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Monday, 2 July 2012

Cathy's newsletter from Zimbabwe

Cathy Buckle is writing from Zimbabwe, her letter is below.

Dear Family and Friends,

Front page headlines midweek screamed the shocking news that President Mugabe’s trip to Brazil was costing the country seven million US dollars. The President had gone to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to attend a UN summit on Sustainable Development. He was accompanied by a delegation of ninety two people.

The next day I attended a meeting along with perhaps forty others at our local Municipality. Called an ‘All Stakeholders’ meeting the idea was for local council officials to tell us what they were doing with our money every month and to give residents of the town a chance to publicly air their views. This was a meeting that had been requested by residents months ago and was finally happening. Only about twenty chairs had been provided for members of the public and for the first hour and a quarter people shuffled in and out. 

 At the start of the public part of the meeting residents were asked by the council to ‘keep emotions down’ but when it came our turn to talk there was an explosion of fireworks .‘You are failing to meet your obligations’ was the message repeated again and again by residents to the council officials. Roads are falling apart; litter is piling up; refuse is everywhere; the street lights haven’t worked for years; sewage blockages are everywhere; water is only available for a couple of hours a day, trees are being chopped down in every direction. 

Month after month residents pay for services that they aren’t receiving and this is one angry town. Even the representative from the War Veterans Association spoke for almost half an hour and said that our beautiful town had become a filthy growth point.

Most dramatic of all, however, was one statement which stuck in my mind. The Chamber Secretary said he was pleased to announce that the town’s budget for the year had been approved by Government. The budget for the whole year is 6.1 million dollars. The contrast between a town's entire annual budget being less than the cost of the President and his delegations trip to Brazil is dramatic. Less is more.

Until next time, thanks for reading,
23rd June 2012.

For information on my new book “IMIRE”, about Norman Travers and Imire Game Park, or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent Victims,” African Tears,” “Beyond Tears;” and “History of the Mukuvisi Woodlands 1910-2010”, or to subscribe/unsubscribe to this letter, please visit my website or contact

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