Mugabe’s govt faces shut down

via Mugabe’s govt faces shut down – Nehanda Radio Aug 31, 2015

HARARE – As Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown accelerates, a catastrophic shutdown of important government functions is looming, with insiders telling the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the cash squeeze that has been crippling the fiscus over the past two years has now reached a “crisis” point.

“Listen, we are in s..t (swear word for big trouble),” a senior government official with intimate knowledge of the treasury said resignedly, adding: “The economy is in free-fall and government coffers are running dry, and no one appears to have a clue of what to do. I fear for the worst”.

The despondent official spoke as government once again delayed payments to pensioners this month — who will now only get their meagre stipends mid next month — as the State battles to juggle its modest resources, amid the worsening economic crisis that has resulted in the closure of thousands of companies and the loss of hundreds of thousands of badly-needed jobs.

But the official who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said the delayed payments to pensioners was “a picnic, as terrible as it is”, with his biggest fear being that the entire government machinery was perilously close to shutting down because of the debilitating cash squeeze.

“The big issue now, the way things are going, is when, not whether government will run out of cash to keep key services going and to pay civil servants such as the police and teachers. And here, I’m not talking of delayed payments, I’m talking of a complete inability to pay,” he said.

Another official said “all is not well in the state of Rome”, adding, “the money we were promised by our Chinese friends is not coming through, and the ongoing company closures and the recent job losses mean that government revenues are progressively getting less”.

The government currently spends three quarters of its $4,1 billion budget on the salaries of its employees, and so far this year, recurrent expenditure, mostly wages, have eaten up 96 percent of monthly revenues — squeezing out essential capital expenditure.

Economist and opposition legislator, Eddie Cross, said yesterday that the state was now clearly “incapable of maintaining itself” and meeting its essential obligations.

“The consequences will be fully established by year end where we are likely to see hospitals unable to function, except as mortuaries, and schools becoming day care centres for young people who will not get any education. The Diaspora will struggle to feed their extended families back home,” he said.

“Internationally we remain as isolated as ever. Even the Chinese are saying that to qualify for their assistance we have to reform the way we do things. In the absence of fundamental political, social and economic reforms, there will be no possibility of any international assistance. The only option for Zimbabweans caught up in this spiralling crisis will be to flee and find refuge in other countries,” Cross added.

Analysts have said Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when the country’s seemingly unending political crisis precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar and the establishment of the hope-inducing government of national unity.

Speaking recently in interviews with the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, the analysts said the only difference between then and now was that supermarkets were currently full of goods unlike seven years ago — although very few Zimbabweans were able to afford the goods as joblessness and poverty levels in the country continued to increase exponentially.

The analysts put the blame for the country’s escalating political and economic crisis at the door of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, saying the ruling party had more appetite for its mindless factional and succession wars than resolving Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges and advancing the lives of long-suffering citizens.

Afghanistan-based analyst Maxwell Saungweme said unless “something dramatic” happened very soon, Zimbabwe was in fact headed for a political and socio-economic crisis that was worse than that experienced in 2008 when the country recorded one of the worst inflation levels ever reported anywhere in the world, where shop prices were literally changing by the minute.

“In 2008 we had our own currency to play with, though it was valueless, but this time around we have the US dollar which is hard to get for both the cash-strapped government and the people. Unemployment is also currently much, much higher than in 2008 and getting worse.

“Add to all this the fact that the government is more clueless this time than before, in terms of providing economic reprieve for the people. And donors have also cut back on support to civil society and non-governmental organisations that used to provide life-serving interventions.

“Politically, Zanu PF is more divided than before, to the extent that government is actually dysfunctional. Depressingly, even opposition political parties are also divided and can’t even lobby other governments to pay attention to the situation in the country. This is why I say we are heading for disaster,” a despairing Saungweme said.

Respected academic and political commentator Ibbo Mandaza said with Mugabe in power, there was little hope of the economy reviving any time soon.

“I hope it’s not going there (to 2008) and I hope something can be done. Clearly, we need a political solution, but as long as Mugabe is there, there is no hope,” he said bluntly.

Renowned economist John Robertson said the situation that currently obtained in the country was already “statistically worse” than that which prevailed in 2008.

“I think we’re back to 2008, and in some cases it is actually worse than 2008. On the employment front, the number of people who are unemployed now is worse than we had in 2008.

