What lies ahead?
I do not like crystal balls - they are notoriously unreliable and can
misleading. But I felt that we must do some thinking about what lies
of us and what we all have to do to get through the next 9 months.
all a time table.
I think that the deal being negotiated with Zanu PF under SADC tutelage
be complete by the end of October. It then has to go the SADC
endorsement and confirmation from Mr. Mugabe that the deal is
Once that is done it will have to go through an acceptance and
implementation phase in Zimbabwe including a Parliamentary process.
cannot take less than 6 weeks and that takes us into December. Nothing
will happen until we get the silly season behind us and that takes us
The deal will try to create reasonable conditions for two things - a
political campaign between political parties in Zimbabwe and the
conduct of a poll of all registered voters. The critical thing is how
do this and in my view the conditions required simply cannot be created
three months. I therefore think that June 2008 will be the earliest
actual poll can take place.
What everyone has to understand is that this is the only show in town.
is no other route back to sanity and we are stuck with this process
we do not think it will work or we think it is a set up and we are the
I think about the present situation and wonder if we will ever get to
December, let alone March or June! Just today I had to buy 40 litres of
for my vehicle so that I can go up to Harare on Wednesday for a policy
workshop. 40 litres cost me Z$28 million. While I was there - buying
from a young couple who were pastors at a Community Church in Chipinge
are now trying to make a living trading fuel from their home in
bought some beef from another young man - also from Chipinge who had
slaughtered three cattle and was selling the product in one kilo lots
their kitchen. He was going to then buy fuel and head back to Chipinge.
Just look at these exchange rates - April 21 950 to US$1; May 29 167
US$1; June 175 000 to US$1; July - no trade (price controls); August
to US$1; September 350 000 to US$1; October the 8th 585 000 to US$1.
the devaluation of the local currency on the open market in 6 months.
dollar has devalued to 27 times its value in April 2007. Prices are
moving by the day and there is no end in sight. If my estimate of
inflation is right - about 20 000 percent per annum, we can see how
the local currency is depreciating and there is no hope of the State
keeping up with the pace of change.
The DMB - operating under price control is paying its suppliers 38
dollars a litre for fresh whole milk delivered to its dairies. That is
Rand cents a litre or 6 US cents a litre. Quick way to go bust! So we
critical shortage of milk and all milk based products. The official
maize meal - and we consume 3000 tonnes a day, is Z$13 800 a kilogram
Z$14 million dollars a tonne. The free market price is R3 500 a tonne
Z$300 million a tonne - a direct subsidy by the State of Z$340
dollars a year.
That is one parastatal on its own. Add to that the railways, ZESA and a
myriad of other State controlled institutions and you know why the
Bank must print money - trillions of dollars of new money every day.
supply according to outdated statistics provided by the Reserve Bank is
over 18 000 percent up year on year - close to the estimated
Bus fares are now Z$300 000 a day for most workers - they earn much
than this, on top of this they must search for food and other basics
day and pay through the nose for everything when they find it. Add to
miserable scenario the shortages of water and electricity black outs
half the day every day and you can easily understand why 4 million
have fled the country to South Africa and thousands more decamp every
have seen estimates of our population that put it as low as 8 million
left in the country. I think that is low, but it is certainly not the
million estimate I see used by the media every day.
We entered the hyperinflation League of Nations in March 2007. Only 21
countries have been through such conditions in the past 100 years. The
duration of such conditions ranged from 2 months to 48 months. They all
recovered from this nightmare in a comparatively short time by adopting
fairly standard series of reforms and these were either adopted by the
in power and implemented (Mozambique) or they were implemented by a new
government once the old regime had been overthrown or voted out of
My own guess is that Zanu PF is now incapable of making the painful
that are required to get things right again. The man in charge is
all and the succession struggle is tearing Zanu PF apart. Zanu PF is
committed to the course they have set and they have no alternative
Their most recent grand recovery plan is simply not worth the paper it
written on. Therefore I think we are stuck with hyperinflation until
elections. That will mean that Zimbabwe will have to cope with these
horrendous conditions for another 9 months, at the very least.
How do we cope? Individually we will simply have to go on making a plan
getting by on a daily basis. In our business lives those of us who want
be here and ready to take advantage of the turn around must also
and ensure that our business survives. Operate on a cash basis and
fundamentals every day. Do not give in to the intimidation or price
and resist the so-called 'indigenisation'.
If the SADC process is the only game in town, then the MDC remains the
organisation that can unseat Zanu PF in the coming election. I think we
going to get a shot at that for the first time under reasonable
You should play your part in that process - we need your help and
cooperation. We must restore the political structures destroyed by the
across the country, campaign for the hearts and minds of the voters and
prepare to effect the turn around that we are all looking for after the
election has done its thing.
I can tell you that the leadership of the MDC is doing their bit - we
working around the clock and making sacrifices to get things moving on
ground. We are taking risks on a daily basis and in some instances
our lives and freedom on the line. What are you doing? No point in
and complaining - our future has always been in our own hands, this
at least have some external assistance and support - even if it is
conditional and half hearted.
Bulawayo, 8th October 2007