THE COST OF DICTATORSHIP

John Makumbe
Someone said the only good thing about the year 2007 is that 2008 will be much worse. For the despotic Mugabe regime, it never rains but pours, as everything that can go wrong is busy doing so. The year began with the continuing strike by junior doctors and some nurses. The beleag


uered Health ministry tried the usual tactics but the striking medical persons remained unmoved. Doctor Death, sometimes called Parirenyatwa, was forced to publicly contradict his fast-mouthed deputy minister who had announced that all the medics on strike had been fired. Pari urged the medics to return to work since their terms and conditions of service had been improved. He however, would not disclose the nature of the new package, and the medics decided to continue with their industrial action.
Schoolteachers are supposed to have gone on collective job action last Monday, but to date; there is no evidence of the level of success their action may have yielded. Normally, school teachers are the most cowardly of creatures, and will very easily get intimidated to return to work or resort to “go slow”, which basically means that they will be in the classrooms but not teaching the poor kids. It is unlikely that the education ministry will pay much attention to the teachers’ threat to go on industrial action. The bungling Chigwedere is not likely to know what action to take to resolve a problem of that magnitude. He is obviously going to resort to the usual threats of dismissing some ringleaders and transferring others to inhospitable rural schools.
A few weeks ago university staff associations at state universities served their administrators with fourteen-day notices to engage in collective job action. Virtually all state universities responded by postponing the opening days by two or more weeks, purportedly to give parents adequate time to raise money to pay the grossly increased fees at tertiary institutions. But the university staffers are very unlikely to be deterred by this measure. It is also very likely that once they get back to campus, university students are going to be in a fighting mood, and anything can trigger a massive demonstration. It is also very likely that there will be a frightfully higher drop-out rate from all tertiary institutions this year than ever before since the advent of national independence.
The despotic ZanuPF regime is no longer able to provide subsidised fuel for commuter omnibuses, and bus fares have been soaring to unaffordable levels since the beginning of this year. Indeed, some fuel suppliers are now charging as much as $5 000 per litre for both petrol and diesel, and operators are passing the cost straight onto the commuter. At current levels of incomes, most people are no longer able to earn enough money to pay their bus fares through the month. What then is the purpose of going to work at all?
To all intends and purposes, all these problems are only the beginning of the end of the diabolical Mugabe regime. Numerous reports indicate that there is also increasing desertion from both the army and the police forces in Zimbabwe as a result of poor and unacceptable working conditions. The regime is becoming desperate for solutions to these and numerous other “challenges”. Some of its soldiers have now turned to crime in order to make ends meet. Police that are deployed at the recently discovered diamond mines in Manicaland are themselves turning to corruption and outright theft of the precious metals. Some reports indicate that some police officers are actively engaged in illegal digging for the stones and asking civilians to sell them and share the proceeds with the police officers concerned. For the regime, the cost of running this dictatorship has certainly escalated beyond its wildest imagination. The worst is still to come.


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Failure is the only option: An MDC perspective of the RBZ's monetary policy statement (31-01-07

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