ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We’ve exhausted all channels. We can’t continue to be victims of unjust application of the law. Rights are for all. On Tuesday 21st Jan we will deliver the people’s Agenda 2020 to the nation come what may. #peoplesgovernment; MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE PRESIDENT NELSON CHAMISA delivers an ultimatum to Mnangagwa
It was Zimbabwe’s first day after the official end to the era of Robert Mugabe, following a momentous election and a decidedly bewilded new president – Emmerson Mnangagwa. But, amazingly for Africa – and curiously after the 2018 vote, there were no celebrations, no victory marches, no euphoria that ushered in ‘regime change’; the city centre of Harare was pretty deserted, with many shops shut.
A police van was broadcasting from a loudspeaker, on a loop, the message: “Zimbabwe is open for business. Feel free to walk and open your business. We are here to protect you. All is well, fear not.” It went through empty streets, past the rubble from running battles of two days ago – when troops had shot dead six people and injured 30 others protesting against possible fraud during the election.
Many people would need to be convinced of the police message that all was well. The new president was an old face, 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, an ally of Mugabe for decades before the two men fell out. The old practices of a brutal regime have not, we were soon to get yet another reminder, completely gone away.
Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was due to hold a press conference, his first public appearance after his party had lost parliament to the ruling Zanu-PF, and he had lost the presidency to Mr Mnangagwa.
Sitting under the shade of a big sausage tree I looked out into the 37 degree heat that characterized many parts of Zimbabwe this Christmas and New Year. A mirage was running across my view and I alternately cursed and smiled at the Vervet monkey which sat in a tree nearby eating the avocado it had just stolen off the table.
Delicately peeling the avocado with its teeth, spitting the skin out bit by bit, the little monkey ate the entire fruit and then licked each of its fingers one by one. I closed my eyes to imprint the memory, hoped one of the giant sausages in the tree above wouldn’t fall on me and thought about how this beautiful place and our desperate people were going to survive another year of Zimbabwe’s crisis situation; BY CATHY BUCKLE////LETTER FROM ZIMBABWE
So many Zimbabweans who came home for Christmas from the Diaspora saw for themselves the dire state we are in, heard the strange, unrealistic statements from government leaders and listened to the desperate stories told by their families who are trying to survive the collapse of our country for the second time in a decade.
They heard the words of Zimbabwe’s President last week. Speaking to residents in Harare’s high density suburb of Kuwadzana the President created a storm of criticism when people asked him about the unaffordable price of meat. The President told them they should eat vegetables instead of meat, because his doctor had told him that vegetables were good for you. Meanwhile this week a 1.5 kg chicken is priced at Z$104 and a single kg of locally grown carrots, in an unmarked, unlabelled plastic bag in a major supermarket was priced at Z$53.99. For countless Zimbabweans earning less than Z$500 a month, even a single bag of carrots has become a luxury in January 2020. Perhaps the President or his POLAD advisors (who are now asking for ‘all terrain vehicles’) haven’t been into the supermarkets themselves lately or perhaps they’ve forgotten what it’s like to earn the equivalent of US$28 a month, less than a dollar a day.
Zimbabweans home for Christmas heard about the imminent crisis in our education system. In a few days time the new school year starts here but teachers unions are saying their members aren’t going to work unless their salaries are at least equivalent to what they were this time last year. Teachers are currently earning around Z$1,000 a month before deductions leaving them going home with the equivalent of US$40 – 60 a month. This time last year they were earning in US dollars and taking home US$450 – 500. If teachers salaries were pegged to the same US dollar amount they were earning last year, they should be taking home around Z$8,000 a month. To put these figures in perspective, the recently released Poverty Datum Line for a family of five is Z$3,700; teachers are currently earning one quarter of that amount. It’s a dire situation and as diabolical for teachers as it is for parents.
This is what parents are facing as they try to get their children ready for school next week. These are the current costs for a thirteen year old boy starting senior school in Form One at a government school in my home town this January 2020.
Fees Z$950 for one term.
Uniform Z$1341, consisting of one shirt, one pair shorts, one tie, one jersey, one blazer and one pair of shoes .
Sports kit: Z$500 (one T shirt, one pair shorts one pair tennis shoes)
20 Exercise writing books: Z$400
Total so far Z$3,191; no room to buy a single change of clothes, satchel, pens, pencils, lunch box, drink bottle, rain coat, calculator, dictionary or any of the other extras needed.
