2 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Fiddling While Nation Burns

Photo: The Herald
Simba Chikore weds Bona Mugabe.


President Robert Mugabe has been very busy with personal matters over the past few days.

He travelled to Singapore for an eye surgery, and then returned home a day before his 90th birthday celebrations were held in Marondera.

In front of thousands of well-wishers, Mugabe ate cake and smiled as bootlicking officials wished him long life.

Yesterday he and his wife, Grace, were immaculately dressed at their mansion in Borrowdale Brooke where their daughter Bona wedded Simba Chikore in front of 4 000 distinguished guests.

Mugabe, like any father, deserves to celebrate in style when his daughter weds. We however believe it would have been more appropriate for Mugabe to at least have toured the disaster zone in Tokwe-Mukosi before he held a US$1 million birthday party.

Images of a president partying non-stop when 18 000 citizens of his country have lost their homes, does not bode well for someone who purports to care for his people. It gives the impression of a leader who has lost touch with his people. One who does not care.

The suffering Tokwe-Mukosi villagers did not commit any crime; they were victims of the flooding that took place about a month ago and urgently need shelter, food, water and clothing. Their children have not been attending school and they are desperate for government assistance.

Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, the minister of state for Provincial Affairs in Masvingo, last Tuesday summed up the dire state of affairs in Masvingo.

"We need 19 626 more tents to provide effective temporary shelter to families already at Chingwizi and the less than 900 remaining in the [Tokwe-Mukosi] basin," he said.

"There is also a deficit of 1 803 tonnes of maize to enable us to feed the families considering that they will need food assistance over the next 12 months."

Above all, these families need to be resettled as a matter of urgency, so that they can rebuild their lives.

Now that Mugabe is done with the birthday and wedding parties, we sincerely hope he will have time to visit Chingwizi transit camp in Nuanetsi and meet the people who desperately need his help.

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