I do volunteer work occassionaly for a welfare society. Yesterday, I witnessed fellow Zimbabweans in such emotional trauma that I cannot get the picture out of my head. I think the world must try visualise the same pictures as I saw.
I have had a personal taste of the intimidation tactics that are used on people that speak out, so for the purpose of this report, I will not use real names.
Myself and a welfare officer, â€œLukeâ€, attended to a report that farmers had been removed from their farms in Centenary and animals were still on the farms.
To summarise two days negotiating, we were told in no uncertain terms that our police force would offer us no protection, and even if we were hurt or killed, the situation was out of their hands.
In respect of the animals, we were informed that most farmworkers were still able to take care of the animals, and we were pleased to be told by a genuinely concerned member of the ZRP that he would phone us if animals were being mistreated.
At the police station there were over thirty farmworkers sitting or lying under a tree. Most of them were still in their overalls and gumboots. We learnt that these workerâ€™s houses had been burnt down by war vets and they came to the police for assistance. The police offered them a piece of ground to sit on and wait, as important people were arriving today to assess the situation and resolve the current crisis. All those workers had left was the clothes on their back.
I asked Luke â€œWhat are they going to eat today?â€
Luke informed me that even prisoners have to rely on relatives to feed them as the police do not have enough food, so therefore the farmworkers will go hungry.
We checked our stocks, but realised in dismay, that we had already acted like good Samaritans, as we had given most of our food away to a family in the Chadereka area, where we had spent the night. The family who were relatives of Luke's, had only wheat and yellow roller meal to eat, both donated by an aid organisation. This familyâ€™s life had been reduced to mere survival.
We left the farmworkers to their uncertain future, and left the area with heavy hearts as the situation was beyond our control and there seemed no likely solution in sight. We should have at least been pleased that the animals we went to assist were all ok, yet the human suffering marred any sense of achievement.
The world looks on whilst innocent people are suffering, whether by acts of violence (farmworkers) or starvation due to shortages of food.
I only wish that somehow I could make a difference to these peopleâ€™s lives, but right now it is out of any ordinary personâ€™s control â€“ it is up to the â€œbig gunsâ€ to stop this human rights abuse.