Tsvangirai To Spend US$5 million On "Retreat" As Services Collapse, Hunger Runs Riot In Zimbabwe

With Zimbabweans like the ones above in Glen Norah continuing to queue for water from boreholes in cities across the country, the government of Morgan Tsvangirai is planning a US$5 million retreat to review their 100-day wishlist, which has brought not a single benefit to the people.

Harare, Zimbabwe, August 19 2009

The government of Morgan Tsvangirai is to spend US$5 million on a "retreat" in Nyanga even as Harare begs for a mere US$3 million to get it back on its feet.

The "retreat" is being held to "brainstorm" the 100-day plan that was unveiled by Tsvangirai after yet another retreat, which was held in Victoria Falls some three months ago.

The retreat came up with laughable targets for ministries, some of which included such banal targets as "hiring a consultant".

None of the targets set by Tsvangirai's government have been met.

State media has been having a field day with the failures, apparently unaware of the fact that playing up these failures is also a reflection on the failures of ZANU PF. Their aim is imply to discredit MDC-T and Morgan Tsvangirai.

While it is true that the failure can be blamed largely on Tsvangirai as the person who, in his own words, is "responsible for policy formulation and implementation", ZANU PF and Mugabe are also equally to blame.

But more worrying for me is the cavalier attitude to the people's suffering. Doctors are on strike in Zimbabwe and are refusing to go back to work because they are unhappy about their salaries.

Power cuts continue to commit economic genocide in the ranks of our companies, there is no water in the cities and towns and NGOs are warning that the onset of the rainy season will see a resurgence of cholera.

Yet with all this happening, Tsvangirai and his "policy formulation" find enough money to send hordes of people to a "retreat" in Nyanga?

This retreat, by the way, will involve, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Principal Directors in every ministry. These will also bring their own hangers-on to the retreat. They must all be housed in plush hotels, fed and given "stipends".

There is a cost involved in their travel as well, since, as Tendai Biti has already revealed, they will hire cars at exorbitant rates from the government's own garage, CMED. There is fuel to be put in those cars.....

It is a crying shame and as one western diplomat said to me yesterday: "The interests of the MDCs and those of ZANU PF are now not distinguishable."

We are stuck with this lot for the next five years, can you imagine. And all because both Tsvangirai and Mugabe are afraid to go and face people with the stink of incompetence and administrative negligence wafting about them.

They all grow fat from feasting on the carcass of Zimbabwe while children, civil servants, workers, the rural poor, old men and women suffer from lack of even a single dollar with which to buy bread.

The 100-day wishlist remains just that - a wishlist, unfulfilled, with no hope of change on the horizon because this government prefers to beg than work the gold and diamond mines we have in this country.

Our diamonds at Chiadzwa, if you were to get serious about them, would fund the entire US$8 billion that Tendai Biti says is needed to revive this country.

Yet these diamonds are being left at the mercy of Gideon Gono and Grace Mugabe and the armed forces, used to fund the death squads that still roam the countryside in Zimbabwe threatening MDC supporters.

Five years can not come soon enough, and then this three-headed monster called the Inclusive Government will be out on its ear.

That's how angry people have become. No amount of dirty tricks with the independent media is going to fill the empty stomachs of unemployed Zimbabweans.


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