You can't eat faction fighting 

You can't eat faction fighting

This week’s Pambazuka News features a powerful article by Zimbabwean human rights activist Mary Ndlovu. She accurately sums up the current Zimbabwean crisis, and the lack of government action to resolve it.

In the meantime, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change appears more focussed on its own faction fighting than it does on confronting the regime or transforming national politics. The main MDC news on Studio 7 Voice of America last night was a dispute between the two factions over the now-divided organisation’s assets. The one side is now blaming the other for a recent car jacking.

Does any of this bring jobs, food, clean water or medical care into the homes of ordinary Zimbabweans?

Ndlovu writes:

Certainly we know that the multiple crises which embody Zimbabwe’s millennium experience are intensifying, making life barely liveable for the majority of the population. The crises have engulfed the working world, the learning world, the consumer world, the world of the supermarket and even of sport. The economy limps along, agriculture crawling, tourism virtually defunct, manufacturing crippled, and mining, the one still flickering light of the economy, under recent assault from government policies. Electricity comes and goes at will, water likewise in many places; fuel supplies (black market only) are erratic and prices exploitative. Schools are places of confusion, teachers demoralized, pupils unable to afford textbooks if they manage to pay fees, and only finding bus fare for half the school days. Courts barely function, police cells are filthy putrid hell holes, prisons even worse. The Commissioner of Prisons admits the entire prison system has no drugs as they have been stolen before reaching the system; prisoners simply die for want of treatment. Hospitals have no doctors, no medicines; their mal-functioning mortuaries overflow and the stench from too many bodies wafts through into some of the wards. All government “services” are riddled with nepotism, incompetence and corruption.

Living conditions are abysmal, with several families crowded into most houses, even in low density areas, each taking a room and sharing cooking and bathing facilities. It is hardly surprising that skilled personnel flee the country, not only for greener pastures, but for the opportunity to function as genuine professionals.

Year-on-year inflation has just reached the official figure of 782%. Imagine the daily trauma suffered by the working father who realizes he cannot pay for medicine for his sick child, the student in his final year who cannot raise the 1000% increase in fees imposed mid- year, the pensioner forced to sell his possessions in order to eat. And what of the estimated 80% who do not work? A thriving informal sector in which hundreds of thousands of people managed to survive through trading, cottage industry, deal-making, and personal services, was wiped out in June and July by brutal police attacks. A large percentage of them also lost their homes in the assault on the urban poor. Although many have resurfaced, enormous numbers had their livelihoods destroyed and will not be able to recover. How do they live in the environment which defines Zimbabwe today? Many don’t, and die quietly of malnutrition, exposure, cholera, pneumonia and broken spirits.

Is this it? Is this meltdown? While this is the question occupying most Zimbabweans, the more interesting question to political analysts and observers is what various actors on the stage are doing about the situation. Is there any hope of a solution emerging from this complete disaster?

Read the rest of the article: Zimbabwe 2006—We All Fall Down

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Comment hi please could you contact me on africa at many thanks sokari

Mon May 1, 2006 11:11 am MST by sokari

Comment when you say it like that it makes a lot of sense

Wed Apr 5, 2006 2:18 pm MST by bob stevens

Comment when you say it like that it makes a lot of sense

Wed Apr 5, 2006 1:53 pm MST by bob stevens

Comment I know I'm off topic but today is the best day as she has said

Mon Apr 3, 2006 3:45 pm MST by tim smith

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