Zimbos dread looming chaos

HARARE - With President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF seemingly hellbent on continuing to steer the country on a manic stampede to a fully-fledged failed State, Zimbabweans are once again dreading the looming prospects of a complete government shutdown and civil strife.

The growing fears of pending chaos in the country follow Friday’s embarrassing admission by the government that it is stone broke, and that it cannot afford to pay civil servants their June salaries — with teachers, nurses, doctors and long-suffering pensioners — only scheduled to get their money in mid July.

Even the previously favoured security sector — including the army, Air Force and police — whose members usually get their pay mid month, will for the first time since 1980, only receive their wages at the end of the month, provided the government marshals enough resources to afford doing so then.

At the height of Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflationary era in 2008, angry soldiers went on an unprecedented rampage in Harare, looting shops and randomly assaulting people going about their daily business in the capital, after they were unable to access their salaries.

Well-placed government sources told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that a scheduled meeting tomorrow between the government and its 350 000-strong workforce was set to ignite fireworks, as workers take extreme issue with their poor treatment.

Contacted for comment, Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira said the government had tomorrow’s meeting in good faith, to map the way forward.

“Government is sincere. At the time of the last NJNC (National Joint Negotiating Committee) meeting, we were not aware (of the salaries problem) until Finance communicated the changes after the meeting, hence the call for the indaba,” she said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo, said it was incumbent on the government that it provided a clear strategy of how it was going to deal with the issue.

“We saw this coming a long time ago, and the government has not indicated how they are going to address these issues. I tell you, this is going to have a negative impact on the ordinary people.

“It’s going to disrupt the lives of people as there is no way we are going to plan as workers when you are not sure whether you get your salary or not,” Moyo said.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive, Sifiso Ndlovu, described the development as “an unfortunate situation”, adding that “the manner in which the delays were communicated is totally unprocedural and we are forced to think that the government has no interest in protecting the interests of its workers”.

Ordinary Zimbabweans who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said it was “self-evident” that the country was once again teetering on the brink of total collapse, as manifested by worsening cash shortages and the government’s inability to meet its obligations.

University graduate, Regan Sibiya — who is having to make ends meet by operating as a street vendor in Harare — said “even the blind can see that we are a nation in deep distress and that the country is now on its knees”.

“My friend, I’m surprised that you are even asking me how things are. Maybe it’s because you are working and therefore don’t fully experience how bad things are.

“Just think how many people like me worked hard for our degrees, with our parents having to sell their cattle to get us through university, but we still can’t get jobs, not even as a security guard — and I don’t mean to demean security guards.

“When I hear politicians lying that all is well in the country, or that another so-called mega deal has been signed with this or that other country, I get very angry because it’s all lies. The reality is that the majority of the people are suffering and sleeping on empty stomachs,” Mtetwa said.

His friend, also an unemployed graduate who would only give his name as Lovemore, said the ruling Zanu PF was “useless”.

“They only look after themselves, their families and small houses. Other than that, they are also good at fighting among themselves about who should become the new Gushungo (Mugabe) as if that brings us food. As for me, I’m so fed up with everything that I don’t care anymore,” he said.

According to the latest Zimbabwe Poverty Atlas — a research carried out by ZimStat, the World Bank and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) — areas such as Nkayi in Matabeleland have a shocking poverty prevalence of 96 percent.

According to the survey, some of the other districts which are experiencing high levels of poverty are Lupane with 93 percent poverty prevalence, Gokwe South 91 percent, and Mudzi 90 percent.

In Nkayi, out of an estimated population of 107 613, with an average of five people making up a household, 21 112 households had no income sufficient to provide for their basic necessities, the study revealed.

“Poverty was found to be most prevalent in Matabeleland North, while it was least prevalent in Harare at 36,4 percent and Bulawayo at 37,2 percent,” the report said.

“The rest of the provinces had poverty prevalence rates ranging between 65 percent and 76 percent … districts with lower poverty prevalence rates were Marondera 43,4 percent and Gweru 45,5 percent,” it added.

Most analysts say the main factors behind this dire state of affairs are the misrule of Mugabe’s Zanu PF administration and the recurrent drought which has left most parts of the country relying on humanitarian aid.

Unicef Zimbabwe Country Representative Reza Hossaini said recently that it was high time the government and other stakeholders put their hands on deck to eradicate poverty, as children continued to be the hardest hit by the scourge.

