Letters: I can’t keep quiet anymore


I HAVE been teaching in Zimbabwe for 43 years and wherever I have taught I have tried to instil values along with my subject. My heart is sore at the suffering of ordinary people in this country from all walks of life and I felt compelled to share this poem by Miriam Teichner, which I have adapted slightly as a message to those who run our beloved country for their own benefit.

I was hungry and you blamed it on the West;

I was hungry and you invested in a satellite to circle the earth;

I was hungry and you told me to wait;

I was hungry and you set up a commission;

I was hungry and you said: “So were my ancestors”;

I was hungry and you said: “We need to buy new cars”;

I was hungry and you said: “God helps those . . .”;

I was hungry and you told me I shouldn’t be;

I was hungry and you told me machines do that work now;

I was hungry and you had defence bills to pay;

I needed salary increment and you forced me to join Teachers for ED;

I was hungry and you said: “The poor are always with us.”

Lord, when did we see You hungry?

God — let us be aware!

Stab our souls fiercely with others’ pain.

Let us walk seeing horror and stain.

Let our hands, groping, find other hands’

Give us the courage, wounded, to fight,

Flood us with knowledge, drench us with light,

Please keep us eager just to do our share.

God — let us be aware! -Teacher

Violence, intimidation: Fate for Zim ahead of 2023 elections

ON October 22 2022, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) deployed observers in three out of six by-election sites, namely Guruve RDC ward 4, Mutare Municipality ward 4 and Insiza RDC ward 4 to observe by-elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) had scheduled by-elections for October 22, 2022 to fill vacancies arising in Buhera RDC ward 24; Guruve RDC ward 4; Insiza RDC ward 4; Matobo RDC ward 2; Takawira (RDC) ward 6 and Mutare Municipality ward 18, following the death of incumbent councillors in those respective areas.

The ERC notes that the by-election sites were marred by pre-election violence and intimidation which extended to the election day. Cases of violence were noted in Insiza and Matobo. Highlighting the violence was the attack on Member of Parliament Jasmine Toffa (CCC) and campaign team by alleged Zanu PF activists on October 17, 2022 in the Insiza RDC ahead of the by-election. The ERC also received a report of an attack by suspected Zanu PF youths on Mutare ward 18 candidate Nyasha Machekeche (NCA) on October 21, 2022.

The ERC noted that the sites of the by-elections were also plagued by potential corruption, especially from the ruling party because they were handing out fertiliser in Guruve RDC days before the by-election. ERC also observed that on election day,

Zanu PF set up “information desks” outside polling stations in Guruve and Insiza collecting information from prospective voters, potentially intimidating and unduly influencing the electorate

While polling was largely peaceful, the ERC continues to be concerned that the political environment is not conducive for a free and fair election in 2023. Therefore, the ERC emphasizes the need for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the ZImbabwe Human Rights Commission to take tangible steps in holding perpetrators to account.

The ERC notes that unless electoral reforms are implemented, the 2023 Harmonised elections will result in yet another disputed election, marred with violence. The ERC also highlights the piecemeal principles that the Cabinet approved, although they fall short of the required level of reforms for a free, fair, and credible election.

Less than a year before the 2023 elections, the ERC recommends the following:

To the government of Zimbabwe:

lEnsure that government inputs are not used politically as campaigning tools during elections.

lGovernment must take tangible action against the manifestation of violence and intimidation in the pre-election, election and post-election period.

To Parliament of Zimbabwe:

lWide consultation of election stakeholders on reforms and the immediate implementation before the 2023 harmonised elections.

To the citizens of Zimbabwe:

lTo practise political and electoral tolerance.

To the Zec:

lTo receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints.

To the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission:

lTo fully investigate the violence targeting Toffa ahead of the October 22.-ERC

Zesa must be innovative to avoid load-shedding

POWER utility, Zesa, has been perpetually giving excuses such as low generation and high consumption of electricity, caused by new connections in new suburbs, villages and factories and power theft. These are, however, lame excuses. The major causes of load-shedding are inefficiency, shortage of foreign currency and corruption.

Load-shedding always causes untold hardships to everyone.

It also damages electrical gadgets and there is always a rise in theft and robbery, not to mention the disturbances when someone is busy with important work or a project that requires electricity. This is depressing.

My advice to fellow Zimbabweans is that at the moment, we must exercise proper use of power, that is, using it sparingly and turn to solar energy.

At the same time, we expect Zesa to install new turbines to cope with the ever-increasing demand for electricity.-Tinei Tozvireva


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