Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rural famine

The Hatfield krystalnacht cleanup has gotten the most publicity, but newspapers are now noticing the problem in the rural areas...which are "known" but not reported because no reporters are allowed in rural areas, and the mail/email are censored...

Brunapeg is typical of the drought-ravaged areas into which Mr Mugabe is driving the urban poor. The hospital and school rise out of the low scrub, the only buildings of any kind for miles around. Rusting petrol pumps stand idle at the filling station, there hasn't been a fuel delivery in Brunapeg for years.

"Now that people are being forced to come out here what's here for them? Nothing," says the Spanish doctor.

"There are so many people here who have never been into town. The only thing they know is to eat and to survive and now they can't even do that."

With the rural famine gaining lethal momentum, the gap between the political rhetoric of Mr Mugabe, in the capital, Harare, and the situation on the ground has reached surreal proportions....

The state now exercises total control over media and movement inside Zimbabwe. The last two dissenting voices, SW Radio Africa and the Daily News, have been forced to close. A recent headline in The Chronicle, a government mouthpiece, told its readers that Britain was following Zimbabwe's lead and demolishing up to 400,000 homes in a similar clean-up campaign.....

And then there is this report:
Army grabs five tonnes of staple maize-meal
Tue 28 June 2005

KAROI – Residents of this small farming town about 210 kilometres north-west of Harare were at the weekend left without maize-meal after soldiers of the army's 23 Infantry Battalion grabbed five tonnes of the staple meant for distribution in the town.

The maize-meal, a staple for more than 90 percent of Zimbabweans but in short supply in the country, had been delivered at the Karoi depot of the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and was the week’s allocation for the town.

But local retailers, who were at the depot to collect supplies for resell to residents, were left dumbfounded as a huge army truck pulled up at the depot and GMB managers ordered workers to load all the maize onto the truck.

"The allocation was meant for the town but we were told to load all the maize-meal onto the army truck much to our surprise," said a worker at the depot, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.

The maize was taken to Magunje barracks, 35 km west of Karoi.

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