By Jim Fryar.
An unconfirmed report in “First Post” indicates that Mugabe is not as secure as we have been led to believe. In an article “Mugabe struggles to hold on to power”, by Moses Moyo (quoted in Part) he says that neither of the main factions support further rule by him: -
“The much-publicized endorsement in March of Mugabe as the Zanu-PF party's Presidential candidate for next year's elections never happened. Newly leaked minutes of the critical party meeting indicate that no endorsement was made - and observers believe that whoever is the next President of Zimbabwe it will not be Robert Mugabe.
The minutes of the meeting, held between 1pm and 4.35pm on March 30, at Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare, have been leaked by one of the two major factions struggling for power within the party.
This faction is led by retired army supremo Solomon Mujuru, whose wife, Joyce, is one of Zimbabwe's two vice-presidents”.
“Mujuru himself, a formidable character who can boast the support of the army, is not personally interested in the presidency.
At one time it was thought that he would support his wife Joyce in a bid for the top office. But it now appears that Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, is his choice. Makoni is a man with relatively clean hands - plus he is good-looking, charismatic, and highly popular within the party”.
So what is really going on there? I remember when the country was referred to as the ‘bread basket of Africa’, led by a man who was admired by every left winger in the world, supported by an army trained by democratic North Korea, what could go wrong?
After years of mismanagement and cronyism the country was still reasonably well off, propped up by a very efficient rural sector, and minerals, then in order to retain the support of the people a massive effort was put into seizure of large rural holdings to redistribute them to the landless supporters of the government.
Some of these have been appropriated by senior government officials while others have been reduced to subsistence farming, the upshot of which was a massive reduction in the gross national product, especially in food production. At the same time, huge expenditure was incurred by intervention in the Congolese civil war. Because of the violence associated with land takeovers and intimidating the opposition, the tourism industry also collapsed.
Because of the shortages, prices rose and the government went for the printing presses leading to runaway inflation. More money chasing fewer goods is one of the tried and true methods of achieving this. Inflation is now in the order of a whopping 5000%, and likely to increase. The government has promised to print more money to pay for its projects, so no lessons have been learned.
Price controls have now been imposed on many products with cuts of up to 50% demanded. As result many stores are virtually empty, and thousands of owners arrested for breaches.
Probably the only things keeping the population alive are a thriving black (free) market, and the millions of refugees (currently estimated at up to 3000 per day) who send food and foreign currency home to relatives.