Zimbabwe’s clock ticking towards immense crisis

Nurses are on strike because they can’t survive on their salaries which are equivalent to less than one US dollar a day.
People queue to collect water from a solar powered borehole. Image: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Dear family and friends,

On these late winter mornings, you don’t have to listen hard to hear Zimbabwe’s clock ticking towards an immense crisis.

Civil servants at ground level: teachers, nurses, security personnel, clerical and office workers are barely surviving, earning a basic salary now worth the equivalent of less than one US dollar a day. As I write the official exchange rate is ZWL$65.8 to US$1; the black market rate is ZWL$110 to US$1. Johns Hopkins economist Steve Hanke estimates our annual inflation to now be over one thousand percent, 1 191% to be precise.

This week Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said government has only paid 202 000 vulnerable people out of the one million targeted for assistance: people who’ve been unable to earn a living for months during the Covid-19 lockdown. The 202 000 are getting a ‘cushioning allowance’ of Z$180 a month (US$2.76), enough for two loaves of bread a month. Imagine surviving on less than 10 US cents a day.

Nurses are on strike because they can’t survive on their salaries which are equivalent to less than one US dollar a day. They’ve been appealing for their wages to be paid in US dollars, as they were eighteen months ago, but the government isn’t listening.

 “We have lost our earnings already through slave wages and so we have nothing more to lose,” the Zimbabwe Nurses Association said.

Over a dozen have been arrested for striking and the images of nurses handcuffed together and singing are burned into our minds this week. These are the frontline fighters responsible for helping people infected with Covid-19.

Striking nurses living in hospital accommodation at Harare hospital have now been sent eviction letters meanwhile our Minister of Health is out on Z$50 000 bail after being arrested over a $560 million Covid-19 procurement scam. The Minister of Health didn’t even spend a single night in jail; he has now been removed from his position for “conduct inappropriate for a government minister”.

No Minister of Health

In the middle of Zimbabwe’s growing Covid-19 pandemic, we now have no Minister of Health and there are ten other senior positions currently vacant in the country’s health service.  It’s hard to fathom the inequity between a $560 million scam by the Minister of Health and a nurse on the ward surviving on less than one US dollar a day.

A report in NewsDay newspaper this week said police were earning a basic salary equivalent to US$27 a month and some were collapsing at work due to hunger. “Most police officers face eviction and are failing to buy food and meet basic expenses while we watch our bosses drive top-of-the-range vehicles, stay in plush houses and get benefits that include fuel, airtime and accommodation,” the police officer said. Police are due to get a Covid-19 allowance of US$75 this month and an extra Z$1 500 but it’s a far, far cry from the breadbasket which is around $20 000. Imagine surviving on 87 US cents a day?

A giant mess

And then there’s the “mess” underway with the Grade 7 school examinations. Called to write their Grade 7 exams before mainstream schools have re-opened, the PTUZ (Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe) said teachers had boycotted returning to work to invigilate the exams over their poor working conditions and salaries. The PTUZ president, Takavafira Zhou said schools in rural areas were hiring villagers and parents to supervise and invigilate the exams in a number of areas.  Zhou was quoted in the press as saying: “It was a mess, and it is terrible.” Zhou said some headmasters had: “told pupils to pay US$1 every day they are writing so that the schools can have money to pay the hired invigilators.”

Coming to the end of such a sad letter about a country in crisis for so long, I look for something beautiful to share with you and there it is, just outside the window. The shikra is sitting in the birdbath. I’ve just learned that shikra is the other name for the beautiful little banded Goshawk. Its soft grey feathers, yellow legs and startling red eyes are both beautiful and intimidating.

This is the raptor of immense patience, sitting unmoving for half an hour or more in one place: perched on a tap, in the bird bath, on a branch, waiting, watching. The shikra whose name is apparently derived from the Hindi word shikara which means hunter, always makes me think of us Zimbabweans; ever patient, watching and waiting, but it also makes me think of our leaders: always ready to pounce.

Until next time, thanks for your love and passion for our country, for reading this Letter From Zimbabwe, now in its 20th year, and my books about life in Zimbabwe, a country in waiting.

Love Cathy

Copyright © Cathy Buckle

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These Zim reports are very valuable because they show whats in store for South Africa.

Dear Zimbabwe & African leaders..I was a year old when my father was kicked off his farm having left at night with my Mom and 3 year old sister in the car with nothing but the clothes on our back, heading South to SA.
Being a successful tobacco farmer, he employed many locals on his farm and a dream life..until.
The workers clung to his car all crying..They begged him not to leave knowing back then already the full extent of losing knowledge and employment. My late father left me with a legacy.. don’t sit on your laurels get up and start over..
Thats what he did..today i live by those words, and i have learnt one lesson..When in Africa don’t take anything for granted! I have NO SYMPATHY for any of you. You brought it upon yourselves..Get off your laurels, work,build,dont take what is not yours, forgive and move on..Sadly that is not the African way i guess as handouts is the only thing you expect .
Fear not for the nation with the slanted eyes are Africas new colonialists.. they will take over without firing a shot..Take heed my fellow Africans, take heed for the time is nigh that your new masters will steamroller into your country!

A socialist moment of truth…. When you run out of other people’s money. It was hunger that eventually brought the Tzar of Russia down and it will be no different in Zimbabwe.

It is fascinating to see this play out exactly as foretold by F von Hayek and other free market authors. The so-called representatives of the people now only exist to enrich and protect themselves. As “other peoples’ money” runs out completely, only the very top echelon of politicians continues to thrive, seemingly oblivious to the (well-deserved) suffering of their police enforcers, military and apparatchiks. The revolution occurs once the latter groups are no longer willing or able to protect the oligarchy. Currently featuring in Zimbabwe, soon coming to a theatre near you.

