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A frenzy of feasting and opulence while Zimbabwe starves

Many Zimbabweans are wishing for a new year with more rain and less corruption.
People queue to collect water from a solar powered borehole as Zimbabwe faces electricity and water outages. Image: Philimon Bulawayo, Reuters

Dear family and friends,

As I write this letter from Zimbabwe today deep purple rain clouds hang over my home town, there is neither electricity nor water but there is what the media are calling ‘feasting  in a  time of famine’ going on not very far away.

Seven thousand Zanu PF delegates, VIPs and the country’s top leadership are at their annual conference being held in Goromonzi. Reports of 150 cows to be slaughtered, five tons of chicken and eight tons of maize meal, not to mention bread, rice, fresh produce and more. Ninety buses are providing transport, four boreholes have been drilled for water, a transformer installed for electricity with a standby generator and a car park for thousands of cars has been constructed. Apparently women selling wild fruit on the roadside and little boys watched wide-eyed as luxury vehicles swung into the venue car park, including a black Lexus sports car.
This frenzy of feasting and opulence is happening at a time when the UN says eight million people in Zimbabwe need international food aid to save them from starvation. This is more than half of our total population.

The contrast with the feasting for the few and the reality for the rest of us is this: a standard monthly income of approx Z$400, one single chicken (1kg) in the supermarket today is Z$90; a 10kg bag of maize meal is Z$119; a loaf of bread is Z$18.50; one litre of milk is Z$25; one single mango is Z$20; we have water once a week if we are lucky; we only ever have electricity in the middle of the night  between 10pm and 4.30am; the queues for fuel are of many hundreds of cars every day and they are always invaded by men in Zanu PF cars and government vehicles.

And in the hospitals, oh God help us is all I can cry out in despair; the few doctors left in government hospitals say they are praying for their patients as they have nothing to help them with: no equipment, no medicine, no supplies.

How many people are suffering and dying at home is a number we do not know, a face we cannot bear to see.
For a few days I’ve been asking people if they had one wish for Zimbabwe this Christmas what it would be. It wasn’t a political question but most of the responses were and it caused many eyes to glisten with tears as they spoke, so distraught are we all, at the shameful, desperate state of our country.
Here are some of our Christmas wishes for Zimbabwe in 2019:

Rain, rain and more rain,

An unselfish government,

Corrupt free government,

A government that is honest, has integrity and a conscience,

A government that is clean, efficient and honourable,

A government that thinks of the citizens and not themselves,

A government who realises they are only caretakers of the country and responsible for the well being of its people,

A neutral transitional authority leading to free and fair elections,

No more indirect genocide,

No more police beating peaceful protesters,

No more soldiers shooting unarmed citizens,

An outbreak of compassion for the people from the political elite,

And the one wish that I heard so many times, and which I echo: A government that has a heart for its people; a heart filled with empathy and unselfishness.

Until next time, Happy Christmas and New Year.

Love Cathy.

© Cathy Buckle.

Cathy Buckle is a Zimbabwean writer and blogger living in Marondera, Zimbabwe.



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So very sad to see a once beautiful country destroyed in this manner. Let this be a big wake up call to South Africans who say it will never happen here. It is already happening right under our noses, day by day. Thank you enlightening us with your sad but very insightful letters Cathy. I wish you and your family all the very best over the festive season.

When they had enough to eat in the breadbasket of Africa, and unemployment was a fraction of what it is today, they nevertheless took up arms against the previous government.

Today, there is no sign of this. People get the government they deserve. No sympathy here. To all current inhabitants and refugees: go home and overthrow the government or stop complaining.

All of the items on their wish list, they had when they lived in Rhodesia, then they voted for Mugabe and lived in Zimbabwe. Was it worth it?

These consequences cannot be blamed on the weather, the racial demographics, a lack of education, soil infertility, a skills shortage, or even a lack of money. The situation as described in the article is the natural consequence of an infringement on property-rights.

The people won there freedom from the colonialist system of property rights and thereby enslaved themselves to poverty, hunger and disease. They received what they fought for. This is what freedom without responsibility looks like.

This is the highly contagious and deadly African Freedom Disease. Eskom has caught the virus and is spreading it throughout our country. This disease has a name and is described by scientists as “Socialism setting the malthusian trap”.

South Africans set the Malthusian Trap for themselves when they support the ANC.

Agree. If you read/ have read Pieter Louis Myburgh’s book “Gangster State “ then you get a real fright. This is the ANC at work lining their pockets and stuff the poor. Can you imagine what is happening throughout RSA?

Very Sad, unfortunately we are on our way there much faster than Zim got there.

It took Mugabe 30 years, it took Zuma 10!!!

and that is how the ANC , EFF and SACP think…if you are the leading party you are the king….and a king can do whatever he wants to.

As Mr Orwell wrote: Some pigs are more equal than others.

