Zimbabwe. Despite Zimbabwe’s dire social and economic problems, the regime showed no signs of reconciling with the opposition. The ZCTU was forced to suspend a series of planned protest actions since the police seized and beat 30 of the country’s top union leaders in September. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Zimbabwe include Independence Day (April 18) and New Year (January 1). President Robert Mugabe justified the police brutality of unions trying to take the law into their own hands.
The opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) split when an outbreak group elected 40-year-old former student activist Arthur Mutambara as leader. The split within the MDC began in 2005 when disagreement erupted over whether the party would stand in the election to the newly created Senate.
For the second year in a row, Zimbabwe escaped with little need to be excluded from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a down payment of approximately SEK 65 million. In the last minute. However, the country still has a debt of over SEK 840 million. and is deprived of its voting rights within the organization. Inflation passed 1,000% in April and 1,200% in August. The fact that the central bank in August introduced a new currency with three zeros less than the old one did not reduce the financial problems. Nor did the decision to raise the policy rate to 500% appear to have any effect.
Isolated by the western world, Zimbabwe went east to seek help. For payment in chrome, China will open new coal mines and build three hydroelectric power plants on the Zambezi River to try to solve the country’s deep energy crisis. China also promised loans and credits for more than SEK 35 billion. on favorable terms. Russian companies were contracted for a number of infrastructure projects for more than SEK 2 billion.
The AIDS epidemic and difficult living conditions have in a short time reduced the life expectancy in Zimbabwe to the lowest in the world according to the UN agency WHO – 34 years for women and 37 for men. The country also has the highest proportion of orphans in the world. In one respect, the regime suggested that it may have contributed to the crisis. The white farmers who were driven away from their farms during the catastrophic land reform were offered to apply for long-term contracts to lease new agricultural land. And the black farmers who were allowed to take over the farms of the whites were told that if they did not start growing food quickly, the farms could be taken away from them.
Harare’s mayor arrested for corruption
The newly appointed mayor of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has been arrested on suspicion of corruption. The mayor, Jacob Mafume, belongs to the opposition party MDC and won the mayoral election in September. The MDC, which has ruled the capital for more than a decade, claims the allegations are politically motivated and a way for the ruling Zanu-PF party to try to seize power in the city. Mafume is released on bail but is arrested again in mid-December. This time he is accused of trying to influence the main witness in the upcoming corruption trial. Mafume’s representative, also from the MDC, was forced to resign earlier this year on charges of corruption.
Gold digger stuck in landslides
At least 40 people get stuck underground when a mine shaft in a closed gold mine collapses. Due to the country’s poor economy, high inflation and massive unemployment, small – scale, often illegal, gold mining has become a lifeline for many. The gold industry employs just under 10 percent of the population, according to the organization International Crisis Group (ICG), which recently released a report on the country’s gold industry. According to the report, gold worth 1.5 billion US dollars is smuggled out of the country annually. One reason is the central acquisition system that the gold diggers are not happy with. A few weeks ago, a smuggling scandal broke out in the country (see November 6) where several high-ranking people are suspected of being involved.
Journalist arrested for tweet
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested earlier this year for inciting violence, is again in custody. The reason is that he tweeted about a smuggling scandal that erupted at the end of October when the chairman of the association for small-scale mining was arrested at the airport in Harare. In her bag she had six kilos of gold which she tried to bring out of the country. The country’s first lady, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxilia, and the couple’s son Collins, have been mentioned in the investigation but deny any involvement. In September, Chin’ono was released on bail (see September 3, 2020). One of the conditions for his release was that he was not allowed to post on Twitter. Chin’ono’s lawyers are protesting that, despite his case not yet being tried in court, he has been jailed for serious crimes. On November 20, Chin’ono is released on bail.