Is the end in sight?
There are growing signs that we may be seeing the end of the Mugabe
The principle driver is the economy, but this is now being supported by
regional consensus that he has to step down so as to allow intervention
recovery. Political momentum is also being supported by renewed global
agreement that Zanu has exhausted all options, save one and must now
down and allow change to take place.
On the economic front the pace of collapse has accelerated sharply.
not reflected in official statistics but today the US dollar is trading
five times the official rate, fuel prices have risen to over Z$500 000
litre and a loaf of bread is selling at Z$200 000 with milk not far
for a half litre. This week maize meal prices have doubled, pushed by
first price increase in maize from the GMB in nearly two years. In the
24 hours, we have been without electricity for 12 hours - many areas
also without water.
I watched the Zimbabwe television news the other night and heard Mr.
announce that we are no longer importing maize - we have after all
enough maize to feed ourselves! The reality is that in the week ending
14th July, we imported 17 000 tonnes of white maize from South Africa.
matter what the rhetoric, the reality stays stubbornly in sight - we
only reap a third of our maize needs, imports will again have to be
million tonnes. We have grown a scant 20 000 hectares of wheat and
and will have to import three quarters of our needs of these essential
grains as well.
But aside from the dismal outlook for agriculture, with the exception
platinum sector where special agreements and the power of a few
multinationals are holding the sector together, the Zimbabwe economy is
close to collapse. The fiscal deficit is totally out of control and
inflation can only accelerate in the months ahead. The railways and
State controlled parastatals and companies are at an advanced stage of
collapse - many struggling to maintain even limited services and
This is typified by Air Zimbabwe, which, this past week has had only
But it is not only in these spheres that the noose is tightening about
neck of Zanu PF. It's also in the body politic. Demonstrations and
are a daily occurrence. Hundreds are arrested for one misdemeanor or
another. MDC Members of Parliament resolved this week to boycott
saying that it has ceased to have any relevance to the crisis that is
unfolding here. This past weekend the MDC held rallies and meetings
the whole country - calling on the people to get ready for the day when
will be called out onto the streets of our towns and cities to say
This coming weekend we will hold meetings of our National Executive and
Council and the MDC Council will meet on Saturday with representatives
civil society organisations to agree on the 'Road Map' (if you want a
let me know and I will send it to you) and to discuss plans for the
weeks. All civil society organisations will attend plus the Trade
representatives of the Churches.
On Sunday I attended a small meeting with Party leaders from the rural
to outline their participation in the actions that are being planned.
meeting was held behind closed doors and in near darkness. The feelings
and the sense of commitment profound. At the end of the meeting the
rose, held hands and pledged to support each other in the struggle that
ahead. Then a simple meal with water and they returned as they had come
their own expense and by private transport to their remote villages.
I am so privileged to belong to this movement among the poor and
disadvantaged. The man who led the discussions has seen his home for
one day in the past two months. He gets no salary and meets most of his
costs. His freedom and family at risk every day. Today I walked into a
meeting with two women there - just back from a meeting in a Church
surrounded by four truckloads of police. The one lady has been in
many times in recent months. They were planning their next moves and
'Soon', they said to me 'the long night will be over'.
Most observers and commentators do not believe the MDC and its allies
bring this off. I see a very different picture altogether. Zanu PF and
cohorts in the CIO and elsewhere are very nervous and with every
They have failed as a government in every sphere of their
They have failed to keep us safe and secure, they have failed to
freedoms, the very freedoms that were the goals of the liberation
They have failed to deliver a rising standard of living and access to
and education. They have failed to create and secure our jobs. Now they
go and allow others to start to put things right.
It was interesting to me to see that the ASEAN countries have just
isolate the regime in Burma. This after 30 years of patient tolerance
regime that has held its people in military submission and captivity.
Perhaps now the world community will be less tolerant of these aberrant
regimes - identify them for what they are and isolate and punish their
leadership until they agree to allow their people the basic rights
granted in modern democracies. Perhaps this is also the moment for us
Just this week the Chairman of the SADC, a regional grouping of central
southern African states invited Morgan Tsvangirai to visit Gaborone and
discussion with his administration on the crisis in Zimbabwe. An
honor in Africa where opposition is often confused with insubordination
treachery. He was well received and the visit given prominence by the
media - the government owned daily carried a full color picture of the
men embracing and tonight there is an hour-long interview with Morgan
I get the sense that people here are exhausted and dispirited. They are
denied the information they need to be anything else. Lets not despair
finish line is in sight and we must finish the race we joined in the
2000 when we decided to finally confront the regime in Harare. It has
longer than any of us expected and it has been much tougher than we
anticipated, but we are nearly there.
Bulawayo, 25th July 2006.