During the past 27 years of Zanu PF government in Zimbabwe under Robert
Gabriel Mugabe, the State has slipped from being a reasonably stable,
democracy with a good civil service and real potential for growth and
development, to an autocratic, corrupt predatory regime that pays scant
regard to the law or the interests of its people. The numbers are
astounding. GDP has fallen by over half, exports by two-thirds, food
production by 80 per cent, industrial output by 50 per cent. In the
sphere, life expectancy has declined to the lowest in the world,
a year for every year Mugabe has been in power, all social indicators
negative and the real incomes of formal sector workers has declined by
In the sphere of macro economic management - by no means rocket
today, the regime has run a budget deficit of over 60 per cent of GDP,
raised taxes equal to another 50 per cent of GDP, stolen at least a
real economic output with most of the resulting wealth being spread
an elite of perhaps 2000 individuals and the security establishment.
As a result, in the midst of a steep decline in economic activity, a
expansion in absolute poverty and the collapse of all State managed
services, we have the specter of a small political and military elite
drive expensive cars, go on shopping trips to Dubai and are building
mansions that would grace the cities of the richest countries in the
It is obscene. While this is going on, we have seen our democracy
and our human rights taken from us in a similar fashion to the
regimes of the Soviet Union or Germany circa 1930 - 1945. It is no
exaggeration to say we have seen thousands of political killings
(Gukurahundi), hundreds of thousands tortured, beaten and raped and
displaced, both internally and externally.
We know we are not alone in this sort of situation - there are
regimes in Africa and even a few elsewhere. The scary thing is that the
regime would be getting away with all of this if it were not for a
brave and dedicated cadre of activists who have worked tirelessly to
what is going on, publicise the outcome and fight for matters to be
It was this group who wrote the report 'Breaking the Silence' that
revealed the horrors of Gukurahundi. It was the UN that disclosed the
and seriousness of the Murambatsvina exercise, it was a lone cameraman
working for the State controlled media who photographed the rioting and
subsequent beatings of MDC leaders in March this year and was beaten to
death for his courage.
Even the much maligned IMF has played a small role by continuing to
and put out on its website, detailed technical reports that have spelt
the truth about the economy in the face of State propaganda. The great
failure has been in Africa itself. There is no point in Britain or the
United States coming out with a harsh critique of Mugabe and his
this is simply brushed aside by Mugabe and his cronies as another
'neo-colonialism'. Other African leaders and the regime here
misinterpret even the targeted sanctions aimed at the perpetrators of
crimes against humanity as economic sanctions directed at the people of
Zimbabwe rather than the actual targets themselves.
Gradually the crimes of Mr. Mugabe and his entourage has dawned on
leaders. When they attend events such as the World Economic Forum in
Town recently they are confronted by the need to resemble some sort of
profitable and secure place for investment flows from the rest of the
It is very difficult to do so while you have errant and truant regimes
that which exists in Zimbabwe still being treated as a 'respected'
the African Club of Nations.
Just take the current madness. Mugabe announces that the run away
in Zimbabwe is part of an international 'regime change' agenda. He
that Britain and the USA are behind the inflation (do not laugh - in
quarters he is taken seriously when he makes such ridiculous claims).
then sends out his armed thugs in small groups to force industrialists
retailers to roll back their prices. No rational basis - just reduce
prices by 'X' or we will do 'Y'. So for the past 4 days we have
hundreds of businesses raided, managers and owners beaten in some
nearly 200 taken into Police custody and billions of dollars written
stocks of products already paid for.
I am struggling right now to work out what we have lost in our small
business. Customers fighting to get into the supermarket have smashed
glass front of the store and we have long queues - people anxious to
what is available at the low prices and before stocks run out. I have
all buying and by the end of today we will start to close down - 42
out of work. Many others are doing the same thing. Wholesalers have
down their stocks and are now billing suppliers for rebates.
I am contemplating what to do at our level but cannot see anyone being
willing or able to give me a cheque for many hundreds of millions of
in compensation for the measures forced on us. When finally the whole
exercise collapses in a heap and we go back to normal trading, we will
have the cash to pay for new stocks. Of course there may not be any
manufacturers still operating at that point.
Just to give one example of nutty economics, Mugabe style. An empty bag
10 kilograms of maize meal costs Z$79 000, the maize at subsidized
from the GMB costs Z$26 000 and the new controlled price is Z$85 000
half of total costs before any profit accrues to the miller. Fuel is
same - the landed cost is about US85 cents per litre and this is
Z$170 000. The controlled price is Z$60 000. By the end of today the
place you will be able to buy fuel will be behind closed doors in some
ally after dark - at Z$250 000 a litre or more.
On Saturday the two teams from the MDC and Zanu PF resume talks in
They are discussing the conditions for the March 2008 elections. I do
think we will get there. Perhaps that is the real game being played
the scenes by the predatory, kleptocratic regime that some call our
Bulawayo, 4th July 2007