“Seventy-eight percent of children in Zimbabwe live in monetary poverty. Progress towards reducing poverty has been uneven during the Millennium Development Goals and … we need to act on this,” he said.

Critics say instead of focusing on reviving the country’s comatose economy, Zanu PF has been consumed by its unending factional and succession wars, at the expense of bread and butter issues.

And the government’s much-hyped economic blueprint, ZimAsset, has so far proved to be a mirage, incapable of providing the stimulus needed to revive the country’s dying economy.

A senior Zanu PF official who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday recently said that the cash squeeze crippling the fiscus had now reached a “crisis” point.

“The economy is in free-fall and government coffers are running dry, and no one appears to have a clue of what to do. I fear for the worst,” he said, adding that the delayed payments to civil servants and pensioners was “a picnic” — with his biggest fear being that the entire government machinery was “perilously close” to shutting down because of the debilitating cash squeeze.

“The big issue now, the way things are going, is when, not whether government will run out of cash to keep key services going and to pay civil servants. And here, I’m not talking of delayed payments, I’m talking of a complete inability to pay,” he said.

Another official said “all is not well in the state of Rome”, adding, “the money we were promised by our Chinese friends is not coming through, and the ongoing company closures and job losses mean that government revenues are progressively getting less”.

The government currently spends more than 80 percent of its budget on the salaries of its employees.

Analysts have also said 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.

The analysts said the only difference between then and now was that supermarkets were currently full of goods unlike eight years ago — although very few Zimbabweans were able to afford the goods as joblessness and poverty levels in the country continued to increase exponentially.

They put the blame for the country’s escalating political and economic crisis at the door of 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.

    Comments (25)

    I am happy that those who beat up unarmed civilians "might" be paid end of the month. Let them eat their batons and grenades and bullets. I'm sorry about the rest of the civil service, though.

    Sagitarr - 20 June 2016

    get a life @sagitarr. real civil servants know and understand where the shortage of money is coming from.we are not called highest educated country in Africa for nothing

    gustavoz - 20 June 2016

    Not a single thing will change until Zimbabweans stop thinking that because they have it good right now they do not need to protest. They should join Get out of the office when others are in the demo and participate. So what if you lose your job? Eventually, you will as well.

    No use - 20 June 2016

    When is the presidium getting paid?

    UnBanked - 20 June 2016

    thats the result yekuti vanhu vanotora 15 billion vodya vobva vati yashaikwa then people take it for granted ...if people remain in silence this government will end up yakutoda iyo kubhadhrwa nemacevil servants

    sekuru - 20 June 2016

    Bona goes to give birth in the middle east; Muchemwa died in Egypt where he was receiving treatment; Our president has spent more time outside than inside the country...little wonder the country is grinding to a halt.

    Rule-from-the-grave - 20 June 2016

    Bona goes to give birth in the middle east; Muchemwa died in Egypt where he was receiving treatment; Our president has spent more time outside than inside the country...little wonder the country is grinding to a halt.

    Rule-from-the-grave - 20 June 2016

    Mugabe wakutambira kunonyudza manje, i wonder what you talk about in your bedroom with your hot headed wife, just back off resign and resign your full useless cabinet full of hypocrites, taneta newe isu , we cant suffer just becoz of one old dying piece of shit

    His Excellency - 20 June 2016

    Izvo ka....we used to tell you kuti hapana kwamunosvika naRobbers and Muggers......they robbed your US $ 15 billion, votes and now he has robbed away every cent......Muchamama chete muzita raJesu

    Clemence Tashaya - 20 June 2016

    Some guy called Wiwa at UZ,took him forever to attain his degree.He was always repeating ,for close to 10 yrs bt still to this day no degree,bt he has a big mouth.The intelligent decision he made was to forget about the degree,give space to deserving young students.Tsvangirai needs to seriously consider making the same decision.Otherwise Canaan will be much far away than the Highfields,as he thinks.20 yrs in opposition n still opposing ,now looks like acceptable to him.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    He is the reasn why novices like biti n mujuru n others think they can do a better job than him.He has no results(Tsvangirai)He thrives on Mugabe s presence.If yu remove Mugabe Tsvangirai has no relevence.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Well, the economy of Zimbabwe is deficient of global competitive companies that accrue billions and trillions of dollars in revenues from which the people can find employment and the government revenue through taxes. Think of a country that is entire small by geographic size, but commands a significant proportion of global business and trade, Japan being the country. The Japanese are known to be the source of the globally competitive and demanded products such as Toyota motor vehicles, Toshiba computers and accessories etc. These Japanese products are sold to a global market that is made up of populations that in the billions. For example in every nation of the world you will find a motor vehicle, Toyota being driven on the roads. Now, come to think of it if say each Toyota brand new car sales @ US$10 000 and is sold to a market made up of just 100 000 000 clients, gives Toyota US$1 Trillion in revenue from which the Japanese government derives revenue through taxation. Now, Toyota is just one company. Coming to Zimbabwe which company or companies have globally demanded products that accrue revenues to the tune of US$1 Trillion? The issue with Zimbabwe is not President Mugabe or the government, but that we do not have companies that are producing globally demanded goods or services that accumulate billions or trillions of US dollars from which the government derives taxes with which to pay the civil service, invest in public goods such as state of the art roads and rail networks, or even subsidize the production of some goods or services.

