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A dictatorship-made disaster
John Makumbe
March 15, 2007

While it is correct to state that what has happened cannot be undone, it is equally correct to argue that we have a serious responsibility as social analysts to examine the Dzivarasekwa disaster and identify some of its causes in order to prevent similar disasters from befalling our nation in future.

In the process we have no choice but to point fingers and apportion blame, and that is not a bad thing to do. The disaster that resulted in the loss of at least 36 lives must be blamed squarely on the Mugabe regime, which has run down the Zimbabwean economy to the extent that we have now all been reduced to a nation of vendors. The majority of people who lost their lives at 5:30 in the morning of that fateful day were on their way to Mbare Musika to buy fruit and vegetables for re-sale in order to earn some money to look after their families.

With the economy on its knees, there is little formal employment. The informal sector seems to be the only method for most people to keep body and soul together these days. With most men out of formal employment, it is often left to the women to source fruit and vegetables and sell them in their neighbourhoods.

Even there, vendors are often harassed by the notorious Zanu (PF) Repressive Police (ZRP), who confiscate produce without compensating the poor people, whom they regarded as illegal vendors. Needless to say, the ZRP bandits often help themselves to the confiscated produce which they take home to feed their own families.

It is the Mugabe regime that has destroyed the national infrastructure to the extent that the railway booms and red lights that used to warn road users of approaching trains have disappeared from our railroad crossings. It is virtually impossible to find one operational railroad crossing boom and lights set in Harare today.

There has not been any apology from the brainless Minister of Transport for the disaster, even though it is clearly his ministry's responsibility to ensure that those who use the roads and the railway lines are protected from accidents such as happened last week.

It is ridiculous for the Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises to pledge to keep the businesses of the deceased going. Is the failed Minister Nyoni going to engage Green Bombers to source and sell fruit and vegetables for the families of the victims?

Finally, it is obvious that the commuter omnibus was grossly over-loaded. Here again, the demonic Mugabe regime is to blame - for it is the one that has destroyed the once-viable public transport system we used to have in this country. Every transport operator knows that the blood-sucking ZRP traffic police will not be on the roads early in the morning. This is the right time to maximise the daily earnings, as well as to generate enough money to purchase fuel for the omnibus to operate the rest of the day. The government-subsidised fuel that the regime used to provide stopped flowing as long ago as December 2006. There is therefore a sort of desperation to maximise passengers, even though this often results in failure to control the vehicle.

Indeed, the Mugabe regime has a lot to answer for, including the killing of innocent people simply trying to eke out a living. The blood of all the Dzivarasekwa victims will forever be a stain on the bloody hands of the Mugabe regime.

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