The fear continues…

The worries about the Zimbabwean elections that are meant to be held in July 2013 still proceed. I do not think that Zimbabweans and  the other countries that are affected by its problems (importing and exporting countries) will be at rest until the final decision is made. Only then will the minds of Zimbabweans and others be able to accept the result and move on with new initiatives, or should I say plans to help the Zimbabwean economy. As of recent, The African Development Bank (an independent bank) said that, due to some areas of the country having too much rain fall and others the opposite, the newly planted grains have been “written off”. Due to this creating food shortage, it has also lead to the escalation of food prices and more and more Zimbabweans relying on food aid. This would mean that more citizens are starving, meaning that they are too weak to do their jobs (if have) to earn money. This is creating a vicious circle that is depleting the Zimbabwean economy even more. Approximately 242 000 tons of staple food is needed in Zimbabwe to keep the citizens/ customers going before there is new harvest.

It is not just the opposing side of Mugabe that are unhappy, but also the people that fall under him. Simba Makoni, a former finance minister under Robert Mugabe is an example of this. He admitted to himself that “the people of Zimbabwe” (including him) basically live on the edge of their seats, implying that they are all in fear everyday. For someone under Mugabes wing to be in fear is surprising, however those whom are not will be in a worse off position. I agree with Mokoni when he stipulates that this fear that everyone is experiencing should be one of the economies main priority to abandon or at least decrease a great amount. Once this fear has been lifted of citizens shoulders, positivity may fall in place and the country may be more at ease. Another down side that should be changed is the dual presidency between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe. When there are two very opinionated leaders, with different intentions in mind, this is when the tension levels escalate and the economy (politics and economics) gets out of hand. Makoni described this dual presidency as “pathetic” and “dismal”. These are rather harsh descriptions, as they have not completely let the country fall apart. However, there must be a reason as to why he said this, as the country as well as the leadership is not where it should be at this present time? The fact that none of the conditionality’s that will enable the free and fair elections has been put in place almost reflects the “dismal” leadership provided by Mugabe and Tsvangirai. No wonder the citizens of Zimbabwe are living in fear daily. Anything could happen.

African countries loaning money to African countries? Advisable?

As we all know by now, Zimbabwe has been struggling financially for quite a while now and has had to use many different currencies in order to stabilize the country and help its people survive. Many international countries have helped Zimbabwe financially over the past few years, but not only from the international community, but also South Africa. South Africa has helped Zimbabwe a great deal, which is surprising, but also very encouraging to see. According to fin24, “South Africa has approved more $100m (R905m) in budgetary support to cash-strapped Zimbabwe, helping plug a gap in its finances ahead of elections expected in the second half of the year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday (15 April 2013)”.

 

Biti goes on to say that the South African cabinet has made a decision and feels that it is a “positive” one. Yes, it is a very positive call on Zimbabwe’s behalf, but how about South Africa? Not only the effects on the economy of South Africa but also its people? To be honest, South Africa could do with that extra R905million that they ‘loaned’ to Zimbabwe. South Africa is not as stable as it could or should be. The cabinet of South Africa does not need the consent from its people of the country; however, they should take them into consideration. I personally feel that the needs of South Africa’s should come above anyone else. For instance, there are many homeless, starving and sick citizens across South Africa that could easily be cared for with this lump sum of money. The issues of rape and murder could be decreased with money spent on more hidden cameras or more of the police force patrolling.  These are only a few examples that could be improved in South Africa. This decision that the South African cabinet has made may cause many citizens to get upset. They may turn around and say that they want to pay less tax seeing as the country has enough money to support another country.

 

In saying this, I am also very pleased to see that Zimbabwe will be receiving more funds into the country so that they will be able to hold the planned elections in July 2013. Zimbabwe should in fact get as much funds as possible in order to ensure that the elections do run as smoothly as hoped, with many officials overlooking the procedure, and hopefully minimizing the violence and ability to cheat. Zimbabwe should however not agree to the contract of a “loan” if they may not be able to repay the money to the countries that lent them the funds. This will cause great violence and tension, and Zimbabwe may end up in bigger trouble than it already is. The other problem that Zimbabwe also needs to try and resolve is the fact that the amount of money leaving the country for food imports exceeds the amount coming in. the government should rather leave it up to the private farmers to import and export their goods, rather than the government itself and its revenue.

Why should people work so hard for themselves for nothing?

