Zim dollar ‘in death spiral’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

There are mounting fears for Zimbabwe’s currency, with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries warning that the Zimbabwe dollar is ‘in real peril’. In a letter to its members, it said that the greatest risk facing the economy was ‘an inappropriate response’ by the government.


Many currency traders have been arrested in recent weeks accused of manipulating the Zimbabwe dollar in trading on the black market. The Zimbabwe dollar has been changing hands for as much as 200 for one US dollar while the official rate is about 90 (see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-12/zimbabwe-business-warns-currency-in-peril-urges-policy-response).

The American economist Steve Hanke, who has been tracking the Zimbabwean economy for many years, said the Zimbabwe dollar had depreciated by 93% since it was brought back into circulation two years ago. ‘President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not only corrupt but when it comes to economics is totally ignorant’, he said. ‘Zimbabwe’s currency is in a death spiral. Now the corrupt government is threatening to suspend all businesses using black market exchange rates to price goods. I’ve seen this movie before. It has a tragic ending.’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/mnangagwa-ignorant-of-economic-issues-us-economist/.)

The decline of the Zimbabwe dollar was not the only thing worrying the outside world. There has also been an anxious reaction to the Zanu PF violence against the MDC Alliance.

Senator Jim Risch of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the Zimbabwe government should take concrete steps to respect human rights if sanctions were to be lifted. ‘Political violence by Zanu PF against the opposition is unacceptable. There must be accountability’, he said. In the UK similar observations were made by Jonathan Oates of the House of Lords and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, who said he was deeply worried to hear of an attack by Zanu PF activists on opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s convoy in Masvingo where Chamisa was to meet local leaders (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/mdc-alliance-claims-more-attacks/).

For his part, Chamisa appealed to Mnangagwa to ‘stop dividing people and destroying this beautiful country’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/stop-violence-chamisa-tells-mnangagwa/.)

Other points

  • The acquittal of former Health and Child Care Minister, Obadiah Moyo on corruption charges has been greeted with derision. He was accused of illegally approving tenders of US$60 million for the procurement of Covid 19 personal protective equipment and test kits. Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested for reporting on the case, tweeted: ‘As I told you when Obadiah Moyo was charged, the case by the State was made deliberately weak so that it failed. Even a first year law student would have told you that.’ (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zimbabweans-fume-over-obadiah-moyos-acquittal/.)
  • Unvaccinated government workers will not allowed to work from Monday according to an official announcement (see: https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/zimbabwe-bars-unvaccinated-civil-servants-work-2021-10-15/).
  • Headline of the week: ‘Can mopane worms save us?’ Fortune Moyo wrote a lovely piece about the value of these creatures which apparently are not worms at all but ‘leaf eating caterpillars of emperor moths’. Anyway, they are a valued food resource (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/can-mopane-worms-save-us/).
  • Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 23rd October. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720077709780. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Delice Gavazah, Babula Gwatiringa, Dambudzo Marimira, Amina Matewele, Joyce Mbairatsunga and Esther Munyira who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR Bi-annual Conference. Saturday 23rd October at 11 am. Venue Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Among agenda items is 1) leadership renewal, 2) 2022 activity calendar, 3) immigration matters and 4) campaign strategy. For more information contact: Casper Nyamakura 07877666912, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Cynthia Chibanda 07449494539.
  • The next Vigil. Saturday 23rd October from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

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