Reflections on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe at a glance after the coup (not a coup)

Zimbabwe had to endure 37 years of one-way policy-making – unchecked decision-making and among many minuses no freedom of speech, association and no rule of law whatsoever.  Freedom of speech and rule of law are a nation-building assets that most democracies have invested in.  The 5 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora left because of political thuggery and economic collapse.

Under Mugabe’s rule, life expectancy crashed from over 60 years in 1980 to 35 years.  At independence and for over 100 years, the Rhodesian pound had been stronger than the powerful US dollar and equal to the British pound and now the country has no currency of its own.

Mugabe and company turned one of the best economies in Africa into an importer of everything and leaving his poorest and most vulnerable people, starving and dependent on food hand-outs while they got absurdly rich.  It is common for the rich party members to have a 50 bedroomed house yet even some hotels do not have as many rooms.

However, Zimbabwe’s new president age 75, has announced a three-month amnesty for the return of public funds hidden abroad by individuals and companies.  He has made a lot of promises which if delivered, will usher in a new Zimbabwe with a lot of potential.  At this point in time, it is normal for civil servants to go for months without pay; the bank machines cannot dispense any cash because it is looted as soon as it is deposited.  People sleep in queues at banks hoping there will be cash.

Hospitals equipment is outdated, so the elite few seek medical treatment beyond our borders. Grace Mugabe once twisted an ankle and flew to South Africa to have it checked out.  Bona Mugabe the daughter would fly to
Singapore for her ante-natal clinic visits.  If people – the opposition said something about the financial abuse, Mugabe would sing his mantra – The British are behind that and curiously when there was no rain the British moved the clouds away from Zimbabwe and anyone saying anything different would be dealt with severely even to the extent of losing their life.

People would pray fervently to God that he remove Mugabe.  People prayed for him to just die.  The crowds that people would see at rallies would have been frog marched to the venues after threats that those found still in their houses will be killed.

The unemployment rate is 90%.  Ordinary people have turned to traditional healers or prophets for healing as there are no drugs in clinics or hospitals.  Zimbabwe now needs people of capacity and integrity and constructive ideas if it is to get out of this Mugabe made mess.

Egnes Duncan

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