“The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting to a point of suffering a man-made starvation,” she told a news conference in Harare, adding that eight million people would be affected by the end of the year.
“Today, Zimbabwe counts amongst the four highest food insecure states,” she said after an 11-day tour, adding that poor harvests were compounded by 490% hyperinflation.
“A staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity” in rural areas due to a drought that has affected harvests, she said.
Another 2.2 million people in urban areas also faced food shortages and lacked access to minimum public services, including health and safe water.
Mnangagwa’s first five months in power characterised by public service strikes.
“By the end of this year… the food security situation is expected to worsen with an estimated eight million people requiring urgent action to reduce food consumption gaps and save livelihoods,” she said, describing the numbers as “shocking”.
Zimbabwe is in the grips of an entrenched economic crisis, pervasive corruption, poverty and a crumbling health system.
The economy, crippled by decades of mismanagement under former president Robert Mugabe, has failed to rebound under Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over following a military-led coup two years ago.
“Political polarisation, economic and financial problems and erratic climatic conditions all contribute to the storm of food insecurity currently facing a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa,” Elver said.
She warned that food insecurity heightened “the risks of civil unrest and insecurity”.
“I urgently call on the government and the international community to come together to put an end to this spiralling crisis before it morphs into a full-blown social unrest,” she said.
I immediately moved to give the people their voices back, opening new channels of communication between the people and their representatives.
Criticism of the government and the presidency would no longer be taboo, but welcomed, even encouraged. I answered tough questions on my Facebook page, as I promised to be a listening president.
We immediately went into an election, in which opposition parties were free to campaign wherever, whenever and however they liked. Even when I narrowly survived the Bulawayo bombing attack weeks before the election, nothing changed. The campaign continued unimpeded.
On July 30th 2018, eight months after coming to office, we held the freest and fairest elections in the country’s history. While no electoral process is perfect, all international monitors noted the new and free environment of the campaigns, and the vast improvement in the electoral process.
And we will continue to work closely with our partners in the international community to improve and refine our democracy. To build a resolute and open society, a free and fair country for all its citizens.
Part of this is reforming antiquated legislation and opening up the political space. We are repealing AIPPA, replacing it with three new laws, consistent with the ethos of the new Zimbabwe: The Freedom of Information bill, the Protection of Personal Information bill and the Zimbabwe Media Commission bill.
Developed in consultation with a diverse range of stakeholders, these laws meet international media freedom standards and ensure the right to freedom of expression and freedom of media.
Just last week we removed the much maligned POSA, a remnant of the old Zimbabwe that limited the right to protest, and replaced it with a new Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, devised with input from civil society and our friends around the world.
These have been key demands of the international community, and should be interpreted as a sign of our commitment to reform. Yet the impetus for change and reform comes from within. We are not reforming to appease the nations of the world, but because reform is necessary to build the future our people desire. Of course, there is still much work to do, but we are heading in the right direction.
In November 2017, we also found ourselves mired in an economic mess. A dark and dangerous fiscal tunnel, with no apparent light at the end of it.
Today, we have a balanced budget for the first time in living memory, and we have restored our own currency, enabling us to take control of both our fiscal and monetary policy.
Of course, too many Zimbabweans still suffer, but austerity is a painful but necessary part of the recovery process. Led by our internationally recognised Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube, we will continue to restructure, revamp and rebuild our economy. We cannot and will not hold up our hands. We must reform or perish.
The people of Zimbabwe know perseverance. Just because the process is tough, we will never take our eyes off the prize. We must never give up until we have achieved our goals: A middle income economy by 2030.
We are investing in this process like never before. A process of wholesale economic, political and social reforms.
I call on the nations of the world to help us speed up this process, to support the people of Zimbabwe as we undertake these painful but necessary reforms.
If the goal of sanctions is to stimulate the reform process, their effect is the opposite. They slow down our progress, inhibit our economic recovery and empower those who do not wish to see Zimbabwe change.
Their removal will therefore be an important step on the road to a better future for all the people of this country.
We as leaders have a duty to set a new course for our people. A course where not only is our fate in our own hands, but where no one is left behind. A course with a balanced budget, an open political space, and a thriving economy providing the jobs and opportunities our people deserve.
I shall never stop working towards these goals and will never waver in my determination to realise the dreams of all those who took to the streets two years ago. I am confident that with patience, perseverance and our unbending commitment to reform, we will get there.
Andy Hodges and Blessing Munatsi as they host a panel from politics and civil society, to discuss Zimbabwe’s political dialogue. Will there be a final solution to Zimbabwe’s problems?
