BY early evening, the divide between Harare North and Harare South had been fully re-established and emphasised.
Harare North was collecting the cheques and Harare South was expecting follow-up operations from the armed men of peace.
Harare North was separatist.
People kept to themselves.
They did not meet on the street or run around shouting slogans.
They called before visiting.
They called and arranged to meet in quiet exclusive places.
When you raised your voice in disorderly ghetto talk, they looked at you and whispered kuti: “Asi anopenga here?”
A man in a white twin-cab Ford Ranger spoke into an intercom and after a slight delay, a gate slithered open. The big machine moved in and drove up a long winding driveway to stop before a mansion hidden among indigenous trees.
Savage-looking bull terriers surrounded the truck.
A whiteman appeared and said: “It’s alright John.”
The canine beasts surrounded the whiteman.
He said something and the beasts disappeared.
The blackman disembarked, opened the rear passenger door and pulled a latch to release the back rest of the back seat.
He reached in and brought out a rifle bag and gave it to the whiteman.
The whiteman said: “Tell me again.”
The blackman said: “I am very definite I got two. I saw a third limp away into an alley.”
“That is good. Now, did you collect the shells?”
“My God! It totally escaped me.”
“You couldn’t be that stupid! The idea was to incriminate the army and now you left the evidence that there were others involved. Why then are we paying you all that money?”
“I am sorry sir. Everything started happening so fast there was no time to search for the cartridges. It won’t happen again sir.”
“There will be no next time you bloody idiot. That is the problem working with you niggers. You can’t follow simple instructions.”
“Now, take this.”
The whiteman gave the blackman a fat brown envelope.
The blackman smiled and the whiteman said: “Make sure you cross into SA before daybreak.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“You have a super truck, a full tank and all the money you need. Call Mr Smith for further instructions once you cross the border. I don’t want any more fuck-ups.”
The blackman drove off.
The whiteman dialled a number on his phone and said: “He is on his way and will call you once he has crossed the border. You know what to do.”
In other parts of Harare North, wealthy and bitter stand-offish people leaned over laptops skyping and communicating treason of varying magnitudes with London and Washington.
Harare South was a different story.
Everyone knew everyone – the names were easy and going by the wholesale – Petso, Benzo, Nhodza, Tindo, Hwidza, Kodza, Chiko, Edidza, Nyudza, Fidza, Pablo, Morgidza, Vanso, Diva, Mhoze, Enzo, T-One, Mabrijo, Cremora, Wasu, Mhofela, Natasha chema-Dairy, Bin Laden.
The people of Harare South vairemerwa.
They were loaded with secrets to the point of not being able to contain them.
They knew, for instance, kuti Petso wekuMagandanga is the one who had hijacked the truck ferrying vakadzi vemusika.
They knew Hwidza is the one who had lit the first match kumatuckshop.
And they knew that if he was not at home, he would be kubhawa rekuFour and would be in the company of Kodza naNyudza.
They knew Fidza’s small-house was chiJudy chekuThree and they knew that is where he had taken the double-bed he had stolen from the gutted home industries compound because her metal frame bed now lay pamusoro pecottage yake.
They knew Tindo wekuCABS was not the one who had led the raid on the police post as alleged.
It was chimwewo chiTindo, chimudreadman chekumasimbi, kuGlen Norah C, who had a bone to chew with officers who had kept him in remand prison in a case of mistaken identity.
Brother yamaiCharmaine vekumaW owned one of the trucks that had been used to ferry groceries stolen from the tuckshops.
In another case, kamwana kaSthembeni had told her mother kuti she had seen the mother’s friend and some faces offloading lots of groceries from a black Wish. And Sthembeni had immediately paid the neighbour and the mother of her friend had given her two kg sugar and two litres of Zimgold cooking oil and warned her saying: “Zvamurimi vana siyawamwaya.”
It was also known that chimukedha chinotamba naDiva wekuEngineering close to Jipson had brought in a kombi loaded with electrical appliances that had filled a whole spare bedroom paden panaMhoze in the same lane.
Harare South was well networked and the network did not exclude the resident police about whom Chihuri had said: “Ndivo vana vamakandipa ivava.”
