Ordinary citizens lose faith in Mugabe

HARARE - As food prices rise further beyond reach amid cash shortages, struggling Zimbabweans are losing belief in their president and his promise of a brighter future.

The country has been hit by persistent cash shortages — but its leaders tell the people that adversity will make them stronger.

This offers scant comfort to many ordinary Zimbabweans struggling to support their families as high unemployment and low wages take their toll.

They had pinned their hopes on President Robert Mugabe, who won power in 2013 with pledges to improve the economy — but the promises have remained pie in the sky.

“All these promises of improving the economy are just nice words,” said Moses Moyo, a father-of-five who owns a small grocery shop in Mbare.

“I can’t feed my children with empty promises.”

Mid-way through Mugabe’s seventh term, he has not only angered political opposition who oppose his policies, but is losing the belief of many of the middle and lower-income Zimbabweans who are now shouldering much of the burden of the economic woes.

Amid this growing disgruntlement, is also a culture of resistance that is slowly building up in people’s minds, which analysts say has left Zimbabwe on a cliff edge as they believe more and more that Mugabe is at his weakest.

CASH SHORTAGES: Long queues jam Harare banks in scenes reminiscent of the 2008 economic crisis. Pic: Freedom Mashava.

And with the MDC regaining its mojo and beginning to be more visible through anti-Mugabe demonstrations that have attracted tens of thousands of participants, Zanu PF  is at war with itself, owing to factional and succession wars.

“The regime is at its weakest currently with frustration evident within the regime... They don’t know how to take the country forward and there is little hope among citizens on how this regime can redeem us from the current economic abyss,” University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News on Sunday.

He, however, said opposition parties cannot afford to relax, saying Zanu PF had the “baboon tendency because they can afford to quarrel now but come election time, they will close ranks and fight a common enemy”.

This tendency can be seen through the behaviour of the police — often used by Mugabe to restrict political space for his opponents by blocking them from demonstrating — leaving them to seek reprieve from the courts.

But Masunungure said while he did not expect a change in attitude towards Mugabe’s opponents, law enforcement agents were finding the country’s Constitution an obstacle in their efforts to thwart the growing anger against the 92-year-old’s 36-year rule.

Recently, the African Economics (NKC) in one of its research instalments on Zimbabwe, predicted an escalating crisis ahead of the next polls.

The think tank also pointed out that, currently, Zanu PF is at its weakest due to factional fights, adding that the economic woes will be a final blow to its existence.

“The decision by central bank chief John Mangudya to introduce what amounts to a ‘play money’ version of the US dollar, as well as new measures to severely curtail withdrawals, suggest Zimbabwe is edging closer to the brink of a new currency crisis,” NKC said.

The think tank added that the situation could “herald significant instability in the country”.

“As the cash shortages spark panic, there are new signs that the ailing Mugabe may not see out his current term, let alone be prepared to start a new one in 2018.

“What makes this different is the increasing pace of the disintegration of Zanu PF and the rivalries and competition for power that it will inevitably spark, specifically in the security establishment and the formal military.

“Zimbabwe has faced serious crises before, but not with such a divided party and so few ideas on how to proceed. The country is going to need clear heads if sanity is to prevail… but clear heads may be in short supply.”

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development said the efforts made by the monetary authorities as a response to the current cash crisis and “simultaneously stabilisation and stimulation of the economy”, was addressing symptoms while the fundamental causes are left out.

“The ordinary Zimbabweans have been disturbed particularly by the proposals to bring the bond notes as a solution to the economy.

“It is clear that the citizens are no longer confident in the country’s financial sector in particular and the government’s economic measures in general.

“It is significant that the government undertakes a trust and confidence-building exercise for the people to be able to support any policy measures taken by the monetary authorities.

“Wide consultation of the public before any policy intervention is announced is key for a buy in of the stakeholders,” Zincodd said in a critique of the imminent bond notes.

Another analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa said the idea of disrupting demonstrations was a clear sign that Mugabe was gradually losing his grip on power.

However, it being a democratic right for people to demonstrate as provided for in the country’s new governing charter, the judiciary system has in recent times been coming to the rescue of the citizens by sanctioning the street marches.

“They (courts) probably wanted to show the world that they have reformed and that in Zimbabwe people are free to demonstrate,” Hamauswa said.

Hamauswa was, however, quick to point out that the institutions that have been making Zanu PF strong are still intact, although because of the infighting in the party, it is difficult to say how the party reacts when cornered.

“What we can suggest are just descriptions reminiscent to the blind man who describes the parts of the elephant his hands can feel.

“This means that we are living in a complex situation overshadowed by factional fights such that the real drivers of critical decisions are unknown,” he said.

