“The prison service plans to recruit 11,000 new officers, adding to the government’s bloated 230,000-strong workforce which it is already struggling to pay,” reported one website recently. This is to be expected. The regime knows all too well that the economic meltdown is making the people desperate and restless. But instead of doing something to end the economic nightmare the regime is gearing itself to step up for brutal repression.
The Zimbabwe economy shrunk by a world record 84% in the six year period 2002 to 2008, sending unemployment to the nauseating height of 85% plus and forcing millions of people into abject poverty. There was some semblance of economic normality during the GNU; the Z$ was scrapped ending the 500 billion inflation rate and shops filled with goods (imported mostly as local companies never came back). Unemployment remained stubbornly high.
The GNU was totally dysfunctional and that is why it failed to achieve much. The nation pinned its hopes on the elections to produce a competent and democratic government. Sadly that was not to be as Mugabe rigged the elections with the tacit concurrence of MDC who had failed to implement the necessary democratic reforms for free and fair elections.
After that Mugabe and his cronies assumed political power once again and it was clear they were intent on starting off from where they left at the beginning of the GNU; all hopes of a return to rule of law and economic recovery were dashed!
Donors and foreign investors took fright and have kept their distance, depriving the country of the foreign cash injection needed to kick start the economy. Even the few companies who had managed to hold on throughout the GNU hoping for better times have given up in despair.
Zimbabwe has become a nation of vendors. The number of people who can eke out a living in the informal sector, kiya kiya, is dependent on those in formal employment, their customers. Kiya kiya people do not sell to fellow vendors! And worse still they do not pay business rates or tax – which is why government and local authority have no money to maintain basic services.
Mugabe has failed to raise a single dollar for his $27 billion ZimAsset economic recovery programme; not even his traditional allies the Chinese would contribute a single Yuan. The only way out is for Mugabe to admit he has failed to govern and give up power; sadly that is the one thing he will never do. – WILBERT MUKORI, by emailPost published in: Letters to the Editor