Zimbabwe's Collapse Continues As Parties Bicker : Here Are The Strategies And The Proof
While little boys and girls like these are being drilled in military fashion and indoctrinated, they are getting no education as Mugabe plays out a complex strategy to show up Morgan Tsvangirai. It means that these kids, who are supposed to build a new Zimbabwe, are not being equipped to do a good job of it. With or without the Inclusive Government, Zimbabwe is regressing and not advancing. It is only getting worse
Harare, Zimbabwe, 09 September 2009
Zimbabwe's lost generation is about to be added to this year.
Despite blaring headlines in the state newspaper, The Herald, saying "Teachers Commended For Their Stance", these teachers have not gone back to work.
The government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe is in a quandary, because the stoppage of work by teachers reflects badly on both parties. It reflects especially bad on the MDC, which had started pointing to the "return of teachers to classrooms" as one of their achievements since forming the Unity Government with Mugabe.
However, the continued suffering of teachers also reflects badly on ZANU PF.
This explains the rush by the state media to report that the strike had been resolved.
Although ZANU PF and Mugabe are behind the strike in order to "fix" the MDC (a strategy that I exposed on this blog a couple of months ago, before it had even been implemented), he can not come out publicly to support the strike action.
After all, this is still his government, one in which, as he told his Central Committee in February this year, "we are firmly in charge and we will not tolerate any nonsense from our new partners in government."
So, in essence, as the MDC, which controls the ministry of education under which these teachers fall (which is why they are meeting with MDC-M minister of education David Coltart), flounders, Mugabe is sitting there snickering and covertly cheering on the teachers.
Publicly, he endorses the suicidal handling of the teachers by the MDC ministers. He is, in fact, cheering on the MDC as it digs its own grave.
As I write now, the tactics of intimidation, where teachers and doctors on strike are fired in order to send a message to others, has actually worked against the Inclusive Government.
Teachers, fearing that they would be fired, have returned to school, but just today, I went to a High School in a Southern Township here in Harare where I saw with my own eyes how teachers are dealing with this.
They show up for work, but then they sit in the Staff Room all day, until it is time to knock off.
They do not conduct any lessons at all.
The same applies to doctors and nurses.
With doctors and nurses, however, it is different. They have not stopped work altogether, but are on what is an unofficial "Go-Slow"
It means they attend to a middling fraction of the patients they usually do, lingering on each patient, taking their time before calling in the next one and so on.
As a result of the above actions by teachers and doctors/nurses:
Children are not being taught even as the year-end exams approach. Form Four Students (High School) are especially hard hit, because these are the most important exams of their lives. These are exams that will determine their future and what sort of life they live, what sort of families they raise, what sort of Zimbabwe they will build in the future.
Sick people are dying, those who do not die are having their suffering and pain prolonged as doctors and nurses send them back home untreated at the end of the day, asking them to come in the next day. They come back early, hoping to be seen and if they are lucky, they are seen.
Add to this the fact that, as we were told today by high-ranking officials at the Government Hospitals, patients are being asked to pay for every single thing used on them for treatment. (So, Health For All is dead, then?!) and you realise that, with +90% unemployment, a lot of people are dying simply because they are poor.
But more alarming is the fact that, even though the government is now getting revenue from charging patients at its hospitals for every little thing, this revenue is disappearing and not being reinvested into the hospitals.
Doctors told us today that they still turn people who have to be operated on away because of lack of equipment.
They still face massive drugs and medication shortages. The doctors we spoke to today said the Government hospitals have got less than 50% of the medication they need in the hospitals.
"Sometimes, only when you want to give a patient an injection do you get told by the Sister that the medication is not there."
They gave the example of World Vision and other NGOs who they say are trying to supply drugs and medication to the hospitals, but this is apparently so inadequate that the more than 50% shortage results.
It is sad state of affairs, really.
Zimbabwe is nowhere near the recovery that is being touted by those desperate to make the world believe that they are competent.
But I guess, when you have been sitting in puddle of sewage for ten years, sitting in a puddle of mud can be seen as an improvement. This is what is happening in Zimbabwe.