For several years, Zimbabweans have been docile, as their right to demonstrate was denied in a move that flew in the face of perceived democracy attained at independence in 1980.

If there is anything that the governing party Zanu PF managed to achieve since it took over power was to instil fear in citizens, analysts said, and the use of violence to cow and crush every pocket of resistance.

This has grown in people’s minds to an extent that they have failed to assert their rights, but as the growing injustices continue to take toll on the hapless citizens, they are now taking to the streets to register their disgruntlement.

Comments (18)

all zimbos of average intelligence know that a lot of external factors are having a bearing on the current situation,the low commodity prices on the international market,the slowdown in china ,these near recession in the EU zone and the strength of the US greenback,to blame president mugabe for all these is idiotic

truth - 5 June 2016

@truth stop being technical about simple matters? Is Zimbabwe the only state Living in that Environment you are mentioning. Zanu pf has brainwashed you to such an extent that you cant see beyond useless campaign messages of your intellectually bankrupt "leaders". Mugabe and Zanu must go, we all know tht is the solution. people have no faith in Zanu. under free and fair elections you surely know you will never win an election. You are suffering legitimate crises.

Esteva - 5 June 2016

@ truth Is the "low commodity prices and int market slowdown" responsible for the disappearance of $15bn? Dont pretend to be an economic expert! How do uexplain that to the common Zimbo in Binga. Bring back our $15bn, money that can finance our national budget for 4 years. Dont utter idiotic statements

Save - 5 June 2016

Not being realistic truth.Low commodities aren't peculiar to Zim alone, to the extent of abandoning the country's currency.Why not mention the disappearance of $15 bn an equivalent of 5 annual budgets for the country.Wake up truth!

Gen. Spinola - 5 June 2016

I am Zimbo of below average intelligence but mr truth is very silly!

toti - 5 June 2016

@truth you are just waffling. The things you wrote are neither coherent nor are they factually accurate. First, the government has to have a coherent monetary policy that is supported by accurate government's revenues vs. its expenditures. Second, the mixed msgs on indeginisation policies makes it almost impossible for investors to have confidence in the economy. Third, corruption in all sectors of the government and all the human strife on top of the non-existent industry or export capacity does not help Zimbabwe's cause. Finally, a government can not just promise money as if it grows on trees, nor can we fail to account for huge sums of money (e.g. $15bln) as confessed by the president, and hope that the world will ignore such irresponsibility. Given these set of facts, you can not pretend that our problems are foreign inflicted. How many presidents in the whole world do you know who travel as much as ours? Even African leaders? Mugabe is travelling with an entourage going all the way to Papua New Guinea for what? How does that benefit a country whose economy is reeling? Stop with this reflexive and nonsensical blame of the other and start pointing fingers to our own leaders. We should take the log out of our own eyes first before we see the speck in others'. We know that some people are willing and able to say just about anything to push this nonsense about sanctions, other economies etc. Its rubbish, we inherited a strong Zimbabwean dollar at Independence, what happened to it? We inherited a vibrant agricultural system and what happened to it? We certainly invaded lots and lots of farms and now what is happening to them? How about industries, supermarkets, etc. Grow up and apportion most if all of the blame where it should be and that is with RGM and his government.

gudo - 5 June 2016

@gudo,we liberalised our economy,globalisation has intergrated the world economy and made everyone vulnerable to economic shocks in other economies,eg,the subprime crises and greek debt crises had a contagion effect,tourism sufferred in zimbabwe as the united states is a major source of high net worth tourists,but such issues are difficult to comprehend if yu are in the blame game and have blinkers on

truth - 6 June 2016

$15billion disapearance @save was not detected by your MDC but by our our govt,infact its just an estimate figure the ministry of mines came up with,the president says we were prejudiced that figure not that $15 billion was physically stolen from some vault

truth - 6 June 2016

for a start, we need a strong disinfectant to rid ourselves of the stupid protozoa called diversion! zimbabwans lost faith in rhobhati in1997 when he bowed down to the wild demands of the so called 'wovetz' and printed money! we reaffirmed this loss of faith in the 2000 parliamentary elections and went for the jagular in 2002 presidentals! since then, no one voted for rhobhati until now! its bin rigging afta rigging spiced by intimidation, maiming, murders & populist yet impotent policies lyk bacossi & the lyk. povho yakazviramba karekare izvi!

SaManyika Chaiye - 6 June 2016

@ Truth, you seem to suggest that globalisation started yesterday and only affects zim alone.You need to stop being economic with the truth and face problems head-on.This culture of always pointing fingers at others as the cause of our problems will not take us anywhere and neither will they take them away.At times i wonder as to what people will have been forced to eat for them to be so brainwashed.To say that the $15bn was detected by your govt clearly shows how myopic you are.Who is superintending over the economy and who should see to it that such things do not happen?If a company is not performing, it's the CEO who gets the blame first.

