It is now clear that unless a foreign power steps in and forces Mr.
to back down and accept change, that he is bent on destroying what is
of the Zimbabwe economy. That is not saying much; agriculture is
at about 20 per cent, tourism and hospitality about the same, industry
per cent and mining about 80 per cent and declining fast. Our currency
now the stock market are worthless.
The new regulations promulgated on Friday cover virtually every product
produced and sold in Zimbabwe as well as all associated services. They
totally unworkable, give retailers and others inadequate margins with
to work and are clearly designed to freeze prices for just about
in an environment where inflation is running at 15 000 per cent and
The regime has gone even further, they now say they will nationalize
firms who do not comply. Firms doing so are committing financial
that leaves them with little option. Carry on if they can for a few
weeks and then close and hand over to the State.
Rumors are rife - Libya will advance the regime a US$2 billion loan
essential imports is one - that is just nonsense. Yesterday there was
that tankers of fuel are arriving from Beira - another story with
substance. The region and the international community are clearly
to step in at some stage with a rescue package, but that is linked to a
political deal that is clearly not in sight.
The most frequent question I am asked is why? Why are they doing this?
All we have to do is to roll back our recent history and look at two
campaigns - the campaign to destroy the commercial farming community
Murambatsvina, the campaign to destroy the non-formal sector in urban
Both had a primary objective and that was to enable Zanu PF to stay in
power. They had looked at the results of the referendum and then the
2000 elections and discovered that the commercial farming community -
million strong, with 700 000 voters, held the balance of electoral
between the urban areas (a lost cause) and the communal areas (a
electoral base for Zanu PF). By destroying the white commercial farming
sector they also eliminated a significant source of funding and support
the MDC and created a huge pool of resources for patronage to hold the
remaining pillars of support for Zanu PF in place.
Murambatsvina had a similar objective. For the first time, due in part
higher death rates, migration and continued rural/urban drift, the
population in the rural areas that Zanu has depended on for its
electoral support, had slipped into a minority position. For the first
in our history, more people are living in the urban areas than in the
areas (by my own estimate 60:40 or even more). So what do they do? They
in and in a three month campaign they destroy 300 000 urban dwellings
with electric light and running water, they displace 700 000 people who
forcibly transported to the rural areas and dumped and they destroy the
non-formal businesses that provide support for as many as 2,4 million
in urban areas (all UN figures).
Now please note that these operations were carried out with ruthless
efficiency, regardless of the cost, either financial or human and they
been stunningly successful. They got away with both because white
and their staff were easy targets, they got away with Murambatsvina
the UN system simply has no teeth or courage and who cares about urban
In each stage of this exercise in self-defence, the region accepted the
outcome and simply shrugged their shoulders. Zanu accurately calculated
the donor community would not let people starve and they have (as
continued to pour money into the pit that Zanu has been digging for
over the past 17 years, US$600 million a year in fact.
While the SADC remained mute, 3,5 million Zimbabweans, all economic and
political refugees, have fled to neighbouring States - especially
Africa. South Africa is only now waking up to the cost of this influx
social and economic terms - Mr. Blair put it at 3 per cent of SA GDP
annum (US$4,2 billion) while the specter of violent crime has come to
all South Africans - driven in part, by desperate refugees from
trying to make a living in a hostile environment and also to secure the
resources to keep their families at home alive (another US$1,2 billion
Why this new campaign? Well that is easy to understand actually,
Zanu PF faces its most serious threat yet. Their colleagues in the SADC
ganged up on them and are demanding a free and fair election in March
For Zanu PF that is suicide. They are not going to go that route
considerable degree of coercion.
So what do they do? They create a crisis and a diversion. They hope
their real motives will not be discerned and that the region will not
to courage or the gumption to wield their considerable power and
here and force these delinquents to take their medicine. Is this gamble
going to pay off, just like the farm invasions and Murambatsvina?
On Sunday Mr. Mugabe delivered another slap in the face to Mr. Mbeki
told his negotiating team not to attend the talks planned for Pretoria,
stayed at home 'to deal with more pressing matters!' If South
nothing - as they have so often in the recent past, then they run two
The first is that South African interests here, both economic and
will be irreparably damaged.
The second is perhaps even more serious, as the economy here collapses
heap, another 3 or 4 or even more, million Zimbabweans will have
go but South and that will break the back of the World Cup, it will
South African crime to intolerable levels and will undermine all the
work done over the past 14 years to create a better image for Africa as
investment and tourist destination.
What are the chances of a popular revolt? Zero. Not only are the people
afraid, they are deceived by the propaganda machine and in addition,
is saying keep cool, change is coming, these guys want us on the
justify a clampdown that would set us back years. If South Africa does
intervene, we have few options left but flight anyway. I do not accept
pessimists view that South Africa will stand back on this occasion,
have showed considerable determination in recent months and I think
will act - better be soon.
Bulawayo, 10th July 2007