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Morgan “rhetoric” Tsvangirai

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Newlands Shopping Centre in Harare used to be a fairly happening kind of place. There was a buzz, parking was hard to find, vendors were hard to side-step – healthy signs of life. These days its pulse is flickering and fading. At least 5 shops, including one of Zimbabwe’s best brand names, Bata, have closed down. The stalwart of Zimbabwean restaurants, The Sitar, now closes on Tuesdays after being renowned for non stop curry 7 days a week. Tracks, the bar/cafe that used to be pom pom full most days has been boarded up for possibly a year. The three telephone booths outside the post office are derelict. Rubbish bins are overflowing and seldom cleared out. Holes in the pavements aren’t fixed and get filled with passer-by debris.

In my office block there’s seldom power from the Zimbabwe Electricty Supply Authority (ZESA). If it wasn’t for the largesse of a major international NGO that installed a generator to service the whole building we’d all be up shit creek. Ground floor shops that used to sell something are closing. One of these shops has had a woman sitting at a desk in the middle of it looking bored out of her skull. Occasionally she sits in the front window – a living but barely breathing human mannequin. A book store has an array of what looks like 1970 Home and Garden magazines for sale; they’ve been laying on the walkway outside the front door for what seems like the last 6 months. At Alberto’s Hairdressing Salon you don’t have to make an appointment anymore. It’s clear that business is slow because often his hair washers and trainee stylists are in the chairs themselves whiling the day away with experiments in all things hair and beauty. A waiter at Libby’s restaurant pulled me aside yesterday and asked me if I had a job for his son who has a degree in engineering; anything will do was the refrain. Meanwhile a young boy who looks no more than 16 has lethargically started to sweep the steps because the two brother janitors who used to clean the place have both died in the last 8 months. Most likely from AIDS but lack of food and low wages clearly didn’t help.

In our own way we try help. We called in The Garbage Guys to try and get a business to clean up because the City of Harare can’t, or won’t. We support local shops. We contribute to funeral funds. We share information. We give out clothes. We join community initiatives to look at ways of stablising power supply.

As I write this email the security guard for our office block is walking up an down each floor ringing a bell warning us that the fuel is running out and the generator is about to be switched off.

It’s not a pretty picture is it? This is the reality on my little patch of ground and there are other far worse examples.

Morgan Tsvangirai has been spouting rhetoric rather than the truth on his recent world tour. How soon before we all start saying that he’s seriously out of touch? A bit like how we’ve been describing his small friend Mugabe for so long.

One comment to “Morgan “rhetoric” Tsvangirai”

  1. Comment by miles anderson:

    God Bless you Bev.