Focus on economic crisis as dust settles on Mugabe funeral
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.
However, the dynamics around Mugabe’s death and burial exposed the close relations between Grace Mugabe’s G40 faction, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, and Julius Malema of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters. Grace Mugabe managed to alienate the elders and chiefs of the Gushongo clan, and even some of the inner-circle of the family, demonstrating both her determination and isolation. Separately the ongoing land audit has reportedly found that the family held titles to 22 farms, six alone in the name of Robert Mugabe.
The doctors’ strike continues to dominate the news because of the extreme stress caused in the health system, now exposed as a shadow of the system developed in the first decade of Mugabe’s rule. And controversy still rages over who abducted the doctors’ leader Dr Peter Magombeyi, who is now receiving treatment in South Africa.
The government’s freezing of the bank accounts of Sakunda Holdings and its sister companies, Access Finance, Spartan Security and Croco Motors a fortnight ago has helped stabilise the currency, but the lack of further action, such as laying of charges against key speculators, suggests the government is unable to make a decisive breakthrough against high level corruption.
The government’s efforts at international engagement were focused on the UN General Assembly session in New York, where senior US officials made it clear that they had no sanctions against Zimbabwe as a country, but were insisting of more substantial political and economic reforms than so far delivered by President Mnangagwa’s government. Mnangagwa continued efforts to re-join the Commonwealth.
Zimbabwe Information Centre
Australia, October 8, 2019