Tahir Iqbal - 6 June 2016

After having read comments from people like @Truth etc. I start to lose hope if there will ever be a time when Zimbabweans can use their intellectual prowess to perform simple elementary tasks such as condemning incompetent leadership, actively criticizing the wrongdoings of its leaders and creating a sense of citizen participation. it is the leaders who should be accountable to us and not vice versa. All of our Ministers and leaders have a scam,scandal, boob they have been actively implicated in, none of them have been reprimanded and it is because of mentalities like the one Truth has. look at Zambia's growth over the last 5 years. don't you emulate that. We need to emphasize on ethical values as the starting point in Leadership. surely our leaders are ethically bankrupt when they cause massive suffering, lack of employment. choking the fiscus with an expenditure bill at 80% or more going to salaries and benefits. it does not need a Dr. Mangudya or Prof Chakravarti to no that this is unsustainable. A country that cannot even have proper drinking water????. Iam so baffled

Neo-Realist - 6 June 2016

The problems with this country emanate from State house and the building with the crowing chicken. It is time to roast the chicken and kick out the regime. This people have failed us. It is time to turn to the MDC and PDP who stabilized the economy during the GNU.

MuGABE and ZanU - 6 June 2016

@ Truths- Or @ FALSEhoods, you seem to whaffle anything that comes to your mind. You have tried this and that to defend the regime that has totally failed the generality of Zimbabweans. You have touched sanctions, the global economic meltdown, this and that without mentioning the current corruption that is ongoing to the extend of attracting the wrath of VP Ngwena. You have failed to mention the flight of Investment owing to poor policies such as indinginisation, you have failed to mention poor interventinist policies that drow away confidence of depositors, for example the issue of bon notes, you have failed to talk of the $15 billion issue but you chose to downplay it, you have failed to talk of prominent officials implicated in high class corruption but no action has been taken to date such as Minister Undenge, and Dr Parirenyatwa, You have failed to talk of how you have gone to beg maize in Zambia grown by people you chased here in Zimbabwe a decade ago yet you claim to be owners of multiple farms, how are you distributing key impliments acquired by government for agriculture, are you giving deserving people, are you promoting SMEs or you divert their funds, what happened to the once bread basket of Africa- your shallow answer goes like, the Global Economic Meltdown

Viona Ngwena - 6 June 2016

Nhai @Truth. I m convienced you are missing the real Truths which your name claims. The global meltdown started wayback but you blame its effects today. In 2007 we had serious problems in Zimbabwe economically things only stabilised during the GNU of which Im convienced MDC brought some confidence in the generality of Zimbabweans and business. Again during this time we never head of any sanctions being lifted. 2013 elections Zanu Pf won resoundly and the GNU ended, infact ZANU PF promised ZIMASSET. Until now the economy is on a downward spiral and im sure on its own Zanu Pf cant arrest the economy. As a result, lets face the real source of Zimbabwe's problems and not blame the outside.

Mabel -UZ - 6 June 2016

@truth, what do you mean by "we liberalized our economy" please make sure you know what these terms mean before you throw them out there. The economies of countries that were mostly affected by the subprime lending and housing bubble are and have largely rebounded. You can not have your cake and eat it too, on one hand you blame America for sanctions but on the other you cry foul when they don't visit Zimbabwe as tourists and yet you kick them out as colonial masters! What is it that you subscribe to? Blinkers are most certainly on your head because you refuse to acknowledge that our leaders have failed,@viola Ngwena makes that point very clear. Last but certainly not least, your rebuttal of my earlier posting is still incoherent at best, lunatic fantasy and is not based in reality. You can acknowledge your blind loyalty to ZANU-PF and that is your right but you can not have hood wink fellow citizens into thinking or believing that our problems are foreign made.

gudo - 6 June 2016

@truth is ignorant do you know that we have policies that are against productivity here in zimbabwe, currently they are debating on changing a policy in motor industry that will result in the only remaining assembly company retrenching the employees to suit someone's pocket. No wonder we are where we are right now coz our leaders have failed us and continue to fail us. The few jobs that are being present they are reducing coz of $$$$ in their pockets. So external forces are there but we are where we are coz of our leaders decisions.

critic - 6 June 2016

Xternal factors my foot!!!! Xternal factors ndodzakadya 15billion? Dont insult our intelligence!

OneMita - 6 June 2016

Pamberi neZanu Pf pamberi nenzara and we are going to suffer kusvika takuziva kuti Zanu Pf government haina basa neruzhinji as long as iwo and their family are happy....!!!

Tapi Tapi love yeMuSoldier - 7 June 2016

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