies told they hadn’t been paid literally for years and were only continuing with the humiliating and tedious trudge to work because they had nowhere else to go. If you quit this job, where the fuck are you going to get another one seeing it is only the streets doing the hiring? Bulawayo industries have become ghost towns, everyone who is unemployed is selling something, what are YOU going to sell? Thus it was decided that it was better to continue going to work for no pay because one day a miracle would happen and the NZR would give them a year’s salaries in back pay!

If only that were not the apotheosis of naivety.

You see, the railwaymen did not have to tell him he was better off in a foreign land: he could tell this himself, and all the dreams of working for the prosperity of his country disappeared. And so it was that as I write, he is buried in his work somewhere in South Africa working for that country’s prosperity!

Now, to the other fella from Francistown, Botswana.

This chap says he wanted to contribute to the growth of the Botswana economy by registering his outfit as a legitimate potential contributor to the GDP, but Batswana red tape got him steaming through the ears.

He says he was told it was difficult to see how his proposed business would contribute to the Botswana economy, and in frustration, he shook the dust off his sandals and returned to Zimbabwe, rather reluctantly it would appear.

And now back to the motherland, he has to start afresh and chase the American greenback by meeting all sorts of characters he never imagined he would ever meet. Because American greed has landed on these shores and claimed permanent residence, this chap has a lot of navigating to do before his fiscally immoral compatriots fleece him of his hard earned cash and get him on the move again, this time: DESTINATION UNKOWN.

Granted, this chap would rather share his skills with our neighbours where the pickings reportedly come in bucketfuls, but as the Fates would have it, he finds himself right where he started. Yet the two chaps present two narrative strands that converge somewhere on the rainbow. These are patriots who, all things being in order, would earn a living here, watch their children grow, watch them bring forth grandkids and just enjoy being sons of the soil.

But yet here they are as grown men running around chasing the Devil’s coin all over the show like horny cockerels chasing after pullets. There is a lesson there. You figure it out.

Worth knowing

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Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by Bev Clark

Mugabe, Tsvangirai must reveal cash sources
There are mounting calls in Zimbabwe for both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to say where they have received their money. Mugabe recently launched a $20 million agricultural input scheme for farmers, while Tsvangirai handed over up to $300,000 as a maintenance settlement to his ex-partner Locardia Tembo. It is not clear in either of the cases where the funds came from. What is certain is that the money did not come from Treasury or from the salaries of the two heads of state. The Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture – David Coltart – on Sunday said all leaders had a duty to be transparent. Mugabe should reveal the source of the inputs he donated on Saturday, Coltart said through his Twitter account. Seeds, fertiliser and dipping chemicals worth around $20 million will be given to 800,000 farmers. The money apparently came from “well-wishers”. Coltart’s urge for transparency was echoed by former Independent MP Margaret Dongo, who said Tsvangirai should say whether donors handed him the money he allegedly gave his former wife. – Eyewitness News, Johannesburg

Public toilets a thing of the past in Chitungwiza
Residents in Chitungwiza have raised alarm on the state of public toilets around the town which is now life threatening. Most public toilets are located at shopping centres but the municipality appears to have given up on maintaining these essential facilities since most of them are no longer functional and have been completely neglected. A recent tour around the town exposed a health time bomb that is just waiting to explode at almost all shopping centres around the town. Retailers who operate flea markets and shops at most of these shopping centres feel that the municipality is short changing them since they pay rates every month yet they have no access to such vital services. In an interview with the reporter Mrs Matore (30) who operates a flea market at Huruyadzo expressed dissatisfaction with the council authorities. “I pay a monthly licence fee to council and their municipal police are very strict in making sure that you pay the money but we are not able to access such an important service. The toilet is no longer in use and we have to find alternatives and sometimes we are forced to go into bars so that we can relieve ourselves and these bars are filled with drunk men who mistake you for a prostitute.” said Mrs Matore. – Chitungwiza Bulletin

