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.
Instead, doctors, teachers and other public servants have declared that they cannot afford to go to work more than two days per week. They are demanding that their buying-power be restored but the government has at best offered a one-off payment and the promise of the annual bonus payment to soften the pain.
Official figures report inflation running at 300 per cent per year, and the overall economy will shrink by 6 per cent for 2019. The United Nations World Food Program is now feeding 2.2 million people in Zimbabwe to stave off starvation.
The positive news is that more action is being taken against corrupt practices, but the sense is that the biggest corruption, in the fuel and currency markets, is going on unchecked. The unravelling of the long promised US$400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe refurbishment program should flush out more corrupt players in high places.
The discovery of hundreds of police and riot squad helmets in the basement of an MDC building in Harare has given the Mnangagwa government more evidence of the shadow force it claims has worked to severely discredit its efforts to uphold human rights.
While the Mugabe family has clearly been making as much havoc as possible for the government, and has the financial firepower to do so, it is clear from the unresolved fuel supply, the NRZ case and other public sector scandals that deep inside the government there is a concerted effort to continue the Mugabe-era plundering and at the same time hobble any serious economic reform by the Mnangagwa government. The refusal of the MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, to enter the national political dialogue is a parallel effort to maintain political instability from the outside.
So far President Mnangagwa nor any social grouping, such as the unions, the churches, the women or professional organisations, has been able to break this impasse. And so the terrible social damage will continue.
Zimbabwe Information Centre
Australia, October 31, 2019