It is exactly a week since five people were killed in a blast at a house in Zengeza 2 high-density suburb in Chitungwiza last Monday. To date, the explosion is still referred to, officially, as mysterious – because the country’s security apparatus has failed to tell the nation what caused it.
The result has been that all sorts of theories are being peddled and no matter how absurd some of them may seem, none of them can be dismissed because responsible officials — our police and the army — have failed to proffer an official position.
It is quite reasonable that authorities do not go public with inconclusive results of investigations over issues to do with the lives of the people such as the one involving the death of people in Zengeza, but what the people will fail to understand is the time that it takes our security experts to find out the cause of an explosion.
The people of Zimbabwe, like citizens of any other country, entrust their safety in the hands of those tasked with the job of ensuring our security. If these people take more than a week to unravel the cause of the death of five people in a single blast that takes place in one house, then it becomes a source of great concern.
Rational citizens decided to be patient and wait for official reports about the cause of the Zengeza tragedy, dismissing with contempt apparent superstitious explanations that have spread like veld fire, but there must come a point where authorities must come to the people with plausible explanations, even if they may not be necessarily final.
Zimbabwe is renowned for its highly skilled police and military personnel and prides itself as one of the best on the continent. Time and again we are reminded of this by police and military chiefs – often by the President himself – when our police and soldiers are dispatched to bring peace to hot spots around Africa.
Some of these missions include places where our bomb disposal expertise is spoken highly of and we return from these assignments with heads high. Are we the same people that are failing to explain the cause of a single explosion in our own backyard?
Bomb disposal experts were dispatched to the Zengeza blast scene as were forensic gurus, but seven days later, the nation is still told investigations are still underway. The people have a right to know the truth about matters that involve their lives. They must know whether they are safe in the houses they live in. They must be assured there are no landmines or bombs lying everywhere in residential areas.
The desperation of the people can be seen in reported calls for the intervention of religious leaders to deal with the explosion issue. There are reports residents were calling self-proclaimed prophets to do what national security personnel have apparently failed to do and yesterday, prayers were held at the scene of the tragedy as people seek divine intervention.
Traditional healers were also called to the scene to use their sticks and bones to try and unravel the blast mystery. At least they did not take forever to tell the nation, officially, that they had found nothing to suggest the supernatural.
Our security men and women should treat disasters such as these with urgency.