CCZ Concerned About Quality of Bulk Water
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has raised concern over the quality and price of bulk water being sold by many companies in and outside Harare. A recent survey carried out by the consumer watchdog said some of the companies were drawing their water from dams, rivers and boreholes. “Asking the water suppliers, they all indicated that they sourced their water from boreholes, sadly no one can vouch for that and that leaves consumers vulnerable to drinking unsafe, untreated water sourced from potentially unhygienic conditions,” CCZ said in a statement. The CCZ added there were suspicions that companies were taking water from the Harare City Council taps, which many residents no longer drink because of numerous safety concerns. “There are concerns as to the cleanliness of the water, the tanks used to move the water and the cleanliness of the processes the water undergoes before its final destination — the consumer,” CCZ said. The organisation said the shortages of clean, safe water have reached “seismic” levels and urged municipalities to honour their duty of ensuring that consumers have sufficient water. The fact that local authorities were failing to supply clean water to residents has given rise to an illegal water sector where some unscrupulous individuals are starting companies to trade in the precious liquid. “It appears to us, there is a free-for-all situation in the water market where certain individuals and or companies are profiting from the water situation to make a quick buck at the expense of desperate and unsuspecting consumers,” said CCZ. “It concerns us from whose permission the companies are selling water and why at such high prices! Whose companies are they?” CCZ found that the companies were charging between US$60 and US$120 for 5 000 cubic metres of water both within and outside Harare. “The charges by the water suppliers are not only ridiculously high, but morally reprehensible in an environment where the vulnerable have a right to protection through low cost tariffs.” – The Standard

Action: Please email the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and ask them what actual pressure they are putting on the relevant authorities to investigate and make accountable the supply and sale of water in Zimbabwe. Email them on: ccz1 [at] mweb [dot] co [dot] zw or ccz2 [at] mweb [dot] co [dot] zw

Traffic woes mount in Harare
For the past months, Harare Central Business District (CBD) has been experiencing an increase in traffic jams to the extent that a motorist now needs to spend 30minutes to an hour just to cover a stretch of 2 kilometres. With authorities remaining mum on the way forward to end this driving nightmare in Harare, some economists have bemoaned how the country could be losing money as people now have to spend more of their time trapped in traffic webs. ‘If you look around the city now, you find many traffic lights are not working and this is contributing to the traffic chaos in the city and also the designing of our bus termini system adds to the crisis as commuter omnibuses have had to transverse through the city centre just to drop passengers and this causes problems,’ says the Harare Residents Trust. – Community Radio Harare

Chiredzi man in trouble for striking Mugabe portrait over employment woes as Magistrate refers case to Supreme Court
Zimbabwean police have charged a Chiredzi man for undermining the authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe after he allegedly struck the octogenarian leader’s portrait in a bar in frustration over failing to secure employment. Regis Kandawasvika aged 35 years was arrested on Tuesday 30 October 2012 and charged with contravening Section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly held President Mugabe accountable for failing to secure employment despite having obtained six Ordinary Level subjects during his educational pursuits. Kandawasvika reportedly uttered the following words; “Ndiri kutambura nokuda kwehutongi hwezimudhara iri Robert Mugabe. Ndine masabhujekiti six pa’O’ Level kasi handina basa rekuita. Handidi kana kumboriona zimudhara irori. Ikozvino gwendo runo riri kuenda kamwe chete”, which the police translated to mean, “I am suffering because of the ruling of this old man Cde Robert Mugabe. I have six ‘O’ level subjects but I have no job. I don’t want to see this old man. This time he is going one way”. Kandawasvika, who was represented by Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) was granted $20 bail by a Chiredzi Magistrate on 31 October 2012 with conditions not to interfere with State witnesses and to continue residing at the given residential address until the matter is finalised. – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Access to water is a national crisis in Zimbabwe

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Bev Clark

Some excellent suggestions from Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA):

1. The government of Zimbabwe should take the responsibility and acknowledge the incapacitation inspired by the underfunding of local authorities and declare the water issue as a national crisis. This will definitely bring on board international partners who will assist the government of Zimbabwe to mobilize funds for water infrastructure, rehabilitation and provision. The government of Zimbabwe released only 18 million for the rehabilitation of water pipes in Harare but the figures coming in from council shows us that the local authority is in need of more than USD 200 million to deal with water alone.

