Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zim's empty shelves stop inflation estimate

from CNN:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- With virtually empty shelves in stores across the African nation, the state statistics office said Tuesday it couldn't calculate its regular monthly inflation figures....

Chief statistician Moffat Nyoni said goods used in calculating the average inflation basket were not available."There are too many data gaps"....


IHT reports:

"....Corn meal, bread, meat, cooking oil, sugar and other basic staples used to measure inflation largely disappeared from stores after a government order in June to slash prices of all goods and services by about half. Producers said they could not afford to sell their goods at below the cost of producing them.

About the only meat-based product on the shelves is sausages composed of about one-fourth low grade pork and the rest cereal. A package of six rose thirty-fold in price in the past month, to 20 million Zimbabwe dollars.

Most scarce products are available in limited quantities on the illegal black market at up to 10 times the government's fixed prices. If inflation was calculated on black market prices alone it would reach the IMF's prediction of at least 100,000 percent.

Last month, the central bank offered loans to businesses at 25 percent interest to restore supplies to shops. Interest of about 500 percent is charged on routine commercial bank loans.

But central bank loans have made little difference to the availability of basic goods so far, store managers say.....

Zim Ex pats keep families afloat

From All Africa:

The scale of migration to Britain by Zimbabweans escaping their country's economic and political woes has reached the point where, with typically wry humour, London is referred to as "Harare North".

An estimated three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the total population, have packed their bags and left home. Most, typically the semi-skilled, have opted for neighbouring countries, but many others have chosen Britain's green, if damp, pastures.


A 2006 study found that at least half of all households in Harare and Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, were regular recipients of goods and money from relatives living outside the country. ..

It is a simple process: the money is deposited into the company's bank account in Britain, and the funds are transferred directly to the beneficiary's bank account in Zimbabwe. John, the accountant, said this was the best way of remitting money as it attracted the government's highly overvalued exchange rate....

One of the biggest online remitting companies,, allows people to pay for privately imported fuel in Britain. Their relatives are alerted to the transfer by SMS and collect their vouchers, which they then redeem for fuel. UK-based Zimbabweans can also pay for groceries imported from South Africa, and provide their relations with access to treatment via medical insurance taken out in Britain....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Power to the People

SWRadioAfrica reports these posters are sprouting up all over Africa:

"...Hill managed to speak to a woman activist who is part of Zimbabwe Democracy Now and she confirmed they were behind the first billboard that was erected in Musina in October. At that time armed South African police, accompanied by 9 soldiers in a troop carrier, swooped on the two advertising workers erecting the billboard. The billboard read, ‘We know why you are in South Africa: Life in Zimbabwe is Murder; But please go back to vote in March. We can all be free.’ Musina city council allegedly ordered it to be pulled down, before a backlash from the media, politicians and the courts forced a u-turn and the billboard was left alone..."

Two views on Ian Smith

This writer insists things were better under Smith for the average African.

This writer
excoriates Smith, implying that if he hadn't stood in the way of democracy things would be fine in Zim today.

Actually, they are both missing the point.

Under Smith, if the PC world hadn't brought sanctions, things would have probably evolved faster into democracy...yet even with sanctions, the average Zimbabwean had little political power, but could earn a good living, and the government would have prevented him from starving.

Yet if Smith had allowed democracy, would Zim have evolved into a democracy such as Zambia or Malawi (both black run countries have had major human rights problems, dictators, and corruption)?

The key to Zim's prosperity is the same as every country: Keep the most productive people intact and happy, so they can make jobs for the poor to improve their lot.

The racism of Smith prevented this, but the last ten years prove Mugabe's solution, a Marxist purging of the productive, is worse.

And opposition leaders often disappeared into detention under they disappear into London...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sorry for lack of posts

I was in the US visiting family, and arrived back here in the Philippines two days ago. I suffer from jet lag, so between being busy and having jet lag, I've been amiss in posting links.

Seems that Mugabe decided to wreck the mining industries, and Ian Smith died while I was on vacation...

