'Horror of 2008 back as economic meltdown accelerates'

HARARE - Analysts say Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when the country’s seemingly unending political crisis precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar and the establishment of the hope-inducing government of national unity.

Speaking in interviews with the Daily News yesterday, the analysts said the only difference between then and now was that supermarkets were currently full of goods unlike seven years ago — although very few Zimbabweans are able to afford the goods as joblessness and poverty levels in the country increase exponentially.

All the analysts who were interviewed put the blame for the country’s escalating political and economic crisis at the door of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, saying the ruling party had more appetite for its mindless factional and succession wars than resolving Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges and advancing the lives of long-suffering citizens.

Afghanistan-based analyst Maxwell Saungweme said unless “something dramatic” happened very soon, Zimbabwe was in fact headed for a political and socio-economic crisis that was worse than that experienced in 2008 when the country recorded one of the worst inflation levels ever reported anywhere in the world, where shop prices were literally changing by the minute.

“In 2008 we had our own currency to play with, though it was valueless, but this time around we have the US dollar which is hard to get for both the cash-strapped government and the people. Unemployment is also currently much, much higher than in 2008 and getting worse.

“Add to all this the fact that the government is more clueless this time than before, in terms of providing economic reprieve for the people. And donors have also cut back on support to civil society and non-governmental organisations that used to provide life-serving interventions.

“Politically, Zanu PF is more divided than before, to the extent that government is actually dysfunctional. Depressingly, even opposition political parties are also divided and can’t even lobby other governments to pay attention to the situation in the country. This is why I say we are heading for disaster,” a despairing Saungweme said.

Respected academic and political commentator Ibbo Mandaza said with Mugabe in power, there was little hope of the economy reviving any time soon.

“I hope it’s not going there (to 2008) and I hope something can be done. Clearly, we need a political solution, but as long as Mugabe is there, there is no hope,” he said bluntly.

Renowned economist John Robertson said the situation that currently obtained in the country was already “statistically worse” than that which prevailed in 2008.

“I think we’re back to 2008, and in some cases it is actually worse than 2008. On the employment front, the number of people who are unemployed now is worse than we had in 2008.

“Statistics show that we actually have the same employment figures as we had in 1968, almost 50 years ago. While two million jobs were supposed to be created, we only have about 700 000 people employed, of which half of them are employed by the government,” Robertson said.

He said the only reason why most people appeared not to realise the depths of the damage to the bleeding economy was that there were no shortages of goods in shops.

“The purchasing power for 2008 seems to be higher than now because wages were being paid and people had money to buy goods, though the goods were not available. Now people do not have money, but goods are available.

“It’s a process which has many contributing factors such as the cost of doing businesses, which is very high and which means that we can’t compete with imports,” Robertson said, adding that power shortages and poor investment policies had also crippled prospects for economic growth.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said while the situation may not necessarily go back to 2008, because of the mitigating factor of the US dollar that was the major currency of commerce in the country — and which meant that those few people who still had jobs and had a steady income could be spared the horrors of 2008 — Zimbabweans should not expect the country’s economy to improve with Mugabe in power.

“The Zimbabwe crisis is fundamentally a political problem. President Robert Mugabe must leave power, as it does not make sense to have a 91-year-old determining the future of the country. Where is his future? We need young and energetic people who have an understanding of the global economy to take charge.

“What we also need to do is to reform the politics of the country. Zanu PF is talking about liberalisation of the economy when they cannot appreciate liberal politics,” Ruhanya said.

Economists told the Daily News earlier this year that average incomes in Zimbabwe were now at their lowest levels in 60 years, and  that more than 76 percent of the country’s adult population was having to make do with less than $100 a month.

This, the economists said, meant that poverty levels in the country had reached “numbing levels”, amid indications that the situation would worsen by the end of the year, as Mugabe and his Zanu PF government continued to demonstrate their inability to fix Zimbabwe.

And according to a recent FinScope Consumer Survey, the country’s deteriorating economic conditions were forcing more and more cash-strapped citizens to live without basic necessities such.

FinMark project manager, Obert Maposa, said the number of Zimbabweans living on the margins was increasing at an alarming rate, with access to clean water, for example, declining in the past four years, with only 29 percent having piped running water compared with 35 percent in 2011.

“The percentage of people who have had to skip a meal due to lack of money went up to 44 percent in 2014, from 29 percent four years ago, while 37 percent have gone without treatment or medicine because of lack of money, compared with 20 percent in 2011,” he said.

As a result, commentators told the Daily News the country’s deepening economic crisis, which was worsening the already high levels of unemployment, necessitated the need for dialogue among political parties in an effort to find lasting solutions to Zimbabwe’s myriad crises.

Economist Christopher Mugaga said with the massive company closures that had been witnessed over the past few years, “it’s only a matter of time before the economy totally collapses”.

“The informalisation of the economy is a good sign of worsening poverty levels in the country.

“There is no way the current government would be able to save the economy without extending a hand to the opposition,” he said.

Mugaga said politicians now needed to swallow their pride and invite all stakeholders to the table as part of efforts to revive the economy.

“The reason why most economies of developed countries perform well is as a result of collective efforts in government.

“The opposition in Zimbabwe must be included in government so that they can play their part in reviving the economy,” he said.

Comments (27)

Zanoids are grandmasters when it comes to rigging elections but cannot, clearly, rig the economy. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!