It all depends on the people at the top. Zimbabwe’s leader is known as ‘The Crocodile’, so the awful situation above is to be expected. Unfortunately, his stance is all too common in Africa. We have our own similar home-bred would-be leader in Malema. He too cares nothing for the poor, enjoying the high life off money provided by corruption – tenders in Limpopo, VBS, Bosasa.
However, and I know this is unpopular in a land where we love to embrace doom and gloom, I do believe we have top leaders of a better calibre than we have had since Mandela’s days. Ramaphosa is independently rich; he doesn’t need to steal from the poor like Zuma did. Same goes for Gordhan, Mboweni, Kganyago (Reserve Bank). Good people. So is Kieswetter (SARS) Shamila Batohi and Hermione Cronje (Prosecutors). Mogoeng Mogoeng (Chief Justice) is also straight. Yes, Mabuza ‘The Cat’ (Vice President) is dubious and Magashule extremely so. But my hope is that the pro-Zuma types who are still intent on robbing South Africa, will go down, and next year we will begin to see high-profile arrests.

Example of Land expropriation without compensation.

Apparently Tongaat Hulett lost R 12 Billion in Zimbabwe.

A warning to any company trying to do business in Zimbabwe.

Tongaat Hulett should have known better. Perhaps they got greedy?

Tongaat Hulett is a bad example. It was run by a group of lying, cheating, unscrupulous cheats.

Why they were still in Zimbabwe is beyond me.

The Zimbabweans must’ve have LOST FOCUS on what brought them to where they are today.

Zimbabweans need to reflect back and CELEBRATE their hard fought FREEDOM over the oppressive colonialists. They seem to’ve forgotten it or must’ve lost focus(?)

They allow themselves to be overcome with negativity. Come on, remember that VICTORY was achieved 🙂 and you can now determine your own future.

(The above comment will also apply to SA, around 2050. Or sooner.)

Yes. They have all the land now. Eat the land, and let the land make you rich. Stop whining.


The feast you are referring to is hardy a feast. It is a feast for the millions of starving people in your country, but normal fare for anyone in a reasonably advanced country from China to Indonesia to Australia.

Your wishes regarding government are not dissimilar to the wishes of anyone living in a democratic country today. Politicians are thieves and charlatans the world over, with no commitment to the best interests of the people/

It is however, much easier to put up with poor government in and advanced economy, where the behaviour of politicians really is largely irrelevant to everyone’s day to day.

Perhaps you should give up on the mirage. Perhaps your great grandchildren can return to a Zimbabwe with any semblance of hope. In the mean time. Get out.

You got your freedom and your land! What is the problem? So quick to pick up a gun against a white government but oh-so slow to do the same to a regime that totally destroyed your country.

Malema’s dream

South Africa, look into your future. IT IS GUARANTEED.

That is not really a lot of food for 7000 people. But if one should divide that food between 8 mil people, nobody will even get one bite to eat.

It always amazes me how the self righteous West F things up and is thereafter nowhere to be seen or heard. My cousins twice removed, real k@k family….

Dear Zimbabwe & African leaders..I was a year old when my father was kicked off his farm (and kicked in the teeth as it were) having left one night with my Mom and 3 year old sister in a car with nothing but the clothes on our back, heading South to SA.(Malema, we too know what poverty is)

My Dad was a tobacco farmer, employed many laborers and we had a dream life, or so we thought.The workers, who also indulged in the dream, eventually clung to his car crying, pleading and begging him not to leave..If only he had a choice, if only!

My late father left me with a legacy.. “don’t sit on your laurels, get up and start over..”

Thats what he did then and went on to become quite successful.

I live by those words, having learnt one dear lesson. When in Africa don’t take anything for granted! I have NO SYMPATHY for any of you. You brought it upon yourselves..Get off your laurels, work,build,dont take what is not yours, move on and vote for democracy. Sadly that is not the African way.

The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior, and given the State of affairs in Africa, the future always looks glim. Handouts is the only thing you expect , and who comes to their aid?

The same people they despise, the UN.But fear not for the nation with the slanted eyes are Africas new colonialists.. they will rule (if not already) without firing a shot..)

Take heed my fellow Africans for your time of freedom is dwindling. Your new masters have bought their way into the soil and there is nothing you can do to stop them for the Politicians are all captured

I understand the the Chinese already control parts of Mombasa harbour, as the Kenyan govt struggle to settle Chinese debt.

China also financed the new Maputo bridge. I anticipate that China will soon call the shots in Moz. The politicians are easily bought (like the old slave trade in colonial times…exchanged their own people for wealth. It was a ‘trade’…a slave trade.)

Rumours are Walvisbay harbour could be next…(?) as Nam struggles with Chinese debt.

Eskom may one day belong to China, but I think it will likely be saying goodbye to Durban harbour as SA sovereign soil.

China’s trawlers are stripping SA (and many other countries) fish resources. SA Govt does nothing. Off course they won’t….purchased govt ministers need to live well.

At least South Africa ( and some of the powers that be) are doing something about our robbed economy…what and where are the stolen billions taken by Mugabe and his cohorts? Anybody doing anything about finding this? It appears not – too busy fighting for Brexit, Impeachment and against Chinese oppression. No one cares….let that be a warning!

I think these people should have thought about this when they pushed Ian Smith out.
The world is tired of the sad faces and cupped hands!
See SA in the next 20 years. It will be the same thing.

Agreed; and in Afrikaans; “Kry vir julle”. Or Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does”.

All because of the depot, Bob Mugabe. They got what they wanted, the vote, but lost everything else! They only have themselves to blame.

The African concept that the Tribal Chief controls the wealth and the people exist to serve is alive and well here and all over the continent. And unlikely to change it seems.

Even here in supposedly Westernised South Africa. Ugh!

End of comments.


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