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Archive for the 'Economy' Category

What’s up?

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Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Today we got fired up on chocolate cake (yes, call us dangerous why don’t you) as well as this little gem from Ibbo Mandaza on the election: a coup that has legitimised itself through an election. We found out why Baba Jukwa, and any other organisation working from their Internet bed, can’t inspire revolution: The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life. We agreed with Fungayi Mukosera that writing off water and power debts both persecutes good citizenship and illustrates what a truly brainless government we have. We got a whiff of Marko Phiri’s election induced PTSD infused with the belief that fresh beginnings were stolen on 31 July. We laughed when we read how Lenard Kamwendo has been trying to dodge election talk; my neighbours were even amused when they saw me on the roof and one of them asked if everything was okay? Knowing where I work the old man living next door came to my place asking me if the new government has also rendered me jobless. We liked the opening paragraph of an article by Richard Dowden writing for African Arguments: from the moment Robert Mugabe said he would step down from the presidency of Zimbabwe if he lost the election, it was clear that he knew he would win it. If he had not been certain of winning, he would not have called the election. Power – military, political, bureaucratic – is what he understands, loves and has enjoyed for 33 years. It’s more than love – it’s an addiction. Other African presidents try to cajole him. He charms and patronises them. British prime ministers and American presidents lecture him. He swats away their words and plays the colonialist card. Opposition movements challenge him. He crushes them with violence. Then he charms them. Mugabe will leave power when he wants to – or when his body gives out. We came across a provocative quote from Sisonke Msimang writing on the Daily Maverick – her whole article is well worth reading: as currently practiced, African standards, certainly in respect to elections and democratic governance, basically suck. We were inspired by an article that reflects on the rise in global protest as citizens lose faith in politics and the state and it got us questioning the protest apathy that personifies Zimbabweans. We agreed with Leon Hartwell that many Zimbabweans feel cheated because the credibility of the process that produced ZANU-PF’s victory was deeply flawed, thereby also betraying the essence of democracy. With 270 MPs and a Parliament designed for 160, Zimbabwe’s new Parliament will be standing room only. But not to worry, Marko Phiri writes: Yet we know from past experience that many MPs ignored sittings anyway, which means space will always be there! ZiFMStereo got a pom pom from us for making their birthday a day of action and cleaning up the rubbish and election posters in Newlands – You Rock! We came across Fungai Machiori interviewing Christopher Mlalazi, the author of Running With Mother which relives the Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s; on whether it’s time to put the pain of Gukurahundi behind us, Christopher responds: it is very easy for a perpetrator in any situation to say let’s forget about that, but it is not that easy for the victim to do the same, especially if the perpetrator is not forthcoming and sometimes tries to dismiss the whole issue as a none event. For the victim there is always the fear – that if the perpetrator is not forthcoming or apologetic, what can stop him or her from doing it all over again? We loved reading Dikson’s tribute (saying goodbye to our Marley) to Chiwoniso: if Mother Earth had a wind chime on her porch, it would be Chiwoniso with an mbira. We blogged a Q&A with the author of Hairdresser of Harare, Tendai Huchu, who reckons that you can never go wrong with sadza. We read an interview by Tinashe Mushakavanhu where he finds out more about how and why the gay activist Peter Tatchell arrested Robert Mugabe in London. And finally we’re thinking of making a useful offline product like rolls of toilet paper with inspiring messages on them for example: wipe out dictatorship. Please send us your slogan to: info [at] kubatana [dot] net

Too many fat arses, not enough seats

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Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by Marko Phiri

Just been reading posts about Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma apparently lamenting that Parliament will not be able to house all the 270 MPs – in the event that all of them attend!

This once again brings us back to what has always been said since independence that Zimbabwe cannot afford a huge government, and not only afford, but its population just does not require as many MPs, as many cabinet ministers, as many idiots masquerading as informed public servants when we all know that entry to parly has always been nothing but a road to never-before-imagined riches.

And now Zvoma is publicly admitting that the country has too many MPs.

Yet we know from past experience that many MPs ignored sittings anyway, which means space will always be there!

It would be laughable were the circumstances different.

NGOs and political parties complained when the delimitation exercise created more constituencies, and as usual, the criticism was that the created constituencies were designed to give Zanu PF unfair advantage as these had been created in imaginary Zanu PF strongholds.

Now that they have been elected, they realise they cannot all fit into the once august house.

Of course we are aghast!

During the last parliament, MPs spent more time whining about their allowances, demanding all sorts of absurd perks bent on fleecing an already wafer-thin fiscus, now with the new crop (or crap depending on which side you butter your bread) of MPs belonging to an outfit that has not hidden its insatiable hunger for the filthy lucre, it is not remiss to say the country can expect more of that hemorrhaging of its parlous resources in the name of national duty.

