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Tsvangirai, man who spat in communal well

Isdore Guvamombe Features Editor
Buhera District in Manicaland is by far one of the poorest districts in Zimbabwe. Intermittent droughts, erratic rainfall patterns and poor soils have condemned many villagers in Buhera into basket case scenario. In most cases, Buhera is tinder dry. There is not even enough for livestock to eat and drink.

In serious drought years, hunger stricken donkeys and goats have been seen gamboling on anything including, plastic bags and chicken, even.Yes, chicken.

For ordinary villagers, year-inyear- out, harvests have not been enough to last more than three months after the harvest. Theirs is a story of severe hunger and near starvation. It is poverty. Maize, the staple food, does not do well. Villagers also grow large grained millet called sorghum. On a swathe of land on the northern bank on Nyazvidzi River is a place of boulder- strewn hills and savannah thorn bush and overlooked by two distinct mountains, Bedza and Dzapasi.

A network of closely-linked homesteads form a village connected to various footpaths and each homestead consists mainly of one European style bedroom and an African kitchen hut. Other structures are additional and optional.

In one of the villages, Humanikwa, near Makanda Primary School was born one Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, to peasant father Dzingirai Chibwe and his wife Lydia in 1952. Tsvangirai was to become Prime Minister of Zimbabwe between 2009 and 2013, after being heavily backed by the British and Americans against President Mugabe's Zanu PF. Many villagers in Buhera had expected a lot from one of their own, but today, most of them are a disappointed lot.

They are very, very disappointed with Tsvangirai. The legacy he left in this village is nothing other than an irrigation scheme he established at his mother's home. There, by his own (Tsvangirai') admission, he is harvesting up to 10 tonnes of maize per hectare.

"The irrigation at my home in Buhera, I am harvesting 10 tonnes per hectare,'' Tsvangirai bragged at a recent rally in Matabeleland North. While Tsvangirai and his mother are enjoying the fruits of the drip irrigation on their two hectare plot, it has become a green lung in the desert and unfortunately for his neighbours, they can just watch and wonder if they could not do a communal irrigation scheme for them.

The villagers are justified, given that Tsvangirai has proven to be a high spender of cash, given the extravagant plumage that follows his love life with a coterie of women. The villagers are justified given Tsvangirai's test for expensive hotels, at time going on holiday with a big team and paying up to US$500 per night per room.

"We expected him to consider all of us. We thought he would consider us but he thought of his mother and only his mother. He even told us he had put another such scheme at Thokozani Khupe's place. He expects us to vote for him when he has failed to acquire a national character, even a village character. He thinks of himself alone. He is the best person to know that we are all in need of irrigation in this place. He should have at least done an irrigation scheme for the village. Besides his boreholes are affecting our own shallow one and we now have a water problem,'' said Elvis Mandipaka.

Mrs Joice Zande described Tsvangirai as too individualistic saying he spends money on minute things, instead of development issue. "As Prime Minister we would have expected him to work for every one of us. He should at least have started at village level but he proved too personal for five years. Who will then vote for him? We know how he has spent a lot of money marrying and divorcing.

We know he has gone to big holidays with different women. If he had used that money in community development, this place could have been different.

"A borehole that can serve 300 families costs just more than US$1 500, which is three nights at one of the expensive hotels Tsvangirai has gone to in Europe,'' she said. That Tsvangirai has failed to impress in his own backyard is telling enough of his unsuitability for the highest office in the land, for, do they not say charity begins at home?

While some Europeans fete Tsvangirai like a hero, he has no honour in his own village, among his kith and kin, and rightly so given the selfishness he showed in diverting water from a community borehole to his mother's homestead.


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