And it was now known kuti it was Enzo and company who had mugged the couple found at the open grounds. The bodies had since been collected and the police were running on their first lead.
And when the police came looking for Enzo kushabeen kwaMother Liz, the queen had sworn kuti: “Enzo netimhu rake rese have not visited since yesterday.” And she had offered them sadza nemabonzo, and during the feast, a young assistant inspector had proposed and after calculating the symbiotic benefits, the middle-aged mhoms had acquiesced to the child abuse.
And the fresh intimacy had rapidly warmed to a confidence and a loose tongue that let out kuti Enzo’s hide-out was a farm in Beatrice; a farm owned by the uncle of a fellow gang-member she only knew as Vanso.
And a truck had pulled outside Mother Liz’s shabeen and a man not knowing kuti the police were inside had shouted from the door kuti: “Mother Liz, tine zviri kupisa. Musazoti takakujambai.”
And when he got inside, the police had hand-cuffed him and confiscated the truckload of stolen beers.
Mother Liz had said she only knew the thief as Pablo wekuBeira Corridor.
On social media, word going round on the group reVakunda veJerusarema was that the pastor was missing.
He had been last seen during the peaceful march in town.
The general view was that he had been abducted by state security agents for marching against the Government.
The pastor’s wife was distraught and was appealing to all and sundry for help.
The man whose wife had been beaten up by her friend’s housemaid and was not angry that his wife had been beaten up brought out his phone, put it on ‘record’ and placed it on the table.
He stared at his wife and said: “Talk.”
She said to him: “Not this way dear. Are we enemies?”
“I am afraid with you it can only be this way.”
She looked down and he continued: “If what you want to say is genuine then why would you not want it to be recorded?”
“Ok then, if you insist.”
“What I want to say is that I think I have been unfair with you.”
“In what way?”
“I have not been behaving like a wife to you.”
“And how is a wife supposed to behave? And isn’t that what independence means? Does the Constitution not give you the option not to behave like a wife if you choose? Is it not your right to not behave like a wife if you chose to?”
“I now don’t think so.”
“And what do you now think?”
“I now think I must respect you and listen to what you say and do everything you tell me to do.”
The man shook his head and said: “No. I don’t think you know what you are talking about.”
“I know what I am talking about. I have thought about it.”
“What if I told you that I just don’t want you to do everything I tell you to do? What if I told you that all I want is a woman who is simply human to me and to those around her?”
The woman was surprised and said: “I don’t understand. Please explain.”
“What I am saying is that you have no justification in expecting everyone around you to see the world through your eyes without also trying to see the same world through their eyes.”
She looked askance and he went further.
“You clamour for what you call women’s rights but don’t even respect fellow women’s rights. You hate my mother who educated me and empowered me to get everything you now exclusively claim to be yours by virtue of being married to me. You hate my sisters. You hate my grandmothers. And you expect me to love your own mother who apparently did not educate you to empower you to stand on your own. How does that make sense to you? The video I sent you shows you abusing a fellow woman because she is a housemaid. In what way is a housemaid’s claim to women’s rights less than yours? And, you were at the same time planning a demonstration against the Government for purported human rights abuses? Did you ever stop to think what you were doing? In what way do you think you are more woman than the housemaid? You don’t even have one ‘O’-Level subject to your credit. And you have never lifted a finger in honest work in your life. You think you are too special to give me my conjugal rights and yet invoke the same rights to extract every benefit you can extract from me. Who do you think you are? Tell me why you are here? Tell me why you are living in the house I built, sleeping in the bed I bought, eating the food I buy, driving the car I bought and yet refusing to give me anything in return? Tell me why you are excluding my family from all these benefits and yet availing the same to your own family without sanction?”
The wife started crying.
The man said to her: “Please give me your own definition of human or women’s rights.”
There was a knock.
The woman quickly wiped her tears and straightened herself out.
The man got up and went to the kitchen door.
There was a boy, the son of the woman whose housemaid had beaten-up his wife.
The boy followed the man back into the lounge.
The boy greeted the woman and asked if she knew the whereabouts of his mother.
The woman was sure her friend had gone to the peaceful demo.
She assured the boy his mother would be back.
She promised to check with the church group on social media.
The worried boy left.
To be continued…