Editor’s memo: Nevanji Madanhire
The year has begun badly, what with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The second wave is dramatically more vicious than the first. It is like the first wave never happened! During the first wave, which happened to coincide with the beginning of our winter, it was generally believed Zimbabweans would bear the brunt of it terribly. It was believed the virus thrived very well in winter, but nothing of the sort really happened so much so it became one of the puzzles of the time why there were no dead bodies on the streets as had been predicted by western commentators.
There were two sides to this though; a good one and bad one: we celebrated our luck and continued with our lives as usual, but on the flipside we were lulled into complacence. The statistics now are bad; the spike in daily deaths, a wake-up call. Luckily, everyone knows what should be done to alleviate the situation. Those who contract the disease now it’d not be out of ignorance but out of recklessness.
But there are many things that should divert us from the doom and the gloom. The rains are falling bringing hope the country is going for a bumper harvest.
Zimbabwe has not received adequate rain for its agro-based economy for the better part of the last decade. Climatologists have attributed this to climate change, which they say we are partly to blame for.
A good harvest means loads for Zimbabwe; the country has been spending quite a pile importing food. If food imports become unnecessary for at least the next two or three years, then the money used for imports can be diverted elsewhere. Our social amenities have crumbled due to neglect in the past 20 years hitting hard our health delivery system. It is now common to hear people saying Zimbabwe’s hospitals have become death fields. Our education system, once the envy of the world, has also collapsed due mainly to inadequate funding that has seen learners going without basic aids such as textbooks. Schoolteachers have been on strike almost continually prejudicing horribly the children who are hungry for an education which they believe is the cure-all for their poverty.
This year’s good rains are therefore seen as the elixir that will help pull the country out of the rut in which it has wallowed over the past few years. But they also come with their own problems and Zimbabweans shouldn’t take their eyes off the ball. Indications are there already, the rains, predicted to be heavy over the next three months, could be extremely heavy leading to deadly flash flooding and cyclones in flood prone areas. Already we have seen bridges swept away and a number of incidents of drowning. Some incidents of drowning have been a result of sheer stupidity with motorists trying to cross flooded rivers.
Another downside to the rains is of course if they eventually drown the crops, which again is likely this season seeing how incessant they have become. Farmers should therefore be alert to this and do whatever it takes to ensure their crop is not adversely affected. Leaching is the greatest threat to the anticipated bumper harvest so farmers should ensure they have the means to counter this.
Another thing to smile about is that our water reservoirs are nearly all about to fill up. This means our cities will have enough water to supply to the suburbs. In the recent past potable water has been the greatest challenge for urban dwellers. This may be a thing of the past.
The rains are also good for power supply and that’s another thing to smile about. with our favourite power station — Kariba Hydro —running at full throttle the country is assured of less imports of power to run our industry and keep our households lit up; which means more money saved for other needy areas.
So besides the doom and gloom, there is a lot to smile about.