“Statistics show that we actually have the same employment figures as we had in 1968, almost 50 years ago. While two million jobs were supposed to be created, we only have about 700 000 people employed, of which half of them are employed by the government,” Robertson said.

He said the only reason why most people appeared not to realise the depths of the damage to the bleeding economy was that there were no shortages of goods in shops.

“The purchasing power for 2008 seems to be higher than now because wages were being paid and people had money to buy goods, though the goods were not available. Now people do not have money, but goods are available.

“It’s a process which has many contributing factors such as the cost of doing businesses, which is very high and which means that we can’t compete with imports,” Robertson said, adding that power shortages and poor investment policies had also crippled prospects for economic growth.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said while the situation may not necessarily go back to 2008, because of the mitigating factor of the US dollar that was the major currency of commerce in the country — and which meant that those few people who still had jobs and had a steady income could be spared the horrors of 2008 — Zimbabweans should not expect the country’s economy to improve with Mugabe in power.

“The Zimbabwe crisis is fundamentally a political problem. President Robert Mugabe must leave power, as it does not make sense to have a 91-year-old determining the future of the country. Where is his future? We need young and energetic people who have an understanding of the global economy to take charge.

“What we also need to do is to reform the politics of the country. Zanu PF is talking about liberalisation of the economy when they cannot appreciate liberal politics,” Ruhanya said. Daily News


  • comment-avatar
    R Judd 8 years ago

    At all times ZANU has been too clever to be advised. The situation we now find ourselves in is the exact predictable consequence of ZANU actions for the last 35 years, and the predictions were indeed made, over and over again.

    The Mugabe arrogance must be understood in the light of his absolute inability to learn from experience.

    To those very many Zimbabweans who have voted for ZANU all along, believing that it is actually possible to get something for nothing, I hope you are enjoying.

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    biend 8 years ago

    Zim people have themselves to blame not ZANU PF,they keep on voting a Party that has failed dismally for years and expect a different result.If i was ZANU Leadership i would also stay on and do what I can till we loose.On the other hand you have selfish Leaders of opposition Parties who are in small fragments who expect to take down the mighty ruling Party,it boggles the mind how they plan to achieve this being in small and insignificant groupings

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    Okech 8 years ago

    @Judd, it is more complicated than that. Those who voted for him will complain now but will still vote for him come 2018. It is called “follow my leader” syndrome, which is not only unique to Zimbabwe but almost everywhere in Africa. What is needed are genuine ideas to sort this mess, and we are capable of doing so.

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    Trebor Ebagum 8 years ago

    Time for a little Biafra-style indigenization.

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    Jono Austin 8 years ago

    the black Hitler is driving his country to utter ruin, just like his hero; and lemming like his followers are going to go over the cliff edge and into the sea with him. My goodness it should rankle that for 35 years they have been driving down the wrong road. I wonder if they care though?-in their arrogant stupidity they can’t see beyond their immediate gratification. Death and destruction probably fits with their deep down realisation that they are an incompetent, inferior and incapable lot, hence their spiteful viciousness. If I was charitable I’d think this was pitiful, but as they are all scoundrels of the lowest rank I will take great pleasure in witnessing their demise.

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    chimusoro 8 years ago

    We are the victims of externalization of funds by whites!

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      Once a victim, always a victim. Not sure who externalized the diamond monies (20+ billion) but since there was not a white allowed near the process possibly we need to look elsewhere to find a master to victimize us.

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      Nigel Kuhn 8 years ago

      Hahahaha – what a stupid prick you are chimusoro

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    mugabe should have embraced the GNU instead of destroying it.
    but he just could not accept that he should have any limitations to his power – and he still can’t.

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      Jono Austin 8 years ago

      Oh that will happen again. Mugabe will ‘extend an olive branch’, ‘we are all Zimbabweans’, ‘let us all go forward together as united people’, making sure of course that he firmly controls the power levers. Once MDC is on board (buy the MDC hierarchy Benz’s) Zanu is good for another 10 years.

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    player 8 years ago

    Game almost over! Zimbos have mercy with their wifes ,kids, and extended family and friends when ….

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    I was feeling depressed until I read chimusoro’s post – then I burst out laughing! You have to hand it to these Zanoids, always full of humour.

    Back on a serious note, the wheels are busy falling off and STILL they fight to steal “white” farms and business, and STILL they waffle on about “indigenisation”.

    But they cannot change course without losing face by admitting they have been wrong in almost everything and also admitting that their Dear Leader is barking mad. So they would rather the whole place collapsed.