The above poster caught my attention as I queued patiently for fuel early on Tuesday morning.
I had woken up at 5am because more sleep could have resulted in being at the tail of the queue and failing to get diesel.
Being an early bird paid off as I only found five cars waiting.
So I sat and waited for a good two hours as the filling station only opened at 7am.
While we are used to such a life of queuing for fuel, it is never a pleasant activity as it is one of the many signs of a failed economy.
Fuel in Zimbabwe is expensive compared to our neighbouring countries as the current price is almost equivalent to P14 a litre and is constantly going up and thus one would expect improved supplies, but is it completely the opposite.
Anyway back to the poster. It actually did not surprise me that suicide cases are on the rise as the bleak situation here can really drive people into depression.
According to the story, 1, 641 took their lives in 2018 while 142 had already committed suicide in the first three months of 2019.
We have had to drastically adjust our lives as the cost of living continues to go up while incomes get eroded on a daily basis.
As I have written in previous columns, so many of us no longer have the luxury of three meals a day. We now have brunch and supper, drink water and go to bed.
For some, this and other challenges we are faced with can be a recipe for depression and disaster.
One of my aunts, who is a civil servant and a single parent, almost broke down when schools opened in January as ends refused to meet.
Fees at government secondary schools and universities are now more than salaries of most civil servants and for those with two or three school going children like my aunt, it means digging deep into pockets which are already empty.
Where does one get ZWL$5, 500 (about P2, 300) for school fees excluding other additional costs when they earn less than that?
These are scenarios that can drive people into hopelessness because here I am talking of school fees and not other costs such as rentals and utility bills.
When schools opened, it was reported that some teachers in areas where there were mopane worms were nowhere to be seen in class as they had joined those harvesting the worms for selling.
And honestly, who can blame them – desperate times call for desperate measures!
On a different note, cracks seem to be widening in the ruling Zanu PF Party.
On Monday, youth league leaders called for a presser where they accused one of Vice President Constatino Chiwenga’s allies, Kudakwashe Tagwirei of corruption and looting state resources.
The man has a vast business empire and literally controls the fuel sector.
This was seen as an indirect attack on the VP and in our local politics is a clear indication that all is not well at the top.
Let their fights begin!
Politicians clash over Covid-19 meeting
The fight against Covid-19 stepped into the periphery of partisan politics this week as the absence of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leaders sparked accusations and counter-accusations over their invitation to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s closed meeting.
UDC President, Duma Boko and party vice president, Dumelang Saleshando, were not part of the delegation that attended the three-hour long meeting.
Although Masisi stated that Boko, like other party leaders was invited, the UDC has vehemently denied the claim.
In a press release that was issued last night the UDC said. “We have noted the events that have been evolving around the Covid-19 pandemic, its a serious matter that requires all of us to work genuinely. We value and encourage national dialogue on important matters such as the fight against Covid 19. The truth is that the UDC president has not received any invitation from Office of the President and we call OP to provide proof.”
However, when the UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa was asked about calls made to him by OP, he said, ” I was asked about Boko’s whereabouts by Kaelo Molefe and I told him I was in Phikwe. I asked him to check him at his house. This morning I got another call from Professor Mpho Molomo who said he had Boko’s invitation to a meeting with President Masisi and I suggested that they go to his house, an address which is popular within the government enclave. I indicated to him that I had received a similar call from Kaelo Molefhe and he said he was with him. Kaelo knows where Boko stays having been his associate in the build-up to the 2014 General Elections. So quite frankly I doubt he would say he does not know Boko’s house. As regards Nick and Keorapetse I cannot comment on their behalf, ” explained Mohwasa last night.
Dithapelo Keorapetse too said that the OP was being playful. “Why would they contact me for DGB? They are aware of his PA, VP, Secretary General, Spokesperson and UDC NEC. These are the people from who to check him. Whoever wants the UDC President from me for official things is playing. The state has been to his house several times. How did they suddenly forget his place of abode? Even Kaelo knows Boko’s House from his UDC days, ” said Keorapetse.
The accusations did not go well with the BDP Chairman of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, who expressed concern that the UDC was turning a pandemic into a political mudsling.
He said that all efforts including calls, text, WhatsApp messages to Boko, Moeti, Keorapetse and Boko’s bodyguard were made without any success. “There is a communication trail to prove this. UDC must know when to come to the table and be patriotic on issues on national interest such as COVID-19, its very disappointing for a party calling themselves an alternative government to behave in this manner but Batswana are watching and we know they will punish them for this.”
BPF opposes 6 months State of Emergency
Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) president, Biggie Butale, yesterday broke ranks with other opposition leaders parties as a opposed a six-months long State of Emergency proposed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, at a closed meeting.
Although other party leaders such as the president of Botswana Movement for Democracy, Sidney Pilane, Vice president of Alliance for Progressives, Wynter Mmoltsi and Gaontebale Mokgosi of Real Alternative Party, supported Masisi’s move, BPF took a different stand. “State of Emergency must be used only in extreme circumstances and now we at BPF are not comfortable with it because once it becomes a habit, maybe in the future government may not be as kind as the current government and find an opportunity to abuse it.”
Butale however said that the meeting for all party leaders was useful and that it would go a long way in enhancing Botswana’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Masisi’s call for six months of State of Emergency follows the unrelenting global rise in coronavirus cases of which Botswana has since recorded.
Today Masisi was scheduled to meet cabinet and all members of Parliament as he continies to lobby for a six-months long State of Emergency.
The president has since explained that should the situation improves then they will stick to the initial 28-day lockdown plan which started on the 2nd and ends on April 30th.