|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Mbare Report No 15, 13 July 2005
I could not get into my own premises, such a throng of people jostling each other were in front of the gate. People are hungry and desperate. Where is the next meal coming from? The sick, the handicapped, the elderly may get elbowed out of the way; the bedridden may be left out altogether. Mbare has an unusually large elderly population. Leaders of our parish neighbourhood groups come with lists of people we have not been able to assist yet and tell harrowing stories of biting hunger. How do we reach them all?
A few vendors are timidly emerging again on the streets with just a few vegetables and fruits for sale, not more than they can grab and run with if the police come round the corner. You get arrested if caught vending.
Most people who were self-employed or depended on income from renting out rooms are ruined. They have no chance ever to follow their trade again unless they are party supporters and are given stands at the new sites controlled by the party. People not supporting the party no longer have a right
Not all who escaped the chaos in Mbare to the rural areas have been lucky. A woman who has a history of being harassed as an opposition party supporter, who had her house burnt and was beaten up, came back from a remote area to look for food: there is nothing where she went; she has been
feeding her family on vegetables only.
There is no cleaning-up. There is only destruction and heaps of rubble lining certain streets and filling up empty spaces where people have dumped the debris left after -tsunami-. Mbare was never so ugly.
That is the depressing thing: the enormous lies that are being told day in, day out. The country is being cleaned up, order is restored; you are freed from crime and corruption; new houses are being built. Truth is constantly being twisted and distorted, which touches our very humanity. We cannot live without truth. It is part of the air we breathe. You choke on this diet of lies, you vomit when constantly fed such poison.
The boys of Hartmann House loaded our car with blankets they had brought from home for the displaced people. The students of St George’s reputed to be interested only in cricket or rugby, far from the social reality of the country | raised $ 20 million with which we bought three bales of
blankets, 60 blankets each. It is very encouraging to experience the solidarity of fellow Christians.
On Monday afternoon, while watching the crowds lining up for food distribution, amidst the hustle and bustle of people shouting and arguing, crying and pleading, suddenly Cardinal Napier, archbishop of Durban, SA, appeared. I could not believe my eyes: what is he doing here? Then more clergy
emerged from a mini-bus: the delegation of the SA Council of Churches was visiting Mbare. Tell your president|, our aid workers told the visitors. Our president never received them. It was good to experience the concern of our neighbours from down south.
New CGD Note: Costs & Causes of Zimbabwe's Crisis
July 20, 2005
New research from the Center for Global Development, a non-partisan development policy thinktank in Washington DC, estimates the huge costs of Zimbabwe's economic crisis--and shows that the government, rather than drought or donors, is mostly to blame. Summary and links below. If you are interested in interviews, please contact the authors directly via email or on 202-416-0715.
Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis
by Michael Clemens and Todd Moss
Center for Global Development Note
Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its economy over the past five years. The purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 has fallen back to the same level as in 1953. For people in extreme poverty, a collapse like this translates directly into sickness and death. We conservatively estimate that persistence in the economic shock will cost the lives of at least 3,900 Zimbabwean children per year—about half the infant death toll from HIV/AIDS. The government blames its economic problems on external forces and drought. We assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has cost the government far more in key budget resources than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe’s economic regression, the decline in welfare, and unnecessary deaths of its children.
The full Note (4 pages) is available here: Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis
Please email me if you cannot access the paper through the hyperlink and I can send you an attached copy.
Todd J. Moss, Research Fellow
Center for Global Development
1776 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
tel (202) 416-0715 fax (202) 416-0750
The Center for Global Development is dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality through policy-oriented research and active engagement on development issues with the policy community and the public. More on www.cgdev.org