|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Olivia Nyabadza used to afford groceries, rent and medical bills. She also used to show up regularly at the hair salon for the latest style on the fashion scene. As she says, she was upwardly mobile.
But all that has changed in the last two years.
Now, whenever she goes to the supermarket, she takes a calculator and goes for only the most basic of supplies. She can barely make ends meet. Millions of others are in the same boat.
Economists say the government will most certainly come up with a budget that will do nothing to revive the economy
They say it would rather appease voters ahead of next year's crucial presidential election.
Zimbabwe's economic growth, initially expected to decline by 2.8 percent, is now expected to shrink by around 10 percent by year's end.
Inflation is at an all-time high of 86.3% and is expected to hit the 100% mark in two months time.
Economists and political analysts say the annual budget might entrench the return to socialism declared by President Mugabe two weeks ago.
The abandoning of International Monetary Fund and World Bank economic policies which Mr Mugabe flirted with for 10 years, has already seen the re-introduction of price controls of basic commodities.
John Makumbe, a political analyst, predicts quite a number of handouts in the form of tax cuts will be announced in the budget.
Elections or not, consumers such as Nyabadza would like to see more funds channelled into social services, especially in health care where costs have gone beyond the reach of the majority.
But with next year's elections ringing in his ears, commentators say it seems likely Finance Minister Simba Makoni may find himself putting short term political gains before the prudent management of the ailing economy.
From ZWNEWS, 31 October
Inside the mind of Mugabe
Last weekend, speculation yet again resurfaced about the state of President Mugabe’s health. The President himself said he was praying for a longer life, to see him through to the conclusion of his self-appointed task of completing the revolution. In passing, he also berated his ministers for being weak, in contrast to his own courage and strength. Last weekend too, by coincidence, a BBC programme was screened which looked into Mugabe’s mental processes, exploring his psyche in an attempt to discover what it is that motivates him, and to explain the contradictions which have seen him move from the perceived pragmatic conciliator at Independence in 1980, to today’s despotic, lonely and desperate man.
Sekai Holland, MDC secretary for international affairs; Chris Mutsvanga - Zanu PF secretary for Harare province; Wilfred Mhanda of the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform; and Terence Ranger, historian and sociologist, joined a psychologist and a psychiatrist in the debate. These two began with their ideas of Mugabe’s motivations. Dr Sandra Scott of London’s Maudsley Hospital suggested that Mugabe was a man originally driven by ideology, who has, somewhere along the line, been corrupted into seeking power for its own sake. Professor Nicholas Emler, a social psychologist from the London School of Economics, offered another viewpoint – that here is a man, like many leaders, who has total self-belief, who is convinced that he is always right, and that "the possession of power is evidence that one is right".
The programme examined in turn his childhood and early years, his early image as conciliator and unifier, the growing body of evidence of the violent streak in his character, and, after a brief excursion into his views on homosexuality, the descent into the spiralling hell of the last 18 months. If one common theme did emerge from the discussion, it is Mugabe’s total conviction that he is right, and that his views must prevail. His education by Jesuit missionaries, the panel (for probably the only time in the programme) agreed, gave him the tools of discipline, intellectual rigour, and single-mindedness recognised by almost everyone who knows him. From then on the debate began in earnest.
A conciliator and unifier? The early reconciliatory approach to whites on Independence was cited as evidence. "A visionary approach to politics", said Chris Mutsvanga. "We wanted an eye for an eye, and it was only years later we realised it was a necessary step to stabilise the country…." Wilfred Mhanda disagreed : "It suited his power balance. The whites were by then no longer a threat. Mugabe always extends the hand of reconciliation to the weak and vulnerable. Mugabe understands unity – underneath and behind him". On the Matabeleland atrocities. "His entire leadership is about revenge," said Sekai Holland. "His entire approach to power has been to eliminate what is in his way, and get that through votes and international acceptance." "One needs to distinguish the rhetoric – unity – from the tactics – divide, eliminate the opposition, and, underlying that, the goal – I have the vision, I am right, I need to have the power to push forward my view," said Professor Emler. Terence Ranger begged to differ: "This was not a divide and rule tactic. Rather, it was a quest for democratic centralism. He had 60% of the vote and he wanted 100% of the vote. It is not that he is some Macbeth figure, coveting the crown. He feels that he is right, and is prepared to be repressive in order to maintain his capacity to be right."
And of the present, and the future…Somewhat prophetically, given that the programme was recorded before Mugabe’s statements last weekend, Professor Emler summed up: "In Mugabe’s case, here is someone primarily driven by the idea that he is right, that he is righter than other people, he has a powerful intellect – who could possibly succeed him? Finding a successor is almost an admission of defeat…"