My friend writes things are still terrible in Zim...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mugabe employed witchdoctor

From CNN:
-- President Robert Mugabe has said ministers at a Cabinet meeting he agreed to pay two head of cattle and three buffaloes to a woman who claimed she could produce gasoline out of rocks, the official media reported Friday.

Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe, right, tours a biodiesel plant Thursday amid an acute gas shortage.

Mugabe later ordered the woman's arrest on fraud charges.

The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, reported the woman claiming to be a tribal healer, known in the West as a witch doctor, also took large sums of money, a car and a piece of land from the nation's highest ranking politicians, promising in return to use spells to produce diesel fuel from rocks in the bush outside the provincial town of Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of Harare.

Instead of invoking spirits, the woman bought diesel and piped it into the rocks, the newspaper reported.

It said Mugabe himself ordered Rotina Mavunga's arrest. She was charged with fraud last month -- more than a year after the gas from rocks saga began.

For those who know about Africa, this was not employing a local herbal healer or someone to diagnose illness/witchcraft, but employing someone to help him get rich.
This is not good...I wonder if he is using similar ceremonies to stay in power...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Zim refugee story

from Zim daily:

Hundreds of Zimbabwean cross border traders cross into Zambia daily in to sell their goods and import foodstuffs that are in short supply in Harare, and despite government restrictions on imports, they have continued to supply the Zimbabwean population with commodities that are not available in Harare’s supermarkets.

Most supermarkets in Harare have no basic commodities like toothpaste, bath soap, washing poweders, cooking oil and rice.

Thousands of cross border traders are importing these goods from Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana daily.

“We come here every week to sell beer, wines, reed mats and cigarettes and buy groceries that we go and sell in Harare, the hardships in Harare are unbearable” said one cross border trader, a young woman in her early 20s.

However, the continuing decline in the value of the Zimbabwean dollar has resulted in increasing desperation among cross border traders, with most of them sleeping in the open in Lusaka, even in wet weather.

Teachers, nurses and other civil servants who use their meagre savings on cross border trips to supplement their paltry government salaries have been rendered destitute in neighbouring countries, as they have to sleep on the pavements and spend the day vending wines and cartons of cigarettes. ...

SA happy with Zim progress

from news 24:

Pretoria - South Africa is happy with the progress that has been made regarding efforts to resolve the problems currently facing Zimbabwe, says Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad....

'SA to facilitate dialogue'

He cited as a reflection of the progress made, the unanimous acceptance by all relevant stakeholders in Zimbabwe, of the Constitutional Amendment Bill No 18, which sought to harmonise presidential, parliamentary and local government elections as from 2008.

Pahad said: "SA will continue to facilitate dialogue between the government and opposition parties, including representatives from civil society in order to resolve the remaining challenges facing Zimbabwe leading up to the 2008 general elections....

"All the finance ministers have now returned to their capitals and after consultations with their capitals they will determine the next step.

"SA is quite happy with the progress being made in the facilitation efforts and we think even if there are some difficulties, the process has been placed on the right track," emphasised Pahad.

Regarding the progress with respect to the SADC Regional Economic Agenda, Pahad said the SADC had noted that there was considerable basis for declaring the SADC Free Trade Area by the time of the 2008 SADC Summit, which would be hosted by SA in July...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Zimbabwe: Agency Electrifies 5 228 Rural Institutions

From All Africa:

The Rural Electrification Agency has electrified 5 228 rural institutions, 192 of them during the first nine months of this year, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde Mike Nyambuya, has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Secretary for Energy and Power Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, during the official launch of the Solar Mini-Grid system in Mount Darwin South and Rushinga District, Cde Nyambuya hailed REA for making tremendous progress under the current challenging economic environment.

"Despite the economic and other challenges being faced by our country over the past few years, the Rural Electrification Agency has made tremendous progress in the implementation of the Expanded Rural Electrification Programme with Electricity End Use Infrastructure Development," Cde Nyambuya said....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

MDC hit by more rumblings

From IWPR:

Some disgruntled members are even calling for a new party to be formed.

