"When you get married, they say that you are one. You know what marriage is - you share secrets. And you can tell officers 'do not disclose' but you have no control. You won't be in their homes to always check on them. The security of the nation is what is paramount."
Just to add a little to this, Mrs M has been the last couple of days in Zimbabwe, in the capital Harare. Her immediate impression is that the locals are far from happy in comparison to Zambia. Due to working she had no time to explore the city, though we did together many years ago for a couple of days. What she did notice though was at a house she had to visit was the standard and style of the garden. It was far better than anything we'd seen here and a lot more of an "English" style. Probably still from the colonial influence. Here are a few quick photos. Sorry they are quite small but they were taken with an iPad -
If you hadn't said and made us guess, my guess would not have been Zimbabwe or probably even anywhere in Africa. Are you & Mrs. M wistfully thinking how nice it would be to live in that style of house?
Mark, I would say the house is definitely from the 'Ian Smith' era. I would love to know if the owners are tobacco or some kind of farmers. From the neatly mowed expanse of lawn they would have several gardeners (who would come cheap) due to the fact there is no money around in Zim. It looks a comfortable life-style similar to many black and white people down here. Thousands of Zimbabweans are living and working in South Africa. You can tell who they are right away when they speak. It is a more cultured 'English' accent. Two ladies at my hairdressers and two of my male "seamtresses" (what would that title be in a male way?) are from Zim and so is the gardener at my son's girlfriends house. They are so different from the Zulus here. The men especially - very good at what they do and you won't find them digging trenches on a construction site....they would be the ones driving the Caterpillar.
I believe this is all due to a standard of education in Zimbabwe similar to England. Unfortunately as your wife has noticed, this is crumbling fast and Mugabe's ridiculous rules and regulations have made it difficult for Zimbabweans to earn money here, or even buy food here, and take it back home. In the newspapers some weeks ago Mugabe's wife swore that he will rule Zimbabwe even from the grave....probably through her.
The person who lives in the house is a European who works in the country but rents it. Who the actual owners are I have no idea. In previous years of going there I feel there is so much potential in Zimbabwe that is going untapped because of the administration. There had been protests for years from the opposition that had a growing following both in country and abroad - but soon after they were given some positions in the government, it all went quiet. Funny that, isn't it? The cynical part of me knows exactly why but I had hoped they were better than that.
"seamtress" = tailor/seamster/sartor. I don't know why I know that.
One of my only claims to fame is that many years ago I was in Marks and Spencers in Frankfurt. There was a bit of a kurfuffle and several large African men in sharp suits walked in. In the middle of them I spied Mugabe. He, and the bodyguards left soon after carrying a large number of M&S carrier bags full of food and probably underpants. I was desperate to take a photo of him with those in hand but it was before the days of camera phones. I sent Mrs M out to quickly try and find one of those old style disposable cameras you could get from the Pharmacy. No luck though and I probably missed out on making a fortune selling the results. I did consider hurling some abuse at him, after all we were in Germany and there would be little he could do, and even though Mrs M had been to Zimbabwe with me and saw what the country was like, both good and bad, she said to me, "You're not going to say anything, are you?". I took this rightly as not a question, but an instruction.
Mark you are one of the few in this world who has a dinner party story about the big M. The other person I know who has rubbed shoulders with the big Mrs.Big M, is my friend who worked in Manchester in a smart boutique. The madam came in an blew a cool stack of cash on new dresses. They were priced at around R16,000 to R25,000 each. Oh lets see... that is about 1,156euros and 1,806euros a pop. Probably small change to some ladies out there but one of those dresses could have fed several families for a year. And it's not like she actually earned the bucks. Maybe she did having to snuggle up to that critter. Lastly, it was divulged some years ago now that when M wants to go on a shopping trip he arrives at the airport, kicks everyone off the plane, and takes off returning loaded down with stuff from Harrods and sundry. You want to know another awful truth....Our president and cronies are up to the same tricks. A huge amount of money was given by a country to aid something or another. The minister in charge immediately booked flights to Vegas for her and her hangers on. About 20 of them. Answerable to who?? A crooked president??
Your answer to a male seamstress could be tailor except these guys sew curtains, blinds, and bedding all day. I think I'll ask them what their title might be.
If his wife takes over the reigns of power then the whole sorry saga will continue to the detriment of the whole country for many, many years. Many agencies who supply aid and help realise little of their efforts are coming to fruition because of those in power and are scaling down and leaving them to it. Basic humanitarian aid will/may continue but the next step up stuff, like infrastructure, is being left. One of the problems is there is no incentive to be 'honest'. When people see what the top ones are getting away with they have no reason to do any different. Anyway, only time will tell.
Mark - I thought of you when someone posted this 'funny' on their FB page. Actually, when you look past the hilarious staged act you can only weep. Weep because this is most of Africa including ourselves down south of the border. The scenario is only too true - vehicles racing helter skelter with firearms at the ready. Panick-style thinking whilst barking orders. It's got us damaging international fame and left people wondering how can that happen?? Luckily here it was all bluff and no one hurt.
I think that might be an exaggeration, paying for a new capital, but the Chinese are an integral part of Zambia, and have been for may years. I'll look into it. they tend to pay for most major projects here.
Had a look at this. Utter rubbish and pie in the sky. "Minister of National Planning Lucky Mulusa who said the choice has been proposed to the cabinet as Lusaka congested and disqualified to be the capital city...."
I'd be more worried about the Chinese influence with this report about Kenya -
At the moment we are not worried about the Chinese....they are everywhere here doing...who knows but they seem to mainly sell clothing in stores and make good Chinese food - Oh! and take over all the night clubs... What we are worried about are the Indians. The Gupta's. South Africa is in so much dwang it makes Mugabe look like an angel.