There is no doubt that the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is the greatest event for Bulawayo. In that one week, once every year, Bulawayo steals the limelight from Bambazonke. Business booms for the hotel industry and even for individuals who have spare accommodation to let.
Ice-cream vendors sell the product in thousands. Take-away outlets make a killing as they sell a bottle of soft drinks for almost two dollars. Even our ladies have their chance to sample the international offerings although of course the police always make it a point to round some just before the big event.
But for some residents, the event, though welcome, is just a week-long hassle. Take this Harare employee who had been transferred to Bulawayo, for example. He was booked into a three-star hotel on 1 April and had been assured everything would be well and fine.
Come Thursday 30 April, some chef, probably trying to make sure President Mugabe who was officially opening the Fair and thereafter hosting a party at the local State House would not cancel him from his register, decides to come to Bulawayo.
The hotels are all full but some manager, also perhaps trying to score a name for himself with the chef kicks out the worker to make room for the chef. He does not even have the courtesy to notify the worker who finds his bags at the reception when he returns from work.
Mind you, they packed his bags in his absence. How much more can one say about intrusion of one’s privacy? Unfortunately the poor worker had no one to turn to, too afraid to raise his head fearing that this might irritate his bosses. With the drought hitting almost every pocket, he decided to keep quiet.
Friends persuaded him to expose the incident, but like most people who have resigned themselves never to challenge the chefs, he argued it was pointless as it was not going to change anything. What had happened had happened.