It has been known that over the years, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been through a great amount together. South Africa has definitely helped Zimbabwe a great deal, and been there for Mugabe and its people through all the thick and thin, when others were not there. One example of this is with the imports from South Africa to Zimbabwe, such as food, when there was barely anything on the shelves in Zim. Zimbabwe went from there being nothing to many varieties of South African food goods. However, as Malcom Sharara, from News24, states it in the article that Zimbabwe has a love-hate relationship with South Africa. This is because the trade affair is not exactly even.

 

The governor of The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono said that 60% of Zimbabwe’s’ imports are from South Africa. It is not a bad thing that the imports are from South Africa (at least Zimbabwe is helping another African country produce, and not an international country). It is the fact that the products that are being imported are finished and completed. Not even half-heartedly done. I completely agree with Gono not being happy with this, and the fact that it is not going to help the Zimbabwe economy grow, because they are spending more on imports than they are selling as exports.  The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting unemployed or staying unemployed because there are no available jobs for them, due to the fact that all the products are completed in South Africa. I for one know that this is not because the people in Zimbabwe are incapable of producing the same product; it is because there are no resources in Zimbabwe such as the machinery and raw materials. This is what Gono is trying to put across which is extremely delightful to see that someone in Zimbabwe is actually stating the obvious and trying to sort it out. This is on of the basics that Zimbabwe is lacking and so from here onwards it could hopefully only get better.

 

Trade has increased from $4.6bn in 2011 to $5.9bn in 2012. This is not a bad thing that trade has increased, because this is what is actually help keeps the economies going, and some people satisfied. However what needs to be changed is the fact that more foreign currency is leaving Zimbabwe than is coming in, making it poorer. When the people of South Africa want to invest in Zimbabwe, the problem lies with them trusting the economy and making sure that their money is safe. As soon as there is any failure in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is not afraid to take anyone’s assets away from them in order to help the economy. Not even an explanation is needed. Why should people work so hard for themselves for nothing?

The final draft and final day before constitution

Zimbabwe-flag1Tomorrow is finally the day that the voting for Zimbabwe’s new constitution is going to take place. This is going to be a very emotional day for some Zimbabweans, as they have waited a very long time for the constitution to change and be more ‘fair’. However, the draft constitution has taken over three years to be presented, which is no surprise for anything in Zimbabwe to take long and be postponed – and of course some sort of argument would happen with it. It is however pleasing to see that on Wednesday when Douglas Mwonzora, a leader of the parliamentary committee, produced the contract, he enforced that fact that it was non-negotiable. He is thankfully sticking up for the people of Zimbabwe and letting it be a vote for them and no one else. Unlike the police force (Zanu-PF), who try and abolish all human rights activists that are trying to justice for the insecure country. He is also trying to prevent the massive out cry of violence like the 2008 elections, which is a very encouraging point. I personally do not agree with the fact that there is a ban again all same-sex marriages. People should be allowed to marry whom they want to without the consent of others. It is their choice who they want to live and spend the rest of their life with. They have not asked anyone else to put up with their partner.

The only hiccup here with the new constitution and if Mugabe is elected again in July, he has the chance of ruling Zimbabwe for another two five-year terms (10 years). This may be seen as a negative due to Mugabe’s health issues and his age (89 years). Mugabe has also disappointed many people of Zimbabwe in the past, and so what makes them think that he will change his ways now if he hasn’t in the past. He may carry on destroying people lives even more?

Zanu-PF and MDC both have a lot of support behind them, and it is going to be very interesting to see what happens if Mugabe does not win the elections. The MDC promise to try and rebuild the economy of Zimbabwe again, which has altered many people and given them a very positive view towards the MDC, which is why Zanu-PF is facing great challenges and competition, hopefully more than before (2008 elections). In connection with this and the violence that is trying to be prevented, not only rivalry between the two parties but within the MCD party itself. This leads to more confusion for the people of Zimbabwe, because who do we really trust now? How can you have a party governing the country that are assassinating one another within the supposed ‘free’ of violence party?

We can only hope for the best from now, and see what tomorrows’ occasion has to offer Zimbabwe as a country and its humble people. We prey for their sake that all goes smoothly as wished for so that the elections in July will take place.

Third world countries helping Zim…

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There has recently been some more interference with the referendum on Zimbabwe’s constitution from other countries and parties such as the African National Congress (ANC), a party in South Africa, as well as the SADC countries. Firstly the ANC spokesperson, Keith Khoza has announced that they will support President Robert Mugabe and his party during this crucial time in order for them to hopefully win and remain in power.

