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Show of solidarity

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What do I write about this week?

It’s a question I pondered over for more than an hour as I sat in front of my blank laptop while time ticked quickly away.

There was so much on the news but I eventually settled on journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who almost lost his Boer goats to Zanu PF youths.

Indeed, he would have done had it not been for the support he got from fellow Zimbos.

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Chin’ono has proven to be a thorn in the flesh of the ruling party but a darling to the opposition, civil society, private media and ordinary citizens

On Sunday, scores of people gathered at Chin’ono’s home village in Murehwa, 75km from Harare, to stop Zanu PF youths from forcibly taking away the scribe’s livestock.

The former bought the goats in South Africa for breeding and seems to have been running the project for some time.

The ruling party’s youth leader, however, claimed Chin’ono had grabbed the goats donated by his party and thus mobilised some youths to go and forcibly take them back.

Chin’ono sympathisers, opposition leaders and some brave members of the civil society were having none of it. They went and formed a human shield at the premises ready to defend one of their own, who they felt was being harassed and intimidated for openly criticizing the regime and constantly exposing corruption.

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For me that was an incredible show of support. Even better, their mission was successful as they foiled the attempt to loot the goats of a scribe who is simply doing his job.
My attention was also drawn to our chaotic public transport sector.

Commuters, mainly in Harare and Bulawayo, literally saw flames on Tuesday as there were very few buses on the roads ferrying people.

What made the situation worse was the re-opening of schools as it meant more people requiring transport.

Before the government decided to run the sector through the state owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), it was not that bad.

Under the current set-up, things have swiftly deteriorated. The buses currently available seem insufficient to meet demand, at least judging by the long, winding queues of commuters that are always at the designated pick and drop off points.

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And all things equal, most of these buses would not be on the roads as they are clearly unroadworthy – but because they are ‘state run’ they are on the roads.

With winter now upon us, my heart goes out to students who use these buses to and from school as it means enduring the harsh cold while waiting in the open for transport. There is no guarantee of any warmth while inside as most of the buses are old and have no windows.

So much has been said about their state but who cares? Certainly not the government, it would seem!

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