The first Zimbabwean to die from novel coronavirus infection was Zororo Makamba, on March 23. He was a prominent young man who was recovering from a lung operation. He had contracted the virus in New York. Since then another Zimbabwean has died. Makamba’s family account of his last days demonstrates how totally unprepared Zimbabwe is for the pandemic. Zororo was sent to the Wilkins Infectious Disease Hospital, but his family found that it had no ventilator, its oxygen supply ran out, it had no running water.
March 13, 2020: The new year is already into its third month and the combined impacts of severe drought, long-term economic collapse and now the COVID-19 pandemic are closing off the chances for a turn-around in the economic crisis and for genuine democratic reform for Zimbabwe. Like much of Africa, Zimbabwe needs significant external funding to get onto a growth path, let alone achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The looming global recession and possible depression means that the people of Zimbabwe will be thrown back onto their own capacities.
Zimbabwe Information Centre (ZIC), Sydney, Australia Interview –
An anonymous ‘senior government official’ is the source for a report in The Independent on Friday January 31, 2020, that the Zimbabwe cabinet has rejected a proposal from Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube for Zimbabwe to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
In October 2019 the Chair of EITI, Ms Helen Clark, had visited Harare for two days in response to interest expressed by EITI members, and Mr Ncube had expressed interest in joining EITI in his November Budget speech.
The people of Zimbabwe begin 2020 with a huge food shortage due to prolonged drought and the ongoing impact of the seizure of commercial farms from 20 years ago. Water shortages are hurting many communities. Inflation has turned public service workers into beggars. The international community, including China, is standing back from any rescue package because the integrity of government is still uncertain, despite the replacement of the dictator Mugabe with a genuinely elected government.
2019 is ending in Zimbabwe with huge frustration at the lack of progress for the people, with both Prof Jonathon Moyo of G40 and VP Chiwenga engaged in high stakes public drama.
Electricity failures in South Africa itself have now made the blackouts in Zimbabwe even more prolonged. The doctors remain on strike. The battle between unions and the government over public sector wages is unresolved. The UN is now providing food aid for 4.1 million people.
November 2019 has been marked by violent clashes on the streets between MDC Alliance and police, which is continuing to inform the international community that the Mnangagwa ZANU-PF government is much more a continuation of the Mugabe dictatorship than an opening to change for the better. It has also been marked by violence within MDC Alliance, where Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora was threatened with a beating at a National Executive meeting, and had to be protected by members of a Vendors organisation. The threats came from supporters of President Nelson Chamisa.
Following the abject failure of the October 25 Anti-Sanctions Day, it is crystal clear that neither the people of Zimbabwe nor the international community can swallow the claims that “Western Sanctions” are the reason for the ongoing collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy and society.
The prospect of a 30-day wait for the final burial of former president and dictator Robert Mugabe was short-circuited when the government abruptly abandoned the proposed Heroes Acre ceremony and the immediate family buried Mugabe at his Zvimba homestead on September 28, 2019. By then the country had well and truly moved on, under the intense pressure of 200 per cent inflation, currency, fuel, water and food shortages.
There was a relatively strong attendance of ordinary Zimbabweans at the public viewing of deceased former President Robert Mugabe, but far fewer at the formal ceremony attended by African leaders. In death the dictator continues to cause havoc, with a serious conflict over his rites and final burial between the family and the clan, and between the family and the Mnangagwa government. His widow, Grace Mugabe, is reportedly asking for the transfer of titles to several mansions from ZANU-PF to the family.
Robert Mugabe has died a corrupt tyrant who plundered his country for billions of dollars for himself and a small circle of cronies.
Robert Mugabe did lead the liberation movement against the white minority rule of the Smith regime, which achieved change in 1980 when for the first time all Zimbabweans could vote for their government. This is the achievement to be remembered and built on – equality and democracy.