Dear Family and Friends,

Under a scorching sun in a deep blue November sky where we are gasping for rain, the ‘imposter’ madness came to my home town this week in the most ridiculous situation which continues to purge Zimbabwe of the last shreds of democracy. “Thank you for the support. I have been recalled by the imposter.”  Those were the bizarre words that popped up on my phone one day this week; they came from our local Ward Councillor, elected by us, three months ago, sworn in and already at work in the town.

Every morning for the past six weeks we’ve woken up wondering if we’ll find that the officials we voted for will still be in office or if they’ll be out on the streets, expelled by an ‘imposter’ claiming to be the Secretary General of the opposition CCC party. The ‘imposter,’ Sengezo Tshabangu, who seems to be untouchable, has somehow managed to use his false claim of being the CCC Secretary General to have everyone from Senators and MPs to Mayors and Municipal Councillors expelled from office claiming that they are no longer members of the CCC party. Every time the ‘imposter’ comes up with another list of expulsions the Speaker of the National Assembly has been informed and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have been advised of vacancies in office requiring the holding of by-elections. Here’s the carnage so far:

10 Oct 14 CCC MPs expelled from office; 8 Nov Harare Mayor, deputy Mayor and 7 CCC Councillors expelled; 11 Nov 5 CCC Senators expelled; 14 Nov 18 CCC MPs expelled; 20 Nov 5 CCC Chinhoyi Councillors expelled; 21 Nov 5 CCC Marondera Councillors expelled.

In six weeks we’ve lost: 32 MPs, 5 Senators, 1 Mayor, 1 Deputy Mayor and 17 Councillors. A couple subsequently escaped expulsion when their names were spelt incorrectly on the expulsion orders but all are elected officials, voted for by citizens in the August 2023 elections. All have been expelled from office by an ‘imposter’ who is not the Secretary General off the CCC but whose false claim has been upheld by the Speaker of Parliament. I am sure you are shaking your head in disbelief reading this; so are we living in it. The first batch of by-elections instigated by the actions of an ‘imposter’ are scheduled for the 9th of December.   

While all this has been going on Zimbabwe is however even more preoccupied with the electricity, water and disease crisis which is making normal living all but impossible. Electricity cuts lasting 12–20 hours a day are crippling industry, agriculture, business and domestic life. Generators are again roaring outside on pavements in urban and residential areas and the ripple effects lead one way only: straight to our pockets as prices of everything rise to cover the cost of fuel and private electricity generation. Because there is no power for such prolonged periods, water pumping is grossly insufficient to meet our needs and digging wells, carrying buckets and filling containers with water wherever we can find it is our daily preoccupation. This water crisis has also led only one way and that is to disease. A cholera outbreak has infected over 8,000 people so far.  The Head of Epidemiology in Harare City Council said in western districts of Harare 100% of wells and 50% of boreholes are contaminated with E. coli and the Harare Residents Trust say that only 48.4% of urban households have access to basic water services which may or not be free from fecal or chemical contamination.

Zimbabwe is running ever faster back into the dark ages but you’ve still got to find something to smile about, or perhaps grimace about and this week it’s this: Remember the story of the woman caught red handed at Harare airport with hand luggage stuffed with 6kgs of gold back in 2020, the woman who said she’d picked up the wrong bag when she left home. Three years later a Judge has found her guilty, saying her defence was implausible. Ms Rushwaya faced 12 months in prison or a fine of US$5,000. She chose the fine, of course. Five thousand dollars for US$333,000 worth of gold in her handbag, smack your wrist.

There is no charge for this Letter From Zimbabwe but if you would like to donate please visit my website. Until next time, thanks for reading this Letter From Zimbabwe now in its 23rd year, and my books about life in Zimbabwe, a country in waiting.

Ndini shamwari yenyu (I am your friend)

Love Cathy 24th November 2023. Copyright © Cathy Buckle

All my books are now available on Amazon and Kindle The hardback edition of my evocative Photo-books: “Zimbabwe’s Timeless Beauty” (the 2021, 2022 and 2023 collections) and my Beautiful Zimbabwe Calendar for 2024 are available exclusively on LULU Please visit my website for further details, to contact me or to see pictures that accompany these letters