The request follows sharp rises in the price of essentials such as mealie meal, cooking oil, salt and sugar. The situation has been blamed on the collapsing Zimbabwean dollar. The exchange rate is now about Zim $400 to the US dollar (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/cost-of-living-crisis-zanu-pf-members-feel-pinch-plead-for-permits-buy-basics-in-zambia/).
Voice of America quotes a high school English teacher Christine Kayumba as saying she can’t afford to buy bread for her family because of rising prices, she said that she cooks a bland, thin porridge three times a day and rarely serves rice because it is too expensive as well. ‘This price increase of bread has reduced me to nothing,’ she told VOA. ‘I don’t feel I am still the mother figure, the bread winner for my family. Because I am failing to provide, each and every morning they wake up crying for porridge, crying for bread.’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the largest exporters of wheat, is blamed for this soaring rise in prices. The chairman of the Grain Millers’ Association, Tafadzwa Musarara, said Ukraine was one of his main suppliers but a consignment of wheat for Zimbabwe had been stuck in the embattled city of Mariupol because of the war (see: https://www.voanews.com/a/zimbabwe-loaf-of-bread-now-costs-2-a-100-increase-since-russia-invaded-ukraine-/6545373.html).
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has urged President Mnangagwa to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar as a matter of urgency. Mnangagwa reintroduced the local dollar in 2019 after a decade of relative stability but it quickly lost value, triggering a wave of price rises (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/04/forget-the-zimdollar-chamisa/).
Mnangagwa, a supporter of Russia’s psychopathic President Putin. has insisted his policy will not change and accused businesses of sabotaging the government despite publicly professing support for its policies. In a speech at the International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday, he said: ‘Business cannot purport to support government by day and sabotage it by night and thereafter play victim.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mnangagwa-accuses-businesses-of-sabotaging-his-government-as-economy-reels-from-inflation/.)
The Vigil is not surprised that Zimbabwe’s aspiration to re-join the Commonwealth has not been embraced by the UK. As the world increasingly divides between democracies and autocratic regimes, Zimbabwe could hardly hope to be welcomed back by the UK, given Mnangagwa’s support for Russia and China and other undemocratic regimes. The British minister dealing with the Commonwealth Zac Goldsmith told parliament that the human rights situation and rule of law were pivotal to the readmission of Zimbabwe (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/uk-minister-says-zimbabwe-not-ready-for-commonwealth-re-admission-cites-rule-of-law-and-rights-abuses/).
- The Anti-Corruption Commission has said it will crack down on officials of the Revenue Authority, who it accuses of fuelling corruption at the borders. It spoke of high-level criminal activity, including drug trafficking, livestock theft, money laundering and the smuggling of minerals which it says is costing the country about US$1.8 billion a year. The Commission’s chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo said they were targeting the taxman and other law enforcement agencies for abetting corruption at the borders (see: https://www.africanews.com/2022/04/26/zimbabwe-goes-after-revenue-collection-authorities/).
- Our virtual Vigil activist today was Deborah Harry who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720298541517 for today’s photos.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
Events and Notices:
- Next ROHR Meeting. Saturday 7th May at 11 am. For information, contact: Margaret Munenge 07379764249, Casper Nyamakura 07577666912 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
- Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 5 pm. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month. On other Saturdays we will continue the virtual Vigil.
- ROHR Fundraising Walk. Saturday 18th June. More information as plans develop.
- 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.
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