    EconomicSense - 20 June 2016

    A government depends on the productivity of its citizens. However, the present Zimbabwean reality is that the citizens are the ones that depend on the government. Economic dominance of nations is derived from the productivity of it's citizens. Toyota is a company that provides to the government, and not the other way round. Let us wake up as Zimbabwean! and realize that productivity and the creation of globally competitive as well as demanded goods and services is what will employ us, feed us and succeed us.

    EconomicSense - 20 June 2016

    @Ecosence.Yu are correct on Japan.Zimbabwe has world products like diamonds,gas,gold,uranium,platnum which the Japs need for vehicle assembly,coal.These commodities are demanded by the whole world.The reasn why china n japan have interest in us is because of Uranium n platnum.Our problem is we Zimbabweans mismanage these God given minerals.We are so corrupt to the borne.Give these products to Switzaland,and they will be very wealthy than they are now.So we have no excuse my friend.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Energy sector is supposed to employ 300 000 youngsters ,out of all those tenders,bt bcoz of cottuption ,no employment.money is actually being siphoned out of zesa by dubiouse tender winners ,like chivhayo.If yu do the maths on the 300 000 emlpoyees each earning $500, yu have millions of $ in circulation.Yu dnt need to bar imports or bondnotes ,just deal wth corruption.everythi g will be normal.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    @Economic Sense - Nice observation .. but the problem is not that, that is just a Symptom of the problem. How on earth can a private individual or individuals manage to build such a company when you have a state and system that crushes all true entreprenuers. The case of Strive Masiwaya is a case study on how he has succeeded inspite of all the efforts to crush his startup business. What if the state had been supportive of the likes of Strive .. by now would we not have more thriving businesses some could have gone global ?? Look at Mutumwa Mawere's sad story ..Even the states own companies that have the potential to become great businesses are destroyed look at Zisco, Hwange, telone ..etc the list is endless. how many more young Strives have been crushed under never to rise again.. ?? how many talented Zimbabweans have been forced to flee there homeland and are helping their adopted homes develop and prosper ?? This is one of the greatest tragedies of this nation. The failure for this system to allow the best and most talented to thrive and prosper and live a truly free life in their motherland. !! I rest my case.

    roberto - 20 June 2016

    Viola Gwena, yes you are spot on with regard to Zim having global goods such as platinum, paladium, gold, rhodium, nickel but the point is that a single company such as zimplats that mines and sells those product stated is not much of a giant in gobal business as compared to Toyota as just one company. Are you aware that Zimplats profit before tax was just US$56.138 million as compared to Toyota's revenues from Japanese sales accumulated approximately 6.5 billion yen. Point being, our companies are not competitive enough in the global market space to provide revenue that is substantial enough thus why our government is experiencing cash difficulties. On the next point you raise, Viola Gwena, I did the math. With 300 000 youngsters employed and earning a basic salary of $500 after deductions will see a financial injection of US$150 000 000 monthly which will be good. However, in a circular flow of income there are three things that will take out that US$150 000 000 out of circulation which is savings, imports and taxes. Now, taxes have their way of coming back into circulation through factor income paid to the civil service, as well as through subsidies on some goods and services. However, with import that money leaves the domestic circular flow completely. And so will savings if they are done out of the domestic banking system. Stating that corruption is the only variable behind the governments illiquidity is a ignorant perspective to economic fundamentals behind the circular flow of income in an economy as well as how the government derives income.