By Meshack Ndodana in Harare (AR No. 142, 8-Nov-07)

The largest faction in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, could split following a row over Morgan Tsvangirai’s sacking of a senior female party official, say analysts.

At a crisis meeting on November 3, the MDC’s national executive refused to endorse the decision of its leader to replace the head of the powerful Women’s Assembly, Lucia Matibenga, with Theresa Makone - the wife of Tsvangirai’s friend and financier, Ian Makone.

“This is a fatal case of poor judgment on the part of Tsvangirai,” said a University of Zimbabwe, UZ, political scientist who has monitored developments in the party since its formation in 1999....

The analyst added that what is most worrying is the way in which the party is gradually coming to resemble ZANU-PF in terms of internal squabbles and the arrogance of the leadership.

“The only major difference [between the two leaders] is that President Robert Mugabe is able to contain the divisions within his party,” he said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

People can't afford life saving drugs

From IWPR website:

As the prices of drugs and healthcare continue to soar to astronomical levels, many Zimbabweans with life-threatening conditions are going without the treatment they need.

Spending an afternoon at one of Harare’s busiest pharmacies is heartbreaking, as patient after patient walks in and out without collection their prescription because they just can’t afford it.

Barely able to stand without leaning against the wall, Martin Sibanda, a self-employed welder, waits anxiously for the pharmacist to give him the prices of the five drugs that were prescribed to him at a clinic close to his home in Harare’s poorest suburb, Mbare.

After a two-minute wait, the pharmacist hands him a piece of paper with the total cost of the drugs. He looks at the paper and as if in slow motion, he shifts his gaze to the pharmacist, who repeats the figure and asks if he should supply the drugs.

Sibanda whispers the figure and shakes his head in bewilderment, “My son, are you saying 28 million [Zimbabwean dollars, ZWD – 28 US dollars at the black market rate]? Did I hear you right? Please check again, you must be mistaken.”..
In the Philippines, many of our poor people can't afford medicine for blood pressure...usually they can borrow to get antibiotics etc. for their kids and themselves, however...

Two posts on Zim and South Africa

Two posts on SA and Zim relations...both essentially saying the war of liberation was about land, so SA shouldn't make Mugabe change...



Of course, keeping the people of Zim poor as farmers of small plots would allow cheap labour for the large multinationals they defend, but never mind. You can't just give out land....our farmers in the Philippines got land reform, then electricity, and loans to get good seed, irrigation, fertilizer, pumps and chances to sell the seed at a good price. The increased income allowed them to educate their children. Their kids now work in Saudi or Manila, not wanting to stay on the farm, and the land is again for sale.

What is missing is the idea of prosperity and globalization. With a large population increase, going back to the land is a plan for famine and disaster...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mugabe signs successor choice law

From the BBC:

Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 14:51 GMT
Mugabe signs in a successor law
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe - 18/07/2007
President Mugabe intends to run in elections next year
Zimbabwe's president has signed into law an amendment to the constitution that allows him to choose a successor if he decides to retire mid-term.

Robert Mugabe's choice would then be voted in by parliament which is dominated by his Zanu-PF party.

The constitutional amendment bill, which also allows presidential and parliamentary polls next March, had the backing of Zanu-PF and the opposition.

Mr Mugabe has said that he will seek another term in next year's elections.

Analysts say they expect Zanu-PF to dominate the joint elections in March 2008 and for Mr Mugabe to then put a hand-picked successor in place.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Malawian maize for Zim

From ReutersThe United Nations World Food Programme said on Wednesday it had bought 35,926 tonnes of white maize for Zimbabwe from Malawi as part of over 80,000 tonnes of food it purchased from Malawi to feed five countries.

"Food commodities have been bought from Malawi by WFP for operations in Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe," said Mathews Nyirenda Senior Communications Officer at WFP Country office in Lilongwe.

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