via A letter to the Diaspora – The Zimbabwean 25 February 2015
It has been a while since I last wrote to you all my brothers and sisters.
Since then, your country has truly become a banana republic because some good men have chosen expediency and have kept quiet while those hoping for change within Zanu (PF) have been emasculated by President Mugabe’s wife Grace, to ensure that there is nobody who remains in the party who can challenge him to the throne.
As you walk in the streets of Harare it is difficult not to see and smell the poverty and hopelessness of people trying to make a living. The informal economy is now the main driver of daily economic activity as formal companies close or delist from the stock exchange and factory warehouses become Pentecostal churches – whose business is roaring, but unfortunately is not included in our GDP. It’s an economic catastrophe.
Zimbabwe’s living standards have gone back 60 years with an estimated 75% of the adult population making an average of $200 a month. The Mugabe regime has taken us back to Southern Rhodesia standards, even before Ian Smith’s time.
The sad part is the continued naïve enthusiasm of your average Zanu (PF) member, who is still convinced that Mugabe is the best thing that ever happened to Zimbabwe. Nothing can be further from the truth.
As the supreme leader turns 91 no doubt newspapers will be inundated with adverts from loss making state enterprises, jostling to place adverts to wish him many more years. His birthday bash is on Friday the 28th and will costs a cool $1 million and 20,000 underlings and VIP’s are expected to feast themselves on elephant, buffalo, sable and lion steaks.
The economy will not grow significantly in 2015 as we are too dependent on mining exports and these are always determined by China’s growth, which is expected to retract in 2015. So expect nothing new in 2015 except lies that things are getting better.
Agriculture has not gotten any better since I was at school and your smallholder farmers who occupied vast tracts of land remain too dependent on Mugabe’s politicised farming inputs scheme. Most of them are growing tobacco and you can imagine the environmental damage being caused as they cut down trees to cure the product. We expect to have to import maize again this year. The chefs can’t wait to make super profits once more – as they award the import licences for maize with a huge mark up to themselves. Food shortages will continue to oil the patronage machine.
In the mining sector, small-scale gold miners are now producing about 65% of our gold and are also doing their best to contribute to mercury pollution of our water. It is estimated that $800 million worth of gold is smuggled out the country each month and there is no prize for guessing who is involved.
The Zimbabwe that Zanu (PF) has created is shameful and yet they continue to claim that things are improving. Now they are focusing on poor vendors. We have a new VP, Phelekezela Mphoko, who is a true embarrassment to us all as he berates vendors as lazy while condemning young people for crossing the border to South Africa to seek jobs. He is staying in luxury at a hotel in Harare until the government provides him with a mansion, courtesy of the tax payer of course.
Your opposition parties have been rather quiet and continue to play corporate politics by holding regular press conferences in Harare and condemning whatever Zanu (PF) does. It is most likely that they are all waiting for 2018 elections but they forget Zanu (PF) is diverting attention from the real issues with their internal battles, while working in the background, as they did in 2013, to secure another victory in 2018. I hear that NIKUV have already trained some CIO’s for the 2018 election rigging plan. We also have lost faith in ZEC, a mere department in the Ministry of Justice.
It seems there is no end to Mugabe’s rule. He is old, tired and clearly does not have the energy to occupy such an office especially in these times where the country needs to take a completely new path into the future.
The only people who can build the Zimbabwe we want is you who have had exposure and we must keep fighting so that in the end you can return to build the Zimbabwe ruins that have been created by the ruling party.
I wish you all well I am aware that life is not easy for you but at least you get a pay cheque at the end of month unlike millions of your brothers and sisters here. I do believe that soon we shall see the end of the dictatorship because, as Oliver Mtukudzi aptly puts it, hapana chisikapere. – Vince Musewe is an economist, author and President of Zimbabwe First! You can contact him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org