I ONCE read of a city in Asia which discouraged migration from the rural to the urban areas by deliberately making life in the latter unbearable.
Amenities were a
llowed to deteriorate in the hope that people would abandon the cities for their rural homes.
To this day, I am not so sure if this devilishly ingenious plot succeeded.
But I would not be surprised if it didn’t. People can endure hardships if they believe that, at the end of it all, they will be better off.
People might say perhaps this is what our government is doing, especially in Harare.
But my concern is not related to urban politics. It relates to the whole country: to drive out its opponents, the government may have hatched a deliberate campaign to make life in Zimbabwe intolerable.
This occurred to me as I read a recent letter to the editor from Charles Frizell who said he recently suffered a heart attack.
He blamed this on his concern for the political situation in Zimbabwe. He said he felt sorry that he could no longer continue the struggle because of his ill-health.
I met Frizell when The Daily News was at the peak of its crusade against maladministration and corruption in high places. We met in my office at Trustee House and we talked about Zimbabwe and its future. He was with one of his sons, I remember now.
After he left the country, he wrote a few letters to the editor and an article which appeared in The Daily News on Sunday.
Many other readers of The Daily News visited us, some to chat or, once in a while, to rebuke us.
Frizell was passionate about his country, like many of us still are today.
When a mistake is made by the government, such people have no hesitation in pointing it out, never mind how the target of the criticism reacts. The price of speaking out can be heavy, as in the case of The Daily News.
The price of campaigning for change has always been heavy. Most people, however, are spurred by the excitement of being present when the change does occur.
I hope Frizell and his son will still have the heart to celebrate with us when The Daily News returns to the streets.