Simba Makoni Meets Citizens
Dr Simba Makoni was in the city centre of Harare today, touring areas ranging from the Railways station on Kenneth Kaunda Avenue, First Street to Fourth Street.
He wanted to show the residents of Harare and others that it is not ALL their leaders who have forgotten their suffering. Although he is not party to that agreement signed on September 15, the requests that keep pouring into his offices at Old Mutual Centre in Harare clearly show a silent majority out there who have lost hope in the current scenario. Dr Makoni was especially concerned to meet the men and women who are bearing the brunt of the bickering currently going on between the negotiating parties. He saw people who had slept in queues. He saw mothers who had babies crying on their backs but who could do nothing about it because every scrap of food being sold in the country is now referenced to an exchange rate that makes eating a basic meal a luxury for 90% of our people.
Makoni was clearly touched by this. All he could do was offer hope. Most people were of the opinion that the leaders in Zimbabwe today are completely out of touch with what is happening to the people. If they knew, so said those met on this tour, they would realise that this country can not stand much longer.
"Taneta". "Zvichapera rini?" Zvichapera sei?" "Ko, chiiko chiri kunetsa?" "A-a-a zvanyanya izvi" - these were only some of comments encountered on this tour.
Others wanted to know when the party is being formed, how they can join and what they can do to help the movement. Yet others wanted to know if Dr Makoni could not help this process and "end our suffering".
Most people he met also sought the opportunity to find out what exactly was the reason for the malfunctioning of the banking system in Zimbabwe. They assumed that, since he was once Minister of Finance, he could explain to them why exactly they were suffering like this, since no one else seemed bothered to tell the people what the problem with the banking system was or how they plan to end it. They had pinned their hopes on the talks, but these have now floundered. People are confused and scared. Some actually said that the deaths we will see this year and early next year will be horrendous. HIV patients are not getting adequate funds to buy their medication and the healthy food that can help in fighting away the onset AIDS, children are not learning at the schools since teachers spend days on end in the queue trying withdraw the money that will not even pay for bus fare for two weeks.
Dr Makoni did explain that he has repeatedly offered advice to both parties in the negotiations. Some was taken on board, but some of it was also ignored. He made it clear that he is watching the process carefully and will not let an opportunity to end all this suffering pass him by. For now, the best he can do is forge ahead with the forming of a political party, to stand ready to bring real change to Zimbabwe, because change is not change unless it ends the people's suffering. This appears unlikely for the foreseeable future, mostly because of the obstinacy of people like Robert Mugabe.
In fact, as the sun baked the heads of babies in First Street in Harare, as grannies fainted in the queues at the banks, as cholera broke out across the towns and cities of Harare because they go for months without water, Robert Mugabe was in Uganda attending a meaningless meeting of COMESA, where he went straight from his flop in Swaziland, while the prime minister-designate is virtually a prisoner in Harare.
All the money spent on going to New York for the UN General Assembly, to Swaziland, Uganda, could have helped towards lessening our people's suffering. But that appears to be the least of Mugabe's concerns.
The people, however, will prevail. Of that we can be certain.
Dr Makoni is not a boardroom type of person. He enjoys being out and about, amongst the people. That is why he says he is not a politician. He insists that he is an activist and has been all his life. It is the reason he travelled the country by road during the campaign in March, visiting the most out-the-way places that never see a presidential candidate.