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This is how they tolerate the intolerable

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No fir at this address

No fire at this address

So where’s the fire? That’s what I was asking myself as I passed a fire engine backed up at 76 Alfred Road in Greendale, Harare. No fire fighters in sight – no curious by-standers. Just two weary soldiers directing the fire engine’s hoses into some army chef’s home.

Other residents in the same road can be seen shifting water containers back to their homes daily by wheel barrow or on their heads.

How does an army chef get to commandeer a fire engine as his personal water bowser?

It reminds me of an incident years ago when a senior administrator at Parirenyatwa Hospital commandeered an ambulance to chase after a bus he’d missed. He was, appropriately, dismissed. Fat chance we’ll see this bloke suffer a similar fate.

As basic utilities become ever scarcer, senior staffers in the government, civil service, politics and business are finding new ways to make themselves comfortable whilst others around them suffer. They jump the queue at the bank, dine at posh restaurants, drive air-conditioned cars, procure cheap fuel, medicate and educate their families outside the country. In this way they tolerate the intolerable.

Is this what Mugabe meant by 100% total empowerment in his re-election campaigning in the June presidential run-off?

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