By Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
For some two weeks during the stolen festive season, I spent tenuous days in my rural hood at Tamborenyoka village in Domboshava and saw for myself the disastrous effects of the economic disaster (ED) currently enveloping the nation.
Whole families are surviving on less that US$0.35 cents a day; the rural fold can hardly afford a meal a day; the health crisis has wreaked untold havoc and the desperation out there has become so palpable as to expose the cluelessness of the illegitimate regime (mis)managing the nation’s affairs.
At Chirodzero shopping centre, popularly known as paShowground in Domboshava, a bundle of vegetables is going for 120 RTGS, meaning even those who wish to take up ED’s command vegetables and potatoes programme can hardly afford. A teacher’s salary can only buy him a few bundles of vegetables, assuming his family requirements hover around vegetables alone.
During the so-called festive season, I saw families scrounging for maize meal. The rains that have just started falling have only begun tearing apart the roads, never mind that when the chronic and scarfed liar Mnangagwa came to Domboshava in July 2019, he promised tarred roads in the area, including to my rural home in own Shumba ward in the area.
It does not help that cattle have died in my rural area, a farming community known for supplying vegetables and other garden products to Harare. Denda Township in Domboshava, some 40 kilometres from Harare’s Main Post Office is now Z$80.
Over Christmas, Nyaure business centre near my own rural village was virtually deserted. Villagers could hardly afford a “scud” of opaque beer. There was hardly any festive mood as despondent villagers and farmers looked skywards, hoping God would not slap his own sanctions, given the scarce rains that only began meaningfully falling in early January.
Even at church, congregants could not afford tithe for their God. The endemic poverty and helplessness was palpable even at my own AFM Redemption Centre at Nyaure and the best we could only do was pray to our God to bless our despondent nation.
Teachers, nurses and the rest of the civil service are wallowing in dire poverty and most of them are always mildly gesticulating as they converse with themselves, in rapt wonderment of where they will get their next meal. I saw it for myself during my interactions with teachers and nurses in my own rural hood.
An uncle of mine, Jameson Gombera, fell sick one evening early this month and we failed to get any form assistance at the nearby Nyaure clinic. We spent hours hooting at the clinic gate and no one woke up, only for the nurses to tell us the following day that they were not only severely incapacitated they could now even wake up! Even if they wanted to assist, they had virtually nothing there, including basics such as painkillers and condoms.
In any case, so they said, even if they had the medication, they could not risk the prospect of waking up for machete-wielding maShurugwi, who are now demanding groceries from family homes, even medication in our poorly stocked infirmaries and rural clinics for sale afterwards.
This regime virtually pick-pocketed the last festive season, the rural folk are suffering while most in our rural communities can hardly afford school fees.
At my own rural school at Tsatse primary and secondary schools, apart from the prohibitive fees which most rural fold cannot afford the schools are demanding a host of books as well as a ream of bond paper from each school child, which most of my despondent kinsmen cannot afford.
There is endemic poverty in the country and the rural folk are heavily stressed, with high blood pressure now a common ailment in the rural countryside.
Even the few who only some 18 months ago were gingerly shouting “ED Pfee” have now been silenced by the grim but sonorous economic reality of our time.
It is a hell of an economic disaster (ED).
So much for the new dispensation.
Zimbabwe is open for death poverty and suffering.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy National Spokesperson of the MDC. He is a multiple award winning journalist and an ardent political scientist who won the Book Prize for best student when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe. You can interact with him on Facebook or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.