Chipinge: punished for supporting opposition since 1980
Run-down schools and clinics, to which villagers have to walk up to 20
kilometres, and ravaged roads – constructed at independence and hardly
repaired since. These are some of the ills that greet visitors to rural
areas in this district.
by Zwanai Sithole Harare
The lack of meaningful development in the area has resulted in locals
charging that the Zanu (PF)-led government has deliberately withheld
development as punishment for their political affiliations.
Since independence in 1980, Chipinge has had representatives in Parliament
from parties opposed to Zanu (PF). From independence to the inception of the
MDC in 2000, Ndabaningi Sithole’s Zanu (Ndonga) and Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe
Unity Movement regularly prevailed during elections in this Ndau-dominated
Since the demise of both ZUM and Ndonga, the MDC has continued to dominate
the area. An MDC councillor in Ngaone area, Mwarekesa Mhlanga, said he
agreed with the common view of the Ndau people that they were being taught a
lesson for supporting opposition parties.
“The previous government sought to frogmarch the people of this region into
join Zanu (PF) through under developing this area,” said Mhlanga.
Senior Zanu (PF) officials in the area, such as Enoch Porusingaziwi, have
been accused of threatening the people with under-development if they voted
for the opposition.
Most parents who spoke to The Zimbabwean said their children were forced to
start school when they were older – in order for them to be able to walk the
long distances to the few schools in the area.
Some students are reported to be squatting near schools to avoid walking the
tiresome distances every day.
“In my ward children walk for 20 kilometres to secondary schools. Most
children have dropped out of school because of the long distances,” said
Majuru Mukomwe, a headman in Chichichi area.
The lack of hospitals in the area has forced many villagers to turn to
traditional healers and prophets. Traditional midwives also enjoy brisk
business, but complicated births have resulted in the deaths of many
children and mothers.
Most growth points in the area have only general dealers and bottle stores.
“The only source of employment here were seasonal jobs at farms. But
following the acquisition of the farms by mainly Zanu (PF) chefs that
employment is gone. Those who have remained on the farms are being given
only slave wages .Our youths have turned to stealing and prostitution to
make a living. In these times of Aids we all know what will happen to our
daughters,” said a distraught headmaster in Chipinge south, who refused to
be named for fear of victimisation.
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