Jane and I are all set for our “circular” walk. It’s sad that driver Markus won’t be here –but since we’ll be sleeping in our own beds at home this year, we can’t justify his presence. He will be much missed.
As ever, we are walking for Zimbabwe’s poor. This is the eleventh year I’ve said that the state of Zimbabwe couldn’t possibly get any worse – and lo and behold, once again it is! The future looks grim. Through government incompetence and gross corruption, Zimbabwe’s inflation is soaring above 600 per cent. It’s not as if we haven’t been here before. It’s often said that the first sign of madness is doing the same stupid thing time after time, hoping to get a different result. The Zimbabwe government is proving how true this bleak proposition is.
A friend asked me a couple of dynamite questions. The first was this: why is it that Singapore, a country founded more or less at the same time as Zimbabwe, yet possessing none of its natural advantages – such as tourism or agricultural potential, or mineral riches – is today one the richest nations on Earth? It’s a country that can afford to provide superb facilities of health, education and social services to its people, yet Zimbabwe is a world-class economic ruin, the bulk of its people reduced to beggary.
And the next question was this: why did no media outlet dare to comment when Zimbabwe turned into one of the most racist countries on Earth? From 1999, some 4,000 farmers were ripped from their farms wholly because of the colour of their skin. That was the finding some years ago of black judges in the South African court in Namibia – the findings in Mike Campbell’s case. This ruling has never been challenged. Why the media silence?
Now to the present circumstances…
It’s been fine for Jane and me for we live in a nice house, we have a close family and we’ve been married forever. We are aware that all this is diamond-rare.
We are living in extraordinary times and the country is racking up vast bills. Do you recall the 2010 Conservative election slogan: “Dad’s nose. Mum’s eyes. Gordon Brown’s debt.”? Our grandchildren will have to pay our vast Covid debts. Will ZANE survive when, as we all know, “charity starts at home”?
Back to the walk: new Meindl boots, new sunglasses. We are as fit as can be, considering we should be exhibits in the Antiques Roadshow. But for many, ZANE is their only hope of survival. There’s no NHS or social services in Zimbabwe, and unemployment is 95 per cent. The majority of the most able of the young have long since left, leaving the less able and elderly behind.
So we walk: looking after the poor is what ZANE is all about.
Many of my blog items are penned late in the evening when I am tired and often out of sorts. I try and concentrate on the five subjects that are of most interest to me: sex, money, religion, politics and death. Occasionally, I stray off these topics. Of course, I can only guess as to the political complexion of ZANE supporters so I have to take some care. I spent most of my political life thinking I was centre left: today, perhaps the tide has shifted leaving me more or less beached on the centre right.
You may not agree with my views, and that’s fine, for the hallmark of a free country is the right to disagree and even to give offence. But please go on reading. I try not to “do” party politics but sometimes I can’t resist the odd snide comment. However, I’ve been as critical of the Conservatives in recent years as of any other party!
Please also appreciate that the views in this commentary are mine and mine alone. They don’t represent the views of anyone who works for ZANE or the body of the trustees.
Further, this commentary is not a self-important indulgence on my part but – to my surprise – generates far more revenue than the cost of printing and dispatch.
So, if you have already sponsored us, “thank you”. And if not, please do so!