HomeOpinionNobody talks of health anymore

Nobody talks of health anymore

By Elliot Pfebve

MORE than three years have passed since the last presidential election. No hope has come to me except the loss of my husband in 2004 and the recent loss of my only daughter Medusa. They all

died of Aids, doctors say.

Although I am not a doctor, this might be true because as I speak now, I am just a heap of bones waiting to rot. All I can remember is that I voted for the MDC in 2002 and this year.

In the queue I was coughing and spitting blood. With very little energy I was determined to cast my vote. I could hear people saying “your vote is your secret”. To me it was “your vote is your cure”.

I was not voting for Morgan Tsvangirai or the MDC, but for anti-retroviral drugs or just medicines to ease my pain. I knew the only hope was a change of government because there was no chance of the West giving medicines to the embattled President Mugabe. If there was any ray of hope, it was going to come through Tsvangirai.

I talked to my MP who assured me that an MDC government would make health for all a reality. I understand in the Western world an Aids patient can live a normal life if he/she lives positively with it. I was determined to vote for my life and that of my husband and daughter’s.

I have not seen my MP since I voted for him, not that I expect medicine from him, but just to bid him goodbye for I will not last to vote for him again. I can feel my lungs collapsing and my legs can no longer withstand my weight any more. I am just bed-ridden.

I don’t know whether the politicians know that we are an important constituency. If my facts serve me right, a quarter of us (Zimbabweans) are infected with Aids. In a population of 12 million, this gives us three million people living with Aids.

If we look at the total votes cast in the presidential election, 1,6 million voted for Zanu PF and 1,2 million for the MDC.

The total number of people who voted was 2,8 million. It is likely that all those who voted are living with Aids for there are three million people living with Aids more than the number of people who voted.

I have no doubt that going by the statistics, one of the presidential candidates might be living with Aids, and I don’t know who that candidate is!

But how I wish that could be the one doing the least to help Aids sufferers.

Not because I hate him, but because we would give our health priority over land redistribution and Operation Murambatsvina.

I understand that Mugabe as an executive president, can easily flood this country with critically-needed medicines overnight and stop the brain-drain of doctors to neighbouring countries.

It seems he is waiting for me to die before he can realise that we need to live as long as him at 81.

I am only 25 years old and don’t deserve to die. I have been clinging to dear life for long. My hands are now tired. I might give up any time now. I understand that life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now 32 years yet only five years ago we used to say life begins at 40!

Even if life expectancy is 32, I am only 25. Who is going to take over my remaining seven years, and on what basis? I guess this will be one of the fat boom boom ministers living with Aids.

I hear this nonsense about talks about talks while President Mugabe is still globe-trotting. What happened to the targeted sanctions?

All politicians seem to be the same, they unpack their manifesto towards the election and withdraw into their insulation sheaths once defeated or after winning the poll. Surely somebody must pay the prize! Nobody talks of health anymore, I feel used and dumped.

I am staring at the wall of my house which I am told the sheriff had come to attach because of unpaid mortgages. I had two structures at the back for rent which was able to pay my mortgage and at least one meal a day. But the government demolished everything and the lodgers have deserted me. I am not working, relatives and friends have deserted me, and how much I wish my husband was still alive!

I did not choose to be a victim of Aids. I graduated at the University of Zimbabwe with a BSc (Hons) in Engineering. My picture still hangs on the wall, clad in a gown, smiling and innocent, receiving my degree.

I was then still a virgin and all I wanted was to forge ahead with my career and contribute to the development of my country. Zimbabwe never gave me a chance, suddenly the economy collapsed under my feet. I needed to survive, the system let me down and my only survival was to get married.

Like everybody else in Zimbabwe, I had to choose a husband with 3 C’s (Car, Care & Cash). He was healthier than a doctor – at least by then. I had no idea of the virus carried in his blood – just like most Aids victims. All I wanted was to be happy and have a family. I needed a husband to take over where the society had failed me. After all, I was highly-educated, but with no job.

I think it’s time to draw my will before I die. I have no child and no husband left. My only will is for you all Zimbabweans. Vote for a candidate who will openly admit to having Aids. That way you will be assured that three million people on the verge of extinction will survive. After all, the winning candidate will only need about half of the number of people infected with Aids.

Long live Zimbabwe, Long live the struggle for total emancipation, Aluta continua, Hondo ngaienderere mberi. Amandla ngawethu.

*Elliot Pfebve is a lecturer and political analyst and can be reached through www.itrc-pfebve.com.

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