Musorodamba - 12 August 2015

It has been a proven fact - No African Country has prospered since attaining Independence from White Rule. A typical example is Zimbabwe. After inheriting the Bread Basket of Africa ZANU PF has turned our Country into a Basket Case. South Africa is also following the same route. Its a shame. This man could be saying the truth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17m8OnHC7dQ

Frank - 12 August 2015

Regai tione

Muchavavamwe - 12 August 2015

Follow this URL and see what this Pastor is saying about black people's failure to run their own Countries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17m8OnHC7dQ

frank - 12 August 2015

it is high time the government ought to revise its means so as to improve the already dwindling economy before it worsens

slow poison - 12 August 2015

Keep on campaigning for the opposition. But the truth is that the 2008 situation will not come back. Never ever! Perhaps in your dreams.

godfrey gudo - 12 August 2015

You guys are always negative, and your report is filled with negativity. I have been on the ground personally, after 4 years of not being in the country, I can say things have greatly improved. Its not at all the same situation as to what we experienced in 2008. Get your facts right guys, things are bad yes, but not as bad as 2008. People are surviving. Its not the ideal situation but something is being done.

Mabvuri - 12 August 2015

Itai ndione

Tindo15 - 12 August 2015

What planet do people like Gudo and this Mabvuri occupy? They honestly can't be that blind?

Jonso - 12 August 2015

2008 they were no goods in shops but at the moment they are goods in the shops but people have no money to buy the goods, so when you walk around time, it looks okay but its not

chandagona - 12 August 2015

You can rig elections but not the economy and zanu has learnt it a hard way by 2018 the whole country will be full of shiiit and that is exactly zanu pf 's major target . Only an insane can say things are not bad in this country as we know lunatics can say shiit is beef stew and we would not worry bcoz the lunatics are not correct in their skopo

Diibulaanyika - 12 August 2015

zvokwadi gudo igudo chete harimbofi rakaita munhu.Nhai gudo unogarepi? Zviri munyika zvotiri right so? Kwana iwe.

piaget - 12 August 2015

The situation has been over exaggerated. 2008 was really bad

Mentalist - 12 August 2015

Zanu pf GVT must solve the eccomony or the economy will destroy zanu pf GVT.

X-MAN IV - 12 August 2015

Hona Mukoma Nhongo bereka sub tiende chauya chauya... Bereka sub tiende. Hona Mukoma Nhongo huyaiwo muone zvaitwa nyika... Huyaiwo muone. Hona Baba Mu.... honawo zvawaita nyika...waibvarura... Honawo zvawaita!

BORROWDALE MANSION - 13 August 2015

Then you find the so called No.1 commenting about Mai Mujuru. Zvanzi if she continues to disagree with me, she will never be declared a hero. Is Mai Mujuru the most important topic right now? Why does this guy never comment when there are economic issues requiring his attention? I see though that his family is the only one pushing the trolley in supermarkets. Unlike in 2008 when Mangondo used to bring them groceries from South Africa...in 2015 the shops are full of imported items. Zimra is collecting enough to sustain the family's daily needs and more. MAHWANI VAKOMANA. TESE TIRI ZERO, except the anointed family. Life revolves around only them.

godorenda - 13 August 2015

For a so called Christian nation we are truly spiritually dense. Can we not see that God's blessing does not lie on our nation? ZPF, many of whom claim to be Christian, think that one can murder, lie, steal, oppress, rig elections, kidnap, torture, hate, be bitter, be racial and tribalistic, covet other peoples goods, be selfish and greedy, loot and plunder and get away with it! No! No! No! God has seen and God is judging. You cannot trample on the heads of the poor and skewer the law and get away with it. The wages of sin is death. That is what we see on every asset and facet of this nation. The only solution is repentance! REPENT!

TruthBTold - 13 August 2015

zvakaoma

chahwiriri - 13 August 2015

zvakaoma

chahwiriri - 13 August 2015

Some times things have to get worse before they get better. The question is: how bad do things have to get before you will do something about it? Where is your line in the sand? If you don't enforce the constitutional limitations on your government very soon, you are likely to find out what the second War of liberation will be like. Zanu is taking the masses forgranted

pride - 13 August 2015

I agree with @Pride , we need to take on Zanu Pf head own otherwise we will die crying , Mugabe is treating us as his slaves because the defeat he suffered in 2008 is still haunting him , he is a coward and he doesn't forgive , he is evil . I think people like Gudo and Mabvuri are part of the system , in 2008 people were not fired from work like what is happening today so we are already worse than that period , Chinamasa is the most deadly assailant on this case , he couldn't get the money from his Chineese friends so he is risking the workers , we will meet one day . The best way is for Mugabe to tell his poltubro to just resign , how much damage to you want to cause .

Mudhara - 13 August 2015

@mudhara you are 100% correct

TruthBTold - 14 August 2015

If Mugabe had a child at 20 , his child would be 71 years. If his child had a child Mugabes grand would be 51. if his grand grand child had a child would be 31 if the great great had a child would be 20 then las would be 11 . this means we are being rulled by an ancestor.

chaora - 14 August 2015

Godfrey Gudo and Mabvuri never went to war that is why they have never learnt to accept the truth. Zvakafanana nemhunhu anoona imba yake ichibvira asi achizvinyengendza achiti imbai haisi kutsva! They believe in their own lies. The situation is bad and that is the truth. Zvakaoma!

Cde Sinjonjobazookagidiratete - 17 August 2015

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