By Criswell Chisango
Kadoma, October 15, 2013 – Seventy year-old Robert Moyo is a pensioner saddened that his two elderly sons still look forward to him for their daily upkeep from his meager monthly payouts.
“I cannot afford a decent life with my family of seven children because as a father I am still responsible to feed them. The $40 monthly pension payout is not enough for me,’’ he says as he narrates the ordeal of grim poverty gripping several residents around Kadoma.
Though named the City of Gold from its rich mining deposits and cotton products during its peak years, the town looks gloomy and doomed without the gold glitters of yesteryear.
Situated about 166 kilometers west of Harare, Kadoma has been reduced to yet another story of Zimbabwe’s poverty, unemployment and virtual doomed prospects for future generations including Moyo’s family.
There is no hope for his two elderly sons aged 30 and 27 years respectively to get employed during his life time.
“There are no industries to talk about here. Everything is doomed as politicians lied that they will revive David Whitehead Textiles, Kadoma Glass Company, Cold Storage Company among others. These companies used to employ over 7 000 people during their peak years before 2000. We are feeding on empty promises and lies,’’ he says.
Revai Kabasa aged 42 years old is bitter as the town has been turned into a city of vendors littered with flea markets within the central business center.
“Everyone is now a vendor trying to earn a living but there is nothing much for us,’’ says Kabasa.
Kadoma used to be the prime town of mining with vast gold, nickel and copper minerals among others and had added advantage of cotton produce from surrounding farming areas boosting the industries such as David Whitehead and Scottford among others.
However, the glitter vanished, turning into a doomed future as the companies shutdown.
There is no hope from the new Zanu PF government led by President Robert Mugabe hooked on the much touted indigenisation and economic empowerment policies.
“I wonder if they will revive these companies when the farming sector has been greatly affected. As young kids we want to train and get employed at industries,” adds Tom Moyo aged 30 years who is still living with his parents in Rimuka high density suburb.
The local council, saddled by huge debts after the government decree to write off debts ahead of the 31 July elections has also not been spared the effects of the country’s decade long economic crisis.
Kadoma Mayor Muchineripi Chinyanganya of Movement for Democratic Change led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agrees that the council is battling to make ends meet.
“We are failing to pay off our debts as residents do not have sources of income. As at 31 August the council owed several companies several thousands of dollars. The government debt cancellation is affecting us,’’ he says.
According to Chinyanganya, Kadoma City Council owed the state-run Zimbabwe Electricity Authority $3 545 176, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority $350 658, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority $383 367, and the National Social Security Authority $39 256 and the figures could have doubled.
It still remains a pipeline dream that the gloom gripping residents here will one day vanish and be replaced by the glitters of the former City of Gold now a haven of vendors and gold panners commonly known as makorokoza.