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.
In this atmosphere, foreign diplomats increased their criticism of the failures of the Mnangagwa government to make substantive reform, and the stand-off between the US Ambassador and the Foreign Minister actually sharpened. On the other hand, an apparent freezing of access to hard currency by Chinese companies undertaking the only three active infrastructure projects in the country caused a heated public clash with China.
The standstill and setbacks in Mnangagwa’s efforts to re-engage with the international community is a real achievement of the Mugabe – G40 forces inside and outside the government. Chamisa and the MDC Alliance are in alliance with G40, and pressure is building from Mnangagwa for a showdown with them.
However, the government is at loggerheads with its own public service, going so far as to dismiss striking doctors, and stonewalling teachers, nurses and civil servants whose wages are rapidly shrinking due to huge inflation. The government’s 2020 Budget has been presented as “the end of austerity” but its spending increases are also a mirage, due to the huge inflation. A new, pro-people strategy is sorely needed.
Zimbabwe Information Centre
November 22, 2019