Electricity shortages have added to the burden of high inflation – now 100 per cent - and cash shortages in Zimbabwe, provoking a nurses go-slow action and widespread calls for wages to be paid in US dollars. Threats of mass protests during June have not eventuated, perhaps partly because of pre-emptive arrests of activists, and neutralised by some progress on the national dialogue. Both US and EU diplomats have made encouraging statements about the government’s economic program and law reform program, and the Tripartite Negotiating Forum is taking shape. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President, Peter Mutasa, met with President Mnangagwa despite serious charges against him from the January stay-away action.
Seven civil society activists have been arrested after returning in May from a peaceful protest workshop in the Maldives, and another workshop was held in South Africa whose documents revealed a consideration of violent action as well as non-violent strategies to overthrow the government. The US-funded National Endowment for Democracy was associated with the Maldives event. The seven remain in prison despite vigorous efforts to have them released on bail.
Controversy continues to impact on the MDC following its May Congress, with its President Nelson Chamisa appointing his main rivals into the new national executive, while provincial elections to the national executive continue to be marred. Despite still not meeting with President Mnangagwa, Chamisa displayed significant rapprochement at the funeral of Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java MP by stopping booing of former MDC Vice-President Thokozani Khupe, and the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda.
Italy maintained the steady small donations by contributing €250,000 to the World Food Program to provide food to communities impacted by Cyclone Idai.
Zimbabwe Information Centre Australia sent a condolence message to the Tsvangirai family on the tragic death of Vimbai one month after a car crash. ZIC provided support to Vimbai during her studies at Newcastle University over 10 years ago.
Zimbabwe Information Centre, Australia
June 21, 2019