TOURISM minister Walter Mzembi says he is aware of the â€œdire situationâ€ at the Beitbridge border post and was engaging with relevant stakeholders to improve the situation.
Toilets were not working and people were using the surrounding bush, he said.
â€œI am aware that if one has to use ablution facilities at the border they have to get to the South African side,â€ he said. In Musina the toilet facilities are kept clean. Every 15 minutes somebody is cleaning them and ensuring a supply of toilet paper, he said.
The road network on the South African side â€œtold visitors that someone was doing their job and doing it well. There is work to be done on the Zimbabwean side,â€ Mzembi observed.
But it was not clear which department is responsible for the border post, he said. Is it Zimra (Customs) or the Ministry of Public Works? The Ministry of Transport needs to be engaged.
One of those who needs to be â€œengagedâ€ is the MP for Beitbridge, Kembo Mohadi. He is also co-Minister of Home Affairs. In terms of the masterplan for the town Noczim was â€œsupposedâ€ to build an upmarket service station, Mohadi pointed out.
The Rainbow Tourism Group was â€œsupposedâ€ to build a five-star hotel. NSSA was â€œsupposedâ€ to construct a civic centre. A section of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road was dug up and then abandoned, Mohadi said.
Isnâ€™t this a very Zimbabwean tale? Many people were â€œsupposedâ€ to do things to improve the situation but didnâ€™t. We can think of all those Ministers of Finance responsible over the years for Customs who couldnâ€™t even establish a system that enabled travellers to be served quickly and efficiently.
There was nobody to advise on which queue people should join and what documents they needed to produce.
A goofy picture of Mohadi stares out at readers of the Sunday Mail which did a good story on ministerial delinquency at the border post.
Could he say exactly what he has achieved in his many years as MP and minister? Apart of course from describing the problem!
Does anybody seriously believe that Beitbridge and the surrounding road network can be improved in the time remaining before next yearâ€™s World Cup soccer events? Visitors are currently greeted by the stench coming from the toilets.
Mzembi said he would sit down with Mohadi to discuss the way forward.
It might be a good idea to make sure Mohadi is awake first.
Bearing in mind the condition of the BeitbridgeÂ border post referred toÂ above, the Heraldâ€™s Isdore Guvamombe on Wednesday demonstrated his delusional credentials by inventing new claims for our derelict capital.
â€œSince the days of the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Harare has had the tag of being the best city in Southern Africa after Johannesburg, and still carries that tag,â€ he wrote.
Now we appreciate that Herald columnists are required to talk up Zimbabweâ€™s attractions ahead of the soccer World Cup, but walking around with a blindfold is taking things a tad far.
What does Guvamombe mean when he says Harare is the â€œbest city in Southern Africa after Johannesburgâ€? What does â€œbestâ€ mean? Most attractive? Or having the best facilities?
Nobody has ever suggested Johannesburg is an attractive city. Wealthy, dynamic, dangerous yes, but never attractive.
So what is Guvamombe talking about? Cape Town is unrivalled as a beautiful city with both natural attractions and modern facilities. So how did Harare get to be second â€œbestâ€ when it is in a state of advanced decay?
The flood of visitors expected will help â€œprop upâ€ the national airline, we are told.
Will people want to travel on an airline that needs â€œpropping upâ€?
Muckrakerâ€™s advice: Clean up the Beitbridge border post first. That will demonstrate seriousness on the part of government, not naÃ¯ve puff pieces in the Herald.
Tafataona Mahoso is impatient with Morgan Tsvangirai. That would be putting it mildly. The PMâ€™s maiden speech to parliament did not deal sufficiently robustly with the issue of sanctions, Mahoso complained. Tsvangirai couldnâ€™t even bring himself to use the word sanctions.
The most urgent priority for the unity government was not to fix the damage that sanctions have inflicted, he concluded from Tsvangiraiâ€™s speech, but to adopt a neo-liberal reform programme.
â€œZimbabwe deserved the sanctions,â€ Mahoso understood the PMâ€™s stance to be, â€œand their removal is now due only because the inclusive government has improved its behaviour and will continue to so improve in order to earn the lifting of sanctions, by-and-by, not now.
â€œThe behaviour which has to be improved in order for Zimbabwe to deserve the lifting of (what Tsvangirai called) â€˜restrictive measuresâ€™ includes stopping repression and oppression. The words are quite telling,â€ Mahoso thinks.
This stops short of the position adopted by Sadc, he suggests, and â€œis contrary to the views of most Zimbabweansâ€.
Is it? Has Mahoso conducted another of his dubious surveys? We all recall when he conducted a survey which suggested the people of Zimbabwe wanted restrictions on the media!
As for Sadc, they have been studiously blind to the human rights abuses Mahoso refers to.
He needs to have an encounter with reality. Zimbabweans are not saying they want to see more repression.
They have had enough of that. And he needs to understand that the lifting of sanctions
and provision of international funding for recovery will onlyÂ materialise when Zanu PF stops locking up its critics, stops sabotaging agriculture, and stops allowing people like Mahoso to poison the political climate with his vitriol.
They want an end to the regime he speaks for.
They want peace, freedom and prosperity.
He says that â€œwith the help of certain journalistsâ€, some of the politicians benefiting from inclusivity appear to think coming together â€œmeans that the people should tolerate public displays of ignorance, hypocrisy, insults and lies in the name of inclusivityâ€.
NotÂ from Mahoso at any rate. The editor of the Sunday Mail needs to put a stop to this sort of thing.
An excellent piece in the Sunday Mail last weekend told us how retailers were smiling over their booming cross-border business while local industry is suffering.
Since the country adopted the US dollar and rand, the availability of basic commodities has markedly improved while prices have come down in response to increased competition. However, we are reminded that the June 2006 blitz on retailers caused lasting damage to manufacturers because of imposed price structures.
They couldnâ€™t recover their costs of production.
Most goods on supermarket shelves are now imported from South Africa while Zimbabweâ€™s well-developed industrial base languishes.
This is the product of voodooÂ economics from ruling party zealots. Where is â€œGodknowsâ€ Masimirembwa right now? Here is one zealot who inflicted lasting damage but is probably still earning a salary as head of the redundant National Incomes and Pricing Commission.
The whole point of the Sadc-mediated talks between the political parties was to prevent any further damage to the economy and provide a basis for recovery. That is not happening. So please, no more squealing about sanctions.
Why does the government think members of the public should pay US$50 for a listeners/television licence?
What value does ZBC give us and what has the BAZ done to license new broadcasters so people have a choice?
This is daylight robbery. The public have the right to demand value for money and they are not getting it. Nobody watches ZBC/ZTV any more.
It is unprofessional and uninteresting. Instead of squealing about sanctions, Happison Muchechetere and his gang at Pockets Hill should try and make ZTV watchable.
A word of advice to ZTV news reporters and readers: it is Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangiraiâ€™s late wife Susan, not â€œthe late prime ministerâ€™s wifeâ€. There is a whole world of difference!