This boy’s Mum earns Z$400 a month and so all of it is out of reach for her. And the insult on top of this? The teacher tells the parent: “for us to ‘teach nicely’ your child can give us US$10.” As I sat under the sausage tree thinking about the teacher’s words, I understood that the tragic irony here is that desperate teachers soliciting bribes from desperate parents aren’t even earning enough to educate their own children.
Meanwhile a week into 2020 multiple hundreds of people are queuing for travel documents to get out of Zimbabwe and go to neighbouring countries where they hope to get jobs and send money home to keep their families alive. In my home town there were so many people trying to get travel documents that they had to queue in a dusty open space across the road from the passport complex. Waiting in lines four deep; waiting to get out, waiting for a normal life..
From the Beitbridge border we heard that Zimbabweans going back to South Africa, back to their jobs, were stuck in two kilometer long vehicle queues and when they got to the front they waited on foot for 8 – 12 hours to get their passports stamped. Officials said that 35,000 people crossed the border legally in one day last week and we wonder how many thousands more crawled under and over the fences and razor wire to get away from Zimbabwe, our beautiful, broken country.
As troubled as we are in Zimbabwe our hearts go out to all our friends and family in Australia suffering in the devastating fires ravaging the country; you are part of our Disapora and not forgotten. And to all our family and friends from the Diaspora who came home this Christmas, gave moral support and words of comfort, or sent goods and treats home for their families, thank you.
ZIMBABWE Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, delivered his 2020 National Budget Speech in the National Assembly in Harare on Thursday 14th November 2019/////CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
Since 2007 Zimbabwe’s economy has been reeling from hyperinflation, making the country’s ‘sometimes currency’ worthless. The difficulty of any minister of ‘money’ anywhwere in the world is to be able to work out a comprehensive national budget out of short-term or temporary currency. Zimbabwe has changed currencies 3 times this year (2019) alone. The main reason for this; nobody has a clue even the president. Who knows; next week the country could – God forbid – have a new currency yet again in as many weeks. This is the unpredictability that riles investors. Investors do not operate on ‘now you see it, and now you don’t’economic modus operanda. There is an ubiquity of peaceful, enabling environments from which to do business on this vast planet earth, and Zimbabwe has no preferential treatment – why should she? You have to create competitive environment – this is called competitive investment advantage … Therefore, merely dishing out ‘Zimbabwe is Open For Business’mantra and the presidential nationalistic rainbow scarf is not enough to attract the ever so evasive moneymaker, especially given the carcaphoney of disorder, indisciplined police – brutality, suppression of divergent viewpointsand – and what of entrenched corruption.
The government should tentatively stop dishing out steroids and drugs to law enforcers – police.
Apart from currency stability investors look at the economic environment; the ease with which to do business, political stability and the prevalence of the rule of law.
At the conclusion of his speech, the Minister presented the full 2020 National Budget Statement
However, Zimbabwe Government’s allocation of upwards of ZWL$422.7m for irrigationand ZWL$380m for commercial farmer compensationin the 2020 budget. should be commended; though this should be taken with a pinch of salt given Zanu (PF)’s history of reneging on promises, negating the fact that political reform ie cementing the rule of law and the constitution, respect for the opposition and civil society are pillars of any development anywhere.
Zimbabwe – World Happiness Index
World Happiness Ranking
World Happiness Index
Zimbabwe – World Happiness Index
Happiness Ranking,World Happiness Ranking
World Happiness Ranking
The 2% intermediated money transfer tax stays, but the tax-free threshold is now ZWL$100, from ZWL$20 previously. The maximum payable by corporates is now ZWL$25,000 from ZWL$15,000 currently for transactions above ZWL$1.25 million.
Government plans to spend ZWL$540 million on the public transport subsidy scheme running under Zupco
Government has set aside ZWL$500 million for a venture capital fund to finance start-up projects that will mostly target young entrepreneurs.
Govt allocates ZWL$422.7m for irrigationand ZWL$380m for commercial farmer compensationin the 2020 budget.
The tax-free portion of retrenchment packages will be increased from ZWL$10,000 to ZWL$50,000, or one-third of the package, to a maximum ZWL$80,000.
The tax-free threshold has been raised to ZWL$2,000 per month, from ZWL$700, wef January 2020.
The tax-free bonus has been increased from ZWL$1,000 to ZWL$5,000 wef November 1, 2019