What’s up on Friday

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Friday, August 9th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Kubatana! Better days are coming … they’re called Saturday and Sunday. We’ve got a question for ZEC: were there no spoiled ballots in this election? Yes, people are muttering, why doesn’t MT ever have a Plan B other than going to court. Simba Makoni has said that assisted voting was used to intimidate voters. ZEC has said that nearly 305,000 voters were turned away during last week’s elections and 207,000 voters were “assisted” to cast their ballot. Zanu PF is up 61 seats from 2008 and MDC is down 51 seats from 2008. Pressure has continued to mount for South African President Jacob Zuma to back the call for an independent audit of last week’s elections in Zimbabwe. Sisonke Msimang writing for the Daily Maverick believes that: As currently practiced, African standards, certainly in respect to elections and democratic governance, basically suck. Aid to Africa must have a sell-by date, says Donald Kaberuka head of African Development Bank: conscious that strong economic numbers alone are not enough, he also stresses the importance of inclusive growth and among the keys to inclusive growth is the management of natural resources, which are a significant driver of economic prosperity. Note: a good reason why Zanu PF must use funds from diamonds to raise the standard of living of all Zimbabweans. Johannesburg, the commercial capital of South Africa, is home to far more dollar millionaires than any other city in Africa. Cairo and Lagos are runners up. Officials in Kenya investigating the massive airport fire that gutted the arrival hall at Nairobi’s main airport said Thursday that first responders looted electronics, a bank and an ATM during and after the blaze. Hundreds gathered in Nairobi yesterday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassy. There was singing, preaching and candle lighting as survivors recalled the tragedy that claimed 223 lives and injured thousands.Campaigners pressing Barclays to keep open cash transfer businesses to poorer countries have presented a petition to Downing Street signed by 25,500 people, including Olympic gold winner Mo Farah. (Perhaps the MDC should get a petition signed by his turned away voters and present that to the Big Boys?). South African jockey S’manga Khumalo who first saw a horse aged 14 won country’s biggest race last month after 116 consecutive years of white winners. And finally a Nigerian police officer gets the sack less than 24 hours after secretly filmed footage apparently showing him trying to extort money from a motorist went viral. Come on Zimbabwe, we can do it too, snap them to sack them.

Pasi Ne Zim kwacha!

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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 by Marko Phiri

Now that it’s “official” that the Zim kwacha is not coming back anytime soon, we eagerly await the promise of a big pay day for people who lost their money when the local currency was suspended.

Mugabe promised supporters that once he wins the poll, Zimbabweans will be compensated for the loss of their savings.

Reported the Sunday Mail: “Zimbabweans from all walks of life are scrounging for Zimbabwe dollar notes following the announcement by President Mugabe that those who are still in possession of the currency must keep it as they will be compensated.”

Of course no one asked where the money will come from, but to hazard a guess, the diamond purse shall be opened wide, in fact wider than the margin with which Zanu PF own!

After all, everything under the sun has been pinned on diamonds, and one of the major rifts during that ugly GNU beast was that Tendai Biti was a scrooge who did not want Zimbabweans to benefit from the diamond riches.

(Actually, I just read Munyaradzi Gwisai allege the same!).

Now here is a beautiful picture: every household across the country turns their mattresses down-side-up, ransacks every nook and cranny in their homes, hovels and harems in search of the suspended currency (remember that wad of notes Tsvangirai waved during one of his campaign rallies), runs to banks (surely that’s where they will get “their” money not Zanu PF offices) to claim their dues at the same time civil servants are lining up to get their salaries. Now that’s something to watch!

And there is no need to dabble in elementary economics and the effect of this on money supply, consumer prices, and all that, but merchants of apocalypse-now can already see a throwback to that time many imagined was behind us.

Here is how the Sunday Mail reported it : “He (Mugabe) also said there were consultations between his Office and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono to see how people who lost their money during the switch-over from the Zimbabwe dollar to the multi-currency regime could be compensated.

A snap survey conducted by this paper revealed that most Harare residents are waiting excitedly for the “windfall”.

“Luckily for me, I did not dispose of my Zim-dollars. Since I am going to be given an equivalent of United dollars, I am going to jealously guard my treasure,” Maureen Chakandinakira, an informal trader who sells her wares in Harare’s First Street, said. In the high-density suburb of Rugare in Harare, residents, mostly youngsters, could be seen rummaging through rubbish dumps and open spaces as they sought the much-needed currency.”

Can only be Zanu PF!

Is this what we voted for?

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Monday, August 5th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood


According to today’s NewsDay, the price of fuel has gone up from around $1.50 / litre for petrol to $1.70 / litre for petrol following last week’s election. It seems pretty hard to believe that this is what Zimbabweans were hoping would be the most immediate result of a Zanu PF win. If you haven’t already read it, check out the Zanu PF 2013 election manifesto. Since they’ve got such a resounding victory, they shouldn’t have any problems making good on their promises to develop, empower and employ Zimbabweans.

Update 6 August: Herald headline – Fuel price increase reports false: Zera

It is hustler politics now

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013 by Fungayi Mukosera

The elections in Zimbabwe weren’t violent but it does not mean that they were peaceful. People can be silent but it should not be concluded that they are at peace. Just like during the times of the slave trade; the slaves’ singing was always consciously misconstrued by the English parliament to mean that they were rejoicing in their captivity yet they were doing so at the terror of a lash. Peace is a sacred and noble situation, which is intertwined to freedom. Silence is reverenced for a leader only when either he is loved or feared.

In Zimbabwe, our fear is a world secret, which is unfortunately unscrupulously taken to mean love therefore our silence, means peace. The people of Zimbabwe need freedom rather than fear to achieve peace. Peace in Zimbabwe has always been an induced situation to push an agenda of stealing political offices.

The people of Zimbabwe have been telling this story of repression and duress in our country for quite a long time now and it is just unfortunate that the world has now grown weary of empathy. The Prime Minister nailed it last week that the world stance now is shifting to legitimising the illegitimate. With the Chinese already leading the looting of resources from Zimbabwe, the West has felt the pressure to deal with and find ways to legitimise the corruptible kleptocrats for them to join in the looting spree of our heritage. It is hustler politics now, the days of recognising democratic and legitimate governments are fast petering away before they even show their full light in the world political play field. The world is grasping opportunistic politics now, like hustlers, countries are making more money when others are weakening. For media, I understand that capitalism does not allow them to keep on singing the same song of repression in Zimbabwe; even if its the fact on the ground, their viewership will be compromised. For heads of states to do the same like what is happening now with Zimbabwe; I fear that these hustlers will ruin the livelihoods of us the people and our children in this country.