Collectivism + Democracy = Famine
ANC = Collectivism
Therefore: The right to vote for the ANC = Famine

On one side I am absolutely disgusted with the way in which people in Zimbabwe are treated and the conditions in which they have to barely survive in. On the other side this is self inflicted suffering, this is the “freedom” they attained in 1980.

Democracy in Africa is failing because people do not understand what democracy actually is. Africa thinks that democracy means that the majority can simply do as they want to because they are the majority. That you have to continue voting for the liberation movements out of loyalty.

All functioning democracies are based on principles of individual freedom and liberty that do not change regardless of who governs. Only once Africa gets away from the collectivist us vs them mentality and realizes that the different races/tribes/cultures/sexes do not have it in for each other, only then can Africa start to rebuild itself and have a hope of prosperity.

The ANC clock is ticking even louder towards an even more immense disaster in South Africa. This is the way of Africa.

Just another failed African state.
I wonder if Zimbabweans ever think that life may have been better under Ian Smith?

The tragedy is that most South Africans and even most Zimbabweans still don’t know where it all went wrong

They kept blaming the past until their future was gone.

The most important thing is Zimbabweans have been freed from colonialist oppression (that was on everyone’s lips in the 1980’s…..now all of that is forgotten, now that there’s hardly Brits left….now all Zimbos talk about relates to economic hardship.)

Surely Zimbabweans are now truly free to determine their own future. Who are “we” to interfere? Such hardships are quite normal life in Africa, and you find people still smiling. (Us westerlings measure Africa along 1st world, European norms & hence we’ll find fault with everything. TIA. Zim & African people are now free to choose own destiny. One should not feel sorry for normal life in Africa.)

Current-day SA: we constantly hear talk about “too slow transformation” / the white privilege / Large portions of land are still in the hands of the minority / Whites are land-thieves / etc etc.

Life in SA is (still) very comfortable in comparison to rest of Africa. Even in the townships…there’s no real poverty to speak of (that you find in pockets of Asia, Latin America & rest of Africa). Many locals have houses for free & wear branded clothes in the dusty streets. It’s not glamorous, but homes are furnished inside. Most well fed to the point of being obese. Example, SAPS policewomen cannot wear their headgear properly, because their comfortable lifestyles (i.e. getting nicely paid for mediocre job performance) earn them enough money to wear expensive synthetic wigs which clashes with police headgear design…the police cap sit ridiculously far aloft. You don’t see that phenomenon much elsewhere in Africa…the clash of excessive money mixed with service-wear. Just illustrating ONE point that we in SA have it very comfortable down to the so-called poor, which they aren’t. Yes, there’s hardship…but not truly poor.

Roll forward say 30-40 years into the next generation, when ethnic Saffas would be truly in economic control, after most whites have passed on/or emigrated, you’ll be hearing stories of daily hardship….like you now hear in what was once called Southern Rhodesia. No crystal ball needed.

(Back to ZIM: the whites have not “stolen” anything….just a revolutionary agenda and lie…what you see is the people that CREATED WEALTH have been forced away. Were little wealth was taken away….it’s still in the soil as minerals, and quality agricultural soil. It’s still there. Bu the creators of wealth have left.)

Straight shooting, I enjoyed reading @MichaelfromKlerksdorp

You’re welcome trader123.

Believe me, I had numerous past comments MW removed from “my comments” while waiting for moderation 😉

There are times when I’m less ‘pc’ like now, and while we still have freedom of expression in SA.
Others again will differ from me, and I will respect that….mutual respect, even if we differ.

“In the truest sense, Freedom cannot be bestowed, it must be achieved”!

Franklin. D. Roosevelt.

Africa, in it’s ignorance will never understand this, Mandela and the Robben Island old boy’s club didn’t, it was going to be a walk in the park!

“Roll forward say 30-40 years” This is the only part of what you have written that I disagree with. Its going to be far less than that.

You cant get growth when you keep dividing it. The twin sisters called BEE and Theft will accelerate the process!

As requested before please stop writing any detailed Zim related articles. Just start with “Taking Land Without Compensation” and we will know the rest….

“Zimbabwe’s clock ticking”

Well fortunately Africa has abundance of time..

Again, an example of the voting system not working in Africa. And, sad to say, Thabo (read anc government) did nothing of importance to assist the government of national unity. Anc also endorsed all the zim elections since 2000 of which none was won on fair grounds by zanu. Disgusting to see such avoidable human suffering. Zanu, like almost all anc politicians, feels nothing for their compatriots. A truth which almost always goes unnoticed.

“We have lost our earnings already through slave wages and so we have nothing more to lose,” the Zimbabwe Nurses Association said.

In 1617 the average slave cost US $150,000 in today’s money plus they needed their food, accommodation and medical expenses taken care of at an estimate of US $100 a month.

If a person works for 40 years, from 20 to 60 years of age it would mean that to break even with a Slaves wage they would need to have an income of US$412.50 (R7,012.50) per month.

That is a Slaves wage, what we are seeing globally is worse than slavery, people working in factories in China throwing themselves off the building whilst other make your iPhone.

But hey vote again for your slave masters…

Ah socialism you beauty.

The same old music playing again.
A painful reminder: your country gets what it votes for and if it is socialism – flee.

ANC Politician; What’s the problem with Zim? We don’t see Zim as a failure, their government achieved their objective, they got rid of the colonialists, they redistributed the assets to their friends and have been in power for 40 years. For their courage, wisdom and leadership their politicians have been well rewarded. Every government would love a track record like that. Stay in power for 40 years and live like kings off the backs of the population. That’s not failure, that’s success!

At least the vultures will have full tummies

End of comments.

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