Danger: Zimbabwe is harmful to health

Is it any wonder we are all confused? The state media says one thing – which is mostly very far from the truth – and independent voices say another, not always true either.

Human rights defenders, lawyers and doctors and nurses who helped the injured  – shot, or beaten, or mauled by dogs or raped –  are accused of being Western-funded agents of regime change who will be rooted out. Mr Mugabe’s stringent media laws are going to be repealed, we are told, but there is  little question fair-minded journalists will not be spared new controls. Then “ …they came for the journalists and we don’t know what happened after that.”

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IMG_1037I haven’t witnessed  such frightening images of masked faces since my days of reporting on civil wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia. Scary as hell that we thought back then we would never see in ‘peace-loving’  Zimbabwe

Throughout history, rape has been used by the powerful to terrorise, subjugate and traumatise. Oppah Muchinguri says she was raped by the Selous Scouts. Did she report it to the authorities of the day as current victims have been told to do?

The admirable writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga says it took her nearly a decade to come to terms with the horror and humiliation of being raped. It is well documented, too, that teenage girls who crossed into Mozambique and Tanzania to join the struggle were forced to become the concubines of commanders in the training camps.

Information minister Mrs Mutsvangwa says Mr Mnangagwa’s remarks about wanting to “crush his enemies”  were distorted into false news by the independent press and social media. He simply warned that the government would emphatically deal with those bent of destabilising the country in future.

But their very own Sunday Mail had quoted him saying at the Mwenezi rally the day before: “We are going after those doctors and nurses.”

IMG_1013The Chinese are going to build a new $40 million parliament at Mount Hamden – is this vanity and ‘big man’ syndrome  when the hospitals don’t have the basics in essential drugs, surgical gloves, drips and functioning medical equipment? Even radiographers complain their ancient X-ray machines are leaking radiation.

If all these woes are not conducive for general health and wellbeing, our roads, traffic junctions and highways are more dangerous than ever before.

In her book Nervous Conditions, judged among the best contemporary writing in modern times, Tsitsi Dangarembga describes how as child she travelled for the first time  in a motor vehicle and asked the driver why he drove on the left on the way to Mutare when he had the whole road to make use of. Oncoming traffic – very little of it in those days, of course – uses the other side, came the answer. 

Ill-disciplined, reckless and stressed Zimbabwean drivers now no longer observe the simplest rules of the road evolved for safety since the internal combustion engine was invented.

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