Mugabe should resign

Yesterday I bought fuel for Z$57 000 a litre, today the price is Z$85 000 to Z$90 000. I have just spoken to a taxi driver and he said that the standard fare from the high-density townships to the City Center was Z$15 000 today - going to Z$20 000 tomorrow and then Z$25 000. The currency continues is collapse and is now trading at 10 000 to 1 against the Rand and anything from 75 000 to 100 000 against the US dollar. Maize meal is again out of stock as is cooking oil and sugar. We bought a loaf of bread yesterday from Lobels for Z$30 000 and other bakeries are selling at Z$24 000.

The government stipulated wage for a domestic worker is less than Z$15 000 a month, the wage of a farm worker less than Z$40 000 a month and a worker in industry probably gets about Z$500 000, not enough for bus fare. We had tea with the widow of a Supreme Court Judge on Sunday - her pension is Z$90 000 a month - one US dollar.

We are now experiencing power cuts for up to 20 hours a day, the City has just announced that they are going to cut water supplies for 8 to 10 hours a day. A meeting was held last week with local industrialists who were told that they were going be cut as well - both power and water and they said that this would have a catastrophic effect on their operations.

There is a limit as to how much of this we can take. Even the most optimistic of characters is now uneasy about the situation and the government shows absolutely no ideas as to how to fix the problem. We have now had continuous economic decline since 1998, the reasons are entirely home grown as we have had no sanctions imposed on us, our trade relations are normal and we even get about US$600 million a year in aid.

Today the headline in the local State controlled paper was 'Reserve Bank starts distribution of farm equipment'. Mr. Mugabe was on radio and television making all sorts of noises about this and claiming that this initiative will solve our food shortages. Such statements just make us shudder, they demonstrate absolutely no understanding of what is causing this economic collapse and no concept at all as to what is required to start some sort of recovery. As for Gideon Gono distributing agricultural implements! That must make all our previous Reserve Bank Governors turn in their graves.

Really, enough is enough, it is time to go. Mr. Mugabe and his entire cabinet should admit failure, resign and call fresh elections. Stop messing about with the electoral system and voting conditions, give the people back what they fought for in the liberation struggle - real democracy. Allow others to stand up and offer themselves for leadership, allow the people to ask them what their solutions would be and then trust the people to decide who is to take power and try to turn things around. Zanu PF has failed utterly and there can be no more prevarication on this issue.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 12th June 2007