27 July 2009: Attempts to Harass and Frustrate Mavambo Start?

After the All Stakeholders Conference on the Constitution, the National Constitutional Conference (NCA) has now convened its own All Peoples Congress on the Constitution. It started today and there were no kind words for Mugabe or Tsvangirai in that hall.

Had a visit today from a resident of the Pfungwe area in Zimbabwe and he told me something that would be funny if it were not so sad. This is the area where an MDC supporter was beaten so thoroughly a week or so back, that she can hardly speak.

Apparently, the "talk" amongst ZANU PF hardcores is: "Makabatana kutown ikoko, kwete kunoku" - meaning, "Your unity applies only in the towns, not out here."

Mugabe's party enjoys crushing majorities in the area and has done so since Independence. Last year, for the March elections, Mugabe had the bright idea of splitting the area into three constituencies, thereby gaining three seats where he would have got just one.

But that was aside.

Now, two things:

First, sometime during the weekend (today being Monday 27 July 2009), the Mavambo Head Office in Harare was completely cut off from the communications system. All our six lines went dead. Our Internet connection disappeared.

This is still the case now. There were promises from TelOne today to "look into it and attend to the fault" this morning. And that was the last we heard of the matter.

So here we sit, unable to get phone calls on our lines just at the moment the phone was ringing off the hook with people seeking to find out where and when the structures in their provinces will be set up.

Dr Makoni, who usually works at the offices into the dark of night today ended up leaving early. Thank goodness for cellphones, although those who were calling mine today got a message that "this number is no longer in service", even as I chatted merrily away with people that I had called on that very same number.

It may well be that we are all falling victim to the decay of infrastructure which this Inclusive Government is failing to make a dent in. It may well be a sign of the times in which Zimbabwe lives.


But what is clear is that the "fault" comes at such a crucial moment for the party. And those next door to us had no problems at all with their phone lines.

And then there's the second thing.

There was pandemonium, anger and even consternation amongst civil servants today when they went to the bank to pick up their "salaries" as announced by Tendai Biti.

I was first alerted to this when a group of young men stormed into our offices today demanding to register as members of the party.

It was they who told of queues from here to Kingdom Come at the banks. It appears there is an administrative glitch or the government simply does not have enough money to fund its wage bill. Worse, when they got their money, they discovered that their new "salaries were US$115 after deductions.

Doctors apparently managed to net a grand total of no more than US$200. Meantime, complained the group, prices had already gone up in anticipation of the "windfall" about to befall the civil servants of Zimbabwe (all quarter of a million of them, plus dependants).

They are sick of it all, as can be expected. And we were more than happy to welcome them, because a country in the 21st century should not be living like this. All that is needed is the will. The political will. Right now, none of the incumbents can muster it.

Meantime, Madhuku and Friends have started an All People's Convention on the Constitution. There were no kind words there for Mugabe or Tsvangirai, especially as it now emerges (reported on in the State Newspapers yesterday) that JOMIC, comprising senior ministers from ZANU PF and the two MDCs have decided that the Kariba Draft, that tyranny in ink, be adopted as the basis for a new constitution.

Of course, the thing will be defeated, and with it both Mugabe and his Prime Minister.

I myself can hardly wait.


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