Monday, November 24, 2008

The African way of running a country

When I read articles like these, I realise that there is genuinely no hope for South Africa.

Already we see and experience on literally a daily basis how our infrastructure is crumbling in each and every respect - without exception.

I remember watching a TV show sometime ago where tourists travel down Africa, eventually to reach SA.

What I found really disturbing and an eye opener was the fact that you could see more or less when the colonial governments pulled out. There were no changes or improvements whatever to the infrastructure of the countries - merely decay. Particularly fascinating was a train in an ex British colony - I think it may have been Sudan - the Brits imported and nothing had been done to it. Basics such as electricity, toilets, etc; had not worked for decades.

The inescapable fact is that when the white leaves, Africa reverts to its base nature. And the higher the number of whites getting out, the more rapid the rate of decomposition...

Which reminds me of that joke doing the rounds.

The old Black Zimbo Mugabe supporter is sitting in his derelict house which he liberated from a white in the good old days, when suddenly a light bulb flickers and and there is a rumble in the water pipes. Quick!! He shouts to his wife - Bring my AK47! The whites are back!!

While Zimbabwe's politicians seek out new issues over which to pick fights week after week, the rest of us have to deal with the demands of living in a country with no real government.

A friend died last week after his family failed to raise the required R130 000 for emergency surgery at a private clinic. Then the funeral parlour wanted R12 000 before it would release his body for burial. And even when the money was finally paid, the two men in orange overalls at the entrance to the council graveyard wanted R300 to allow us to bury him.

On Monday my niece's boarding school emailed me to say: "Please collect your children before the end of the week." The school can no longer feed them, the school head said, and there are no teachers left either.

Zimbabwe has drifted along without an effective government for close to a year now and with nobody taking responsibility and no new budgets flowing to stricken state institutions, the results of a wasted year are beginning to show.

The economy was always in crisis but over the months, during which political leaders have haggled over government posts in five-star hotels the collapse of the country's social services has accelerated.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF appear unconcerned, while the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is happy to see the decline continue, calculating that a deepening crisis can only strengthen its hand. And so the decay eats ever deeper and the bickering continues.

This week Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu angered the MDC when he announced that his party had unilaterally completed a draft of constitutional amendments required to get the frail power-sharing deal working. This stoked tempers that had already been heated after the decision by the MDC's national council not to join immediately in a coalition with Mugabe. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile, is travelling across Europe "consulting", his party said.

As the rows rumble on, the true extent of the human cost of the stand-off is now beginning to emerge. A cholera outbreak has ripped through Harare's poor townships, where months of state and local government neglect have left burst sewer pipes flowing and waste piled up on the streets.

The disease is already spilling across the borders, with reports of patients admitted to hospitals in Musina.

Late on Sunday evening in Budiriro, a Harare township, dozens gathered quietly outside the gates of a small clinic, anxious for news of family admitted there. Government says more than 100 people have died since the outbreak two weeks ago. Critics put the death toll much higher and claim that there has been an official cover-up.

The hospital is overflowing -- early on Wednesday morning dozens of patients were sheltering from the heavy rain under tents outside the building. New arrivals here have reached 40 a day and doctors say all clinics are running out of space.

Doctors for Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), who are now helping to run the hospital, say more than a million people are at risk of contracting cholera if the outbreak is not contained immediately.

Doctors see the health crisis as the most visible sign of the neglect that has set in since the political stand-off between Zanu-PF and the MDC began. Last week the city's two biggest hospitals, Harare Hospital and Parirenyatwa, nearly shut down.

Meanwhile a planned visit by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, former United States president Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel to investigate Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis has been "temporarily" postponed.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said this week that Zanu-PF leaders were too involved with negotiating with the MDC and with "preparing for the new farming season" to have time to meet the delegation.

1 Opinion(s):


A looking glass of the situation in South Africa in about 10 to 14
years time max. I feel sorry for all the old whites and especially for the white youngsters.