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Harare, a bit of this and that

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In some ways things are looking up.

When I came to work the other day I saw two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vehicles in the car park. The vehicles were clearly sign written with the MDC name and slogan. This is progress because I can’t ever recall MDC vehicles being so identifiable. Perhaps their supporters will also be able to wear pro-opposition t-shirts without getting beaten up. When we talk (and talk and talk) about free and fair elections and an environment conducive to campaigning then we have to take into account whether Zimbabweans live in an atmosphere where they can wear pro-MDC t-shirts. A small point one might think, but the devil is in the detail.

On my way to the vet yesterday I drove past a stand of pine trees which look like they’re being illegally felled. Clearly in this instance its not the struggling person on the street who needs fuel for cooking, its the chefs who are intent on pillaging every corner of this country for short term personal gain. Of course one of the major frustrations in Zimbabwe is how to get recourse to the law and have this and other types of illegal activity addressed. I’ve written to the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) but it seems that they can only send out emails and that they don’t know how to answer them. I’ve telephoned Environment Africa and they seem impotent. I’ve written to a number of Zimbabwean media houses and journalists requesting them to do a little bit of investigative reporting, but I’ve had no response. The environment is not a side issue and should be treated with more respect by the general public, civil society organisations and the ruling party. A friend in the office suggested putting plastic bags over the chef tree fellers heads to illustrate to them how much we need trees.

Once I got to the vet I forked out Z$18 million for medication. I’m still recovering. I did however have a light hearted moment when a woman in the waiting room started talking about a 2007 calendar published to raise funds for a group called SOAP (Support Old Age Pensioners). The calendar has 12 pictures of guys with their shirts off. She flicked it open to September and looked directly at me and said “isn’t he hunky?”. I almost said well I’d prefer to be looking at women but stopped short not wanting her to fall flat on her face. I had enough money left over to buy two cow hooves for my dogs. They’re very cheap – Z$10 000/each and the dogs have endless pleasure nibbling at them for hours on end – the only negative side effect is foul hoof breath.

2 comments to “Harare, a bit of this and that”

  1. Comment by Julian:

    If you mean the cypress trees along Drew road in Chisipite, my mother spoke to a Mr Machipisa at Highlands municipailty about these about a week ago: “[he] explained that the trees have been cut down to make planks for stands for the 2010 Games at Kambuzuma”, and that new trees would be planted in December.

  2. Comment by Memory:

    Looking at my old home country on google earth, I can trace my journeys by following familiar routes. The two most obvious changes to Harare and Bulawayo are the large numbers of new houses and the disappearance of thousands and thousands of trees……