    EconomicSense - 20 June 2016

    Dear Roberto, I think my question to you is have 'you' tried to build a global company and the State and Systems have crushed you? The point you have missed there is that, you are creating a global company responsible for providing global goods or services to the global market. If your good or service is globally demanded the State and Systems will not crush you.#PureLogic. The only was the State and Systems can crush uprising entrepreneurs is through their lack of demand for a Zimbabwean startup global company. However, in business when your good or service is not receiving adequate demand, by a market segment, it should become your priority to discover why your good or service is not appealing to that market segment in question, and factor in the requirements so as to enable your product to sell. May we desist from the blame game, and employ tactics that bring those fence sitter to our side, and prosper in business that way.

    EconomicSense - 20 June 2016

    @ecosence yu need to present yo economic reasning based on economic fundamentals that are proven.An injection of $150 m every month is seriouse business for our poor country.moreso when yu see how mangudya is strugling to inject bond notes worth $200m.Dont forget if we have that 150m injection it will stimulate banks n manufacturing sector thereby redusing import bill,not banning.Corruption is the cancer of our economy.how many billionairs are hesitant to come to zim,n they all sight corruption.its a deterent.Strive suffered avoidable corrupt practices that wuld have made Dangote to give up,if he were zimbo.Why cant gorvernment ust manage well the God given minerals,for citizens?

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Qazi socialist principles pushed by partisan thinking cannever replace economic principles.Yu cannot ignore theiving n corruption becoz it may break the party.And when existing billionairs take to their heels from us,can we really expect to mould any?No.Think properly Ecosence.Has it ever bothered yu why cheap African leaders buy homes in foreign countries?corrupt.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Dear Viola Gwena, what I shared with you are the basic economic fundamentals with regard to the circular flow of income. As I highlighted there are three basic variables that withdraw income from the circular flow in an economy, which I named as savings, imports and taxes. A ban on imports is an effect that as been caused by a cause. The cause being that a larger proportion of commodities being demanded and consumed domestically, are imported. Imports are a notable withdrawal out of the circular flow of income in the domestic economy of Zimbabwe. A ban is simply a reactionary move to the debilitating effects it is causing, as well as a result of calls by the CZI, an industry lobbyist organisation, to have certain highly competitive and demanded imported commodities banned. I still am convinced that corruption is not much of the cause behind our illiquid economy and government. Let us produce innovative goods and services that are domestically as well as globally competitive and demanded. And please do not think that I support the ban as a complete solution, no. I consider the ban a temporary measure, designed to give room to domestic corporation to find balance in the local market. However, with the brink of the free trade area between SADC and COMESA, ECOWAS I tend to wonder will domestic firms survive the heat of competition that will be brought about by that establishment (free trade area).

    EconomicSense - 20 June 2016

    Ecosence.Maybe yu n I we are tabulating economic points that may not be connected bt are facts on their own.But for yu to assume that corruption is a minimal factor to the crisis we have,that leaves me wth one impresion that yu are too partisan.we maybe both in zanu bt we differ now on principles.President Mugabe is reluctant to deal wth corruption,to kill it off.He is way too silent on corruption bt is full of sound on sunctions,which I have never believed are an issue compared to corruption.His deputy is more vocal on that.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Do yu think 15b wuld nt change zim s economy?if it wasnt corrupted.I think we wuld be flying as a country.no beggars on the streets.unlike now zimra is thinking of taxing the blind on the streets.

    viola gwena - 20 June 2016

    Ha ha ha Viola Gwena! I have been passing my arguments based on economic fundamentals, and I have not hinted any political affiliation. Anyway, I will repeat what I have been saying all along. There are three variables that withdraw from the circular flow of income in a domestic economy. And these variables are namely, savings, imports and taxes. If the US$15 billion was swindled out of corporations operating in Zimbabwe, and was saved outside the domestic formal banking channels, or spent on predominantly imported goods, that is the basis of the current illiquid crisis facing the government, because that money was taken out of the domestic circular flow of income. Inform me on something, over what period of time was the said US$15 billion swindled?

    EconomicSense - 21 June 2016

    Zimbabweans are by nature stupid. The Police in Zim ask for lifts from the public to get to their stations. On a recent visit to Zim recently, I was surprised to see the public giving them lifts. How can you give a lift to someone who is an enforcer of Mugabe's evil system? The same people who after giving a lift will return to bit you up should you engage in public protests against the regime?

    Kwakubus'uMambo no Mzilikazi - 21 June 2016

    Post a comment

    Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
    Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
    - Editor

    Your email address will not be shared.