Khoza said that: “Zanu-PF has been governing Zimbabwe since 1980 and we feel they have gained the necessary experience and wealth of knowledge over that time to benefit the people of that country and govern again”. This is not particularly true from my perspective. Yes the Zanu-PF have been governing for 33 years and have got a great amount of support from many of the citizens in Zimbabwe, and they may have experienced a lot and hopefully learnt from their mistakes, but unfortunately, I do not see many benefits or advantageous that have come out of this continued power. If Zanu-PF had learn from their mistakes the first round, Zimbabwe would probably not be in the position that it is in. The amount of troubles and problems that Zimbabwe’s people have had to deal with over the past decade due to bad leadership skills definitely outweighs the positives. I would comfortably argue against the fact that some people say Mugabe is “the most hated president or dictator in the world’’. As I mentioned above, Mugabe has many citizens following him in the country. However some are coerced to fight for his party but there are many Zimbabweans that join his party out of their own free will. One should also bear in mind that Zimbabwe is one of the greatest literate countries in Africa whom still have unlimited access to international media.

Of course it is up to Zimbabwe and South Africa to have their own ‘contract’ of how they want to help each other, but neither of these countries are well off and both are third world countries. Surely the ANC should be concentrating on their country and trying to sort out South Africa’s problems, instead of intervening in Zimbabwe’s complications, and ultimately pursuing for a government that could be detrimental to the economy of Zimbabwe. It should be only the people of Zimbabwe that vote for their government, with the ANC being strong enough to deny the request of getting involved?

It is incredibly pleasing to see that Khoza stated that not everything the Zanu-PF is correct and compatible, however that is a contradiction to what he stated above. How can one support a party but not fully agree with what they plan to do or are doing at the moment? The fact that the ANC is getting involved may cause extra violence and harm to the citizens with jealousy amongst the parties and the tension that is escalating. Violence may not only happen in Zimbabwe but what about the people of South Africa that are getting irritated with Zimbabwe calling for help?

Tension continues to escalate a week away

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It is extremely pleasing to see that there is still daily news about the happenings in Zimbabwe, leading up to the referendum of the constitution. Not only one newspaper shows concern and interest, but many. It is however extremely sad to see that this fight is still carrying on and that many citizens are still struggling to find peace and comfort in their own homeland. It is going to be a tough few months ahead for the people of Zimbabwe, with the rivalry between the two parties, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF. SAPA reports that the Secretary-general of the MDC party and Minister of Finance Tendai Biti insists that all Zimbabweans that are working in South Africa should come home in order to vote for the new constitution that has been seen as “a miracle” and it is one of the “finest” like South Africa’s.

Biti reiterates the downfall that Zimbabwe was in 2008 when Mugabe won the elections through unfair play and voting strategies. We need to keep reminding ourselves how bad Zimbabwe actually was before the US dollar was introduced and the state many citizens health was in. It was only Zimbabwe that was dealing with these major problems, so surely it has got something to do with the Government? It is very pleasing to see that there is finally a new constitution that has been made and Zimbabwe has a chance of picking up again. In saying this, I have had hope for many years now, but we cannot give up on such a great country. This is why Biti is so concerned with the fact that Zimbabwe citizens must return home in order to vote, because the MDC has a big chance in winning the 2013 elections, and hopefully changing a lot in Zimbabwe, as the MDC has kept positive and have shown a great interest in battles of Zim. The MDC is not a political party, but rather a people’s project, which is extremely encouraging for the people of Zimbabwe as their best interests are being looked after.

I do agree that the joint government that took place in 2009, helped lift the country quite dramatically, however one party needs to be the only one ruling now to get some sort of order. It would be advisable for the people that are struggling in Zimbabwe to go home and vote so that the new constitution can be put to work, and hopefully as Biti said the MDC will win the upcoming elections. Of course there is going to be great tension and conflict which needs to be monitored by fence-sitters, due to the fact that Mugabe is still threatening some of the people to vote from him.

Mugabe knows that he has a very slight chance on winning; after all he is 89 years old and does have mental condition to say the least. One would think and hope that he had already given up by now.  It is encouraging to see the leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, sticking up for Mugabe and having some sort of faith in him even though he has put his people of Zimbabwe through absolute tragedy. The guidelines of SADC hope to sustain the ‘free, fair and peaceful elections’; however this was ignored on the first day that the referendum was announced.

I believe that Zimbabwe will eventually come right through all the thick and thin and hardship, but once there it would have been worth every conflict (well almost every conflict!).