Friday, March 23, 2007

Hang in there Bob, I am writing as fast as I can!

With Zimbabwe boiling away at the moment, I really have to pull my finger out of my poop hole (as many of my teachers said to me) and get this book finished. Otherwise I might just miss the gravy train.
A pal of mine, Robb Ellis, has finished his and getting some great feedback. Robb has a huge Blog which was recently mentioned by the BBC.

His book Without Honour also received a great review from a Swedish newspaper, which makes fascinating reading because the Swedes were big supporters of Mugabe during the war for independence. It is a long article with loads of interesting photographs.

Robb became a policeman after Independence. It sure is a very different police force from the one I was in!

Talking about policemen – this little excerpt I found in The Times online edition today.

The officer said he had joined the force more than 20 years ago. “That was a time when a policeman was really a policeman,” he said. “When you woke up in the morning and it was time to get into your uniform you would feel proud. You would cycle to work feeling happiness. Today it’s totally different. It’s like you are in a prison.”
The officer said that men were leaving the police, the army and the air force because conditions were so bad. He had lost as many as a third of his own men. The pay — 150,000 Zimbabwean dollars (less than £5) a month for a constable — was derisory and barely covered the cost of travelling to work. Some routinely extorted bribes to make ends meet. “They are forced by the situation to do what they are doing,” he said.

Racking my memory really hard, I think a Black Constable in my days would have started on about R$110 a month, or about half of what I started on.The senior sergeant you see in the photo, (I took it with a Kodak Instamatic) holding the receiver of a TR28 radio, would have been on about the same income as myself, albeit after at least 15 years of service. We had quite an adventure together in Gokwe, early 1977. (All in my book.) I was 18 and a half, he must have been in his early 40s. He had children he sent to good schools, lived with his wife in a small house inside the police married quarters and owned an immaculately kept family sized car. This same gentleman is now most probably living as another destitute, his pension decimated, his beloved police force turned into state sanctioned thuggery.

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