2. Collaboration with residents Associations in forming community water groups responsible for water conservation initiatives and education will go a long way in saving the water we have in its small quantities.

3. Construction and funding of the Kunzvi Dam water project (the Zambezi river water project for Matabeleland) will go a long way in easing pressure on the current water sources we have.

Service delivery has gone to the dogs

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 by Lenard Kamwendo

Services which citizens of a nation are supposed to get from local authorities as a basic right have become a privilege.

In almost every town in Zimbabwe citizens are bemoaning poor service delivery – from dry taps to dark nights caused by load shedding. Mounting complaints fall on deaf ears. Recently it was reported that City of Harare’s wage bill has doubled leaving little revenue going to service delivery.

For decades now the Zambezi water project (now Zambezi water pipe dream), which is supposed to help solve Bulawayo’s water woes, has not produced positive results even when the Movement for Democratic Change took over the Ministry of Water. Residents of Bulawayo recently had to resort to the so-called “Big Flush” and Councilor Thaba Moyo was quoted saying, “The big flush is meant to take care of areas that would have been placed under water rationing. Residents will be asked to systematically flush all their toilets so that sufficient water will be deposited in the system in order to get rid of the material that would have dried up and blocked the system.” I just can’t imagine residents trying to beat evening traffic to reach home so that they can comply with the 7:30 pm Big Flush directive.

Service delivery problems are even affecting smaller towns like Gweru and Masvingo.

Try to imagine a growing town like Chitungwiza with no independent water supply of its own having to rely on City of Harare for supply of this precious basic right which sometimes gets disconnected for non-payment.

Soon it will be raining and heaps of gravel will be dumped along the roads to patch up pothole riddled partly tarred roads. This exercise of patching tarred roads with gravel has not done any good to the roads as the potholes have increase to ditches making the roads impassable during rainy season.

And, instead of just starting with putting the pre-paid meters in households somebody didn’t do his/her job right at Zimbabwe’s power distribution company ZESA by wasting money ordering millions of bulbs to save electricity which residents only receive less than twelve hours a day.

Zimbabwe’s citizens speak out

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 by Bev Clark

In the words of the Kubatana community:

The Fix It sticker that I have is too small to stick where there is water running just opposite the Southerton police station. There is now an artificial river yet there are people without water. My heart bleeds. – Kubatana subscriber

I am writing to you because I don’t know where else to write. Please is there anyone out there who can remind ZESA that when people pay bills in full they deserve electricity. Its so disturbing that the power cuts in ZIMRE are almost unbearable. We pay more than 100usd dollars but nearly every day we have no power. Would it be better for not sending bills if they cannot supply any electricity.
- Kubatana subscriber

As residents of Hatcliffe we’ve had it to the bream. The City of Harare has completely failed us as they have failed to deal with the shortage of water for over a decade now. The situation has worsened as most wells and boreholes have dried up in the past 2 months resulting in people having to rely on contaminated water for house hold purposes. If possible we would like to hear what the mayor thinks about this and how he wants us to react.
- Kubatana subscriber

The whole of Harare is a death Trap. We are all too meek and mild to do anything about it. One day we must all stand up and fight and get ALL this Government out. – Kubatana subscriber

ZESA, estimate DOWN not UP

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 by Bev Clark

When it comes to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) I reckon the gauge above would, and should be permanently in the red. How’s this: after a month of some of the worst power cuts we’ve ever had, ZESA estimates my bill. Do they estimate it down because they’ve provided F’All power? No, they estimate it UP. Dim wits that they are. And to add insult to injury my ZESA bill arrives in the post on the 17th April with the last date for payment cited as 9th April. There might be a crisis in power supply in Zimbabwe but there’s also a crisis in the management of ZESA.