This BBC story showed up on the glowing rectangle a little while ago. A municipal government in Zimbabwe has decided to address a sewage problem with a series of synchronized toilet flushes.

Many residents of Zimbabwe’s second city have simultaneously flushed their toilets, as part of an official attempt to prevent blocked sewage pipes. Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo told the BBC the “big flush” would keep pipes wet and so prevent them getting clogged up.

Now I’m not a plumber, but the tone of the BBC article, and extrapolating from Zimbabwean governance in general, suggests that this will not work. So we all smirk and return to our lives. But there’s this at the end of the article:

The proposal has had a mixed reception in the city. “Our leaders are a joke,” said Petros Ncube. “What they should be doing is finding money from donors to buy new sewer pipes,” he said.

I hope Petros Ncube is not representative of a typical Zimbabwean.

I will say this of the toilet flush plan: it will be clear if it doesn’t work. And if it doesn’t work, we will know to blame Mayor Thabo Moyo. And if this episode is representative of other episodes, he should be replaced by his constituents. But they have no reason to hold him accountable if, to their thinking, government is something that distributes money obtained from other governments, and a leader is someone who begs money from other governments.