Victoria Mujati–I am sick of hearing all these so called church leaders who are preaching about dialogue, I would suggest that before that dialogue Mnangagwa must step down then we as a country can move forward. You can hold so many of these so called platforms and lie to the nation.You can not insist on having a union between Zanu Pf and MDC that is not the solution the country needs.All I can say if you are a church leader and taking money from zanu pf you are part of the problem, if you are in the police and the army, you are part of the problem, why you killed people first and threaten their lives if the exercise their constitutional right. For the past 39 years zanu pf has been looting all the resources for themselves. Zanu pf needs to be taken to the ICC for defrauding the people of zimbabwe. Mnagwagwa did not win and he ignored the recommendations made by the EU as well as his own fake commission he appointed.He was handed the presidency by his judges in the constitutional court disregarding the constitution.
US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations backs ambassador Brian Nichols after Zimbabwe government threats “Ambassador Nichols set the record straight that culpability for Zimbabwe’s dire economic situation rests with its leaders” – ZIMLIVE
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Friday backed the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, a day after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government threatened to expel him for alleged political meddling.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo took issue with Ambassador Brian Nichols’ forthright comments about official corruption, which the envoy said was the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic malaise, and not sanctions as claimed by the regime.
The powerful US Senate committee, in a tweeted response on Friday, gave no inch to the regime in Harare as it backed Nichols to the hilt.
“The US is deeply committed to the people of Zimbabwe,” the Committee chaired by Senator Jim Risch (Republican-Idaho) said. “Ambassador Nichols set the record straight that culpability for Zimbabwe’s dire economic situation rests with its leaders, provided the truth about sanctions, and reiterated our strong and lasting commitment to a free and open Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa’s efforts to woo western countries to back his regime with budgetary support and debt relief have gone up in smoke after his government targeted opponents, killing dozens, following his disputed election win in July last year.
The 77-year-old took over power from the late Robert Mugabe in a 2017 military coup promising economic prosperity and greater freedoms for Zimbabweans, but many now say life is worse than when Mugabe departed after a controversial 37-year-rule.
Amid an ever-present threat of strikes by government workers and rising public anger over a deepening economic crisis marked by hyperinflation and shortages of power, fuel and medicines, Mnangagwa’s regime has blamed United States sanctions which have been in place since 2001.
The United States embassy last week called out the regime, accusing it of using propaganda to distract from its own failings including corruption and misuse of the country’s mineral riches.
Writing in a local newspaper a day before nationwide marches called by the government to protest against US sanctions, Ambassador Nichols said: “What is holding Zimbabwe back? It’s not sanctions. There are only 141 Zimbabwean people and companies on the United States sanctions’ list. That’s right, just 141, in a country of 16 million. They are on the list for good reason. These are people who have engaged in corruption, committed human rights abuses, and undermined Zimbabwe’s democratic process.
“Blaming sanctions is a convenient scapegoat to distract the public from the real reasons behind Zimbabwe’s economic challenges —corruption, economic mismanagement, and failure to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law.”
Moyo issued an unprecedented statement on Thursday, accusing Nichols of making a “constant portrayal as fact of what are mostly largely unsubstantiated allegations or even rumours, often still being investigated or processed by law enforcement or other agencies of government.”
“Persistent behaviour of this nature will test the patience of even the most tolerant amongst us… We have the means to bring all of this to an end, should we deem it necessary or should we be pushed too far,” Moyo said in a thinly-veiled threat to expel America’s top diplomat in Harare.
Zimbabwean music artist Platinum Prince abducted Sunday along Chiremba Road, Harare. He was severely tortured only to be released on Monday. The abductors questioned him about his political song ‘Ndiyo here Mr President?’ – ‘Is that so Mr President?’
The musician recently released a track titled “NDIYO YACHO HERE MR PRESIDENT” which seems critical of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government’s handling of the country’s economy which is now in meltdown.
A source close to the developments said,
The men did not produce any warrant or give reasons for the abduction. The men just blocked the way of the car that the controversial musician was in and assaulted the driver who was trying to understand why they had blocked the road with their car in the process.
According to the source, the men then took the chanter and put him in a car boot and disappeared. He was assaulted and dumped along Chiremba Road early Monday morning.
This is not the first time that the musician has courted the ire of those in power. In 2015, he released another song titled “Ndeipe President” which was also highly critical of (then) President Robert Mugabe. At the time, the self-proclaimed “Ndururani”was warned that he needed to tone it down as his music was growing too political.
When I lived in Kenya many years ago; friends used to tell me: “In Kenya, it is illegal to even ‘imagine’ or dream about President Daniel arap Moi out of power.” I took all this with a pinch of salt; assuming it’s just one of those East African bad jokes.
Thinking about it; in hindsight – it was actually – possibly not true of Kenya at the time. BUT it it is a fact of life for Zimbabwe. You are not allowed to think – do not go to the loo without a government permit.////CRIMSON TAZVINZWA///