Newswire Zimbabwe suffers economic decline

drought conditions in rural Zimbabwe

Aug. 12, 2019 (GIN) – It’s hard to believe how far Zimbabwe has fallen since former President Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military-backed coup.

Power cuts now leave citizens without electricity from dawn to long after dusk. Gas is too expensive so families cook on firewood. Bread is unaffordable. Drought has caused failed harvests. And rising inflation has eaten up pensions, leaving the elderly unable to retire with dignity.

Outside Harare, the humanitarian need is greater. The United Nations says more than five million people – almost a third of the population and almost entirely in rural areas – will be in need of food aid. “This year we have more hungry Zimbabweans than ever before,” said Eddie Rowie, the World Food Program’s country director.

Obert Masaraure, the leader of a union that represents rural teachers, said his 30,000 members had been reduced to “paupers”.

“The learners are walking to school on empty stomachs. They are collapsing in class because they are so weak. The teachers can’t pay for their own children’s education. But people are looting millions,” he said.

It is more than a year and a half since Robert Mugabe was removed in a military takeover, and a year since his former right-hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, took power after a contested election. Mugabe, 95, has been receiving medical treatment in Singapore since April, an official statement revealed last week.

Most in Zimbabwe hoped that the transition would lead to a change in fortunes for a country once deemed self-sufficient in maize and a major exporter of beef.

Mnangagwa promised democratic reform, a wave of new investment and the prospect of better relations with foreign powers. At rallies, the 77-year-old Zanu-PF loyalist spoke of his country being “open for business” and promised good days ahead.

But exports hit the skids and a terrible drought ended food self-sufficiency. In this week’s NewsDay Zimbabwe, an editorial relayed the author’s emotions. “Some of us feel sad that 39 years after independence – and as we honor this week thousands of our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives so that the indigenous people regain control of their land – the country is failing each year to feed itself.

“Our gallant brothers and sisters who shed their blood for this land must be turning in their graves – this is definitely not what they hoped for; that we should be going about with begging bowls for food alms in a land of plenty.”

Meanwhile, on the occasion of Heroes Day, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said demonstrations would soon begin against the ruling Zanu PF to protest the failing economic situation in the country.

New opposition in Zimbabwe launches campaign

Joice Mujuru and Robert Mugabe

 Joice Mujuru and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

June 27, 2016 (GIN) – Zimbabwe‘s former vice president, Joice Mujuru, was the headliner at a rally this week in Matabeleland in one of the first public events of the new Zimbabwe People First opposition party.    The newly-launched campaign promptly took on the incumbent – President Robert Mugabe – in advance of elections in 2018.   Mujuru accused the government of being disinterested in the plight of the majority and promised to fight for the interests of ordinary citizens. “Zimbabwe People First is a new democratic, inclusive political party that accommodates every Zimbabwean… Please, get it from me, I am not going back to Zanu PF”.A year ago, Mujuru began stitching together a platform, publishing plans to relax security and media laws and review divisive black empowerment legislation. She pledged to push for a free press and repeal restrictive media and broadcasting laws that ban private television stations and bar foreign journalists from working permanently in Zimbabwe.

Tough security laws that Mugabe has used against the opposition would also be removed, Mujuru said.

A veteran of Zimbabwe’s independence war against white minority rule, Mujuru was once seen as one of Mugabe’s closest allies. However, she was dismissed from her government and ruling party posts in December on charges that she led a cabal that planned to topple Africa’s oldest leader.

Meanwhile, a two-page Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) – has been circulated that reads like an election manifesto. “From the day we started, it was like we lit a matchstick at a gas station. Everyone was waiting for the formation of a party which is all inclusive even to those who were not interested in politics,” Mugabe’s former deputy said.

 

“When people heard there was a political party called People First they were saying ‘Mai Mujuru we were blaming ourselves asking what we were doing [in Zanu PF] when madzana mbwanana achitambwa nemazidinga aya’ [fools were playing with people’s lives],” she said.      Political commentator, Khanyile Mlotshwa, said Mujuru had a good chance to make an impression through her rally in Bulawayo. “Her rally will be packed, as long as her political commissars appeal to the people on the basis of her stature… If they play the woman card, they are likely to draw a lot of women, some of whom have never been interested in politics, to her party… ”    The ruling ZANU-PF party has already chosen Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 presidential poll, when he will be 94