The people of Zimbabwe have suffered through the most terrible days of hardship since their Independence 36 years ago. In Matabeleland in the early 80’s the Gukurahundi massacres were the first sign that Independence might not mean freedom, wealth and happiness for all. Since then, through a succession of bad decisions, the country has gone into free-fall. About eight years ago everyone in Zimbabwe suffered dreadful deprivation when the economy crashed and at one stage hyperinflation peaked at an estimated 79.6 billion percent in 2008.
One of Africa's poorest nations.
From being one of the wealthiest nations in #Africa when they won their independence from Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, they are now ranked the 2nd poorest country in the World and whilst some media outlets dispute this, if you are a hard-suffering #Government employee who has not been paid, or just one of the millions of unemployed, what matters more than anything is to see a strong and democratic government who cares about the people.
I can't buy what I want, I can't withdraw as much money as I want, I can't work, I can't live lyk this. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. #Beitbridge— Wezhira (@Wezhira4) July 1, 2016
Rioting closes border.
This past week, rioters and protesters burned down a customs warehouse and brought the border with South Africa to a close. The army was sent into the town of Beitbridge to quell the rioters and bring a very tense peace to the area. This followed a decision by the government to ban imports of various goods that many unemployed people rely on to sell and earn a bit of money to feed their families. Zimbabwe is undergoing a cash crisis. Whether this is from corruption, theft or poor business decisions is debateable, and the country is desperate to keep foreign exchange in the country. Political commentators like David Coltard, a founding member of the Movement for Democratic Change point to an imminent economic meltdown.
Low tolerance for protesters.
Zimbabweans who protest face a very real threat of either arrest and detention or being beaten and even shot for protesting. Some protesters have disappeared off the face of the earth. They have been subjected to a brutal regime where voting the wrong way, or commenting critically about top politicians could have severe consequences. Nevertheless, there are brave souls tweeting about the valiant efforts of the border post rioters. Recent breaking news from the country where ageing President Mugabe and his supporters do not tolerate any kind of opposition, indicates that more people are displaying just how tired and fed up they are.
New violent clash in Harare.
Violent protest broke out in the South Eastern suburbs of Capital City Harare this week over the sheer numbers of road blocks on the roads. Police clashed with rioters as they tried to disperse the angry crowds. Recently Zimbabwe passed a huge increase in the fines for taxis and commuters who either collected or disgorged outside designated areas. Wherever you drive in Zimbabwe, there are road blocks. At every roadblock there is always a long line of taxis being ticketed or searched and their passengers are searched and generally harassed every day. It has been reported by visitors to the country travelling from South Africa that between Harare and the holiday destination town of Kariba in the north, that between 15 to 20 roadblocks is not uncommon.
Some significant unrest in eastern #Harare with transport operators protesting against ZRP roadblocks which have become extortion hotspots— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) July 4, 2016
Outlying town of Marondera.
It was reported by iHarare online news that angry protesters brought a number of suburbs to a standstill. This week’s protests apparently spread to Marondera, a town that used to be a thriving farming area about 70kms east of Harare. For once, even the younger people who were “born free” in the post-independence of the country are calling for reform – and fast. It is no longer about which party they belong to these days, but about an entire country who want their leaders to listen to them and for the once proud nation to get back on its feet.#military