The Crisis deepens
We are now into our 5th week of price controls and the resultant
I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the situation and hope that my
misgivings are not misplaced.
Today there is no rice in the urban areas, very little bread and what
available is being rationed, there is no maize meal, no cooking oil or
margarine, no meat and very little milk and dairy products. I called
Dairibord today and they had no product to sell - nothing, they said
were having problems with their milk supplies.
In addition to this situation, public transport is virtually at a
standstill. This has developed following heavy fines imposed last week
the mini van taxis that provide 90 per cent of urban transport here.
are being forced to walk everywhere.
The wholesalers and manufacturers are virtually out of stock. There is
thriving parallel market for everything but even here the supplies are
short. Maize meal is being sold at Z$250 000 to Z$300 000 for 10 kg’s
is 4 times the official price, fuel is available but at prices ranging
Z$240 000 to Z$500 000 a litre.
Hotels are running out of food - I stayed in a local hotel on Friday
found the staff serving a basic meal of rice with stew and a bit of
as a salad. The queue stretched out onto the road - the manager said
he was not running a hotel but a feeding station. The manger of the
over the road was eating there and said to me he could not even provide
basics to his clients. They had no beer!
Local business that has a contract to supply the Prison said that they
4000 prisoners and could not feed them, not from any source. The Army
the Police are in a similar predicament although the Police have been
their role in the price control exercise to loot business of goods in
supply. I hear that soldiers went through Ross Camp (the main Police
Bulawayo) looking for looted stocks.
In addition to this crisis in domestic products nothing is being
commercially. This is because the price control authorities are
imported goods as local goods when enforcing the price controls. So
who would normally import products in short supply are holding off and
imported products are available. That leaves only cross border
a means of meeting family needs.
Wealthy people are traveling to Botswana and Zambia for shopping trips
poorer families are calling their relatives in South Africa for help.
this reason on Saturday there were hundreds of vehicles from South
the border - all trying to get up to their families in Zimbabwe, drop
supplies and then head back to South Africa. The road was littered with
broken down vehicles, as many are old and overloaded.
I see no signs of any response to this crisis in basic food supplies.
do the international community and the UN system think they are doing?
hear that when the State tried to stop retailers selling fuel against
coupons purchased with foreign exchange that the UN agencies promptly
the government that if they did that they would close down and leave.
government backed down. I heard this morning that many embassies are
considering flying food in for their local Embassy staff, one
told me they were evaluating the difference in buying from South Africa
direct from Europe - great to have options, but what on earth do they
the ordinary Zimbabwean is doing?
I will tell you what he/she is thinking. It is how do I get a passport,
do I get to the border or get a ticket to anywhere where sanity
The exercise to remove up to 3 million Zimbabweans from the country by
simply denying them the means to survive is well under way. I estimate
500 000 have gone already to South Africa, with other destinations that
probably means we are up to 600 000 - 20 per cent of the goal, 80 per
to still go. That’s only 12 000 a day across the Limpopo - an easy
No amount of border patrols, no amount of policing or forced expulsions
slow down or stop the exodus. There is only one way to do that - give
Zimbabweans some hope that they have a future, any sort of future in
country of their birth.
SADC leaders gather in Lusaka on the 14th August - just one week
future of this country and perhaps others in the region are in their
I must say that does not give me a lot of confidence, if they fail us
as they have in the past, we may well have to take things into our own
hands, and that could be very nasty.
Mr. Mugabe is in Malaysia staying in a five star hotel with no
could not give a damn. His own strategy for the immediate future is
worked out and he sees no possibility of his efforts being frustrated
regional leaders. Left to his own devices he will get want he wants by
year end, hold farcical elections in March 2008 without opposition and
continue as before.
6th August 2007