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Sunday, 8 July 2007

Zimbabwe's silent genocide..

Times Online's Christina Lamb paints a depressing picture on the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the blame game continues. The international community blames Mugabe for creating the 'food shortage' problem, he blames them back for creating the 'land problem' and imposing further sanctions. In the middle is the dying population. A short extract from the article below:

In 15 years, life expectancy has fallen to 34 years for women and 37 for men, by far the lowest in the world. What some call a silent genocide has left Zimbabwe with more orphans than anywhere else in the world — 1.4m according to Unicef.

At Bulawayo’s vast West Park cemetery, it is easy to spot the recent arrivals — a large plot freshly dug, with row after row of graves, barely a plank’s width between them. The gravestones tell their own story. All were born in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Over on the other side in the children’s section is a line of tiny earth mounds, the graves of babies who have died in the past week.

At the edges of the graveyard are odd areas of tossed earth. “People come in at night and bury their relatives secretly at the margins because they cannot afford proper burials,” explains Pastor Useni Sibanda, who leads a church in Bulawayo
and speaks for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, an umbrella grouping of church groups and other civic organisations.

Those who can join burial clubs — macabre savings groups where people in a street or a workplace join together to pay for each other’s dead. Others register sick relatives under false names at hospitals, knowing they cannot afford a funeral.
Nobody knows how many have died of hunger. But doctors in Zimbabwe say the population’s chronic malnutrition, combined with HIV, leads to the onset of full blown Aids far faster than anywhere else in Africa.

15 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, but this is just more propaganda.

    If they actually cared, they would lift economic and financial sanctions against Zimbabwe immediately.

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  2. What does it help to help to lift percieved sanctions etc and leave a rogue REGIME to continue with SUICIDAL POLICIES?

    www.zimfinalpush.blogspot.com

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  3. The two opposing views illustrate primarily where we are. A position of extremes.

    The question is what can actually be done to stop this genocide?

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  4. I'm sorry Cho, but my view is not extreme, just pragmatic and reasoned.

    I can show the origin of inflation in Zimbabwe, and I seriously doubt that 'the radical mindset!' can do the same for any other policy.

    Because the Zimbabwean government's policies are not very different from those of the countries around it, with the exception of Botswana, which itself is an exception.

    It's economy looks the same, it's population statistics are the same, etc. It has the same level of unemployment, HIV/AIDS, government bureacracy (29 ministries in Zambia, 30 in Zimbabwe), 'clean up Zimbabwe/Zambia' programs that are destroying people's homes, etc., etc.

    And yet, Zimbabwe is the only country with hyperinflation. Zimbabwe is also the only country that has economic and financial sanctions that do not allow it to borrow foreign currency.

    This is the difference. Hyperinflation is induced by the total cutoff from foreign currency loans, nothing more, nothing less. It is completely western induced. As a punishment for not implementing SAPs.

    And this has happened before, in fact it happened to Zambia under Kenneth Kaunda, which is part of the reason he gave in to multi-party elections, which gave us the IMF's darling, Frederick Titus Chiluba.

    Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is caused by the markup in Zimbabwe Dollars of storefront goods against foreign currency, which is absent.

    Mystery solved.

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  5. MrK

    "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is caused by the markup in Zimbabwe Dollars of storefront goods against foreign currency, which is absent"

    Can you unpack this a little bit? I am bit slow today :)

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  6. mrK your arguments are so valid to a person that is(********).

    when leaders of a country allow it's people to be debters,they become slaves to their master who is a lender.

    if you read the bible it has all this.

    what can you do if one of your children decides to go against your set standards? your other children will try to help behind your back but if you find out they are in trouble.

    when you decide to be different then accept to live with the consequences.

    can you point out to which industry in zambia that is actually helping zambia. don't show me those that just pay you a salary to go and spend in a another foreign shop that is owned by the same hedge funders.

    do we even know what economical sanctions are. the world functions in ways that interests me. the rich have to have money coming in to support their expensive lifestyle(expensive life style is defined as service provided by a rich person,who can't do it for less).so we organise the largset population and they contribute a dollar each at 100m people i.e.a $100m. so which people are we.

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  7. HYPERINFLATION IN ZIMBABWE IS CAUSED BY INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS,NOT DOMESTIC POLICIES - WITH PROOF

    Can you unpack this a little bit? I am bit slow today :)

    Live Earth, I guess? :)

    There is a dearth of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, I think everyone can agree on that.

    Therefore, the Zimbabwe Dollar price of goods in the stores is marked up against the unofficial exchange rate, which is a truer reflection of the absence of foreign currency.

    Obviously, this will have several real world economic effects too - increasingly limiting the market for storefront goods to people who have access to foreign currency, for whom relatively little will have changed; to creating it's own dynamic of fewer customers, leading to fewer goods produced, etc.

    This can be proven by comparing the storefront goods in Zimbabwe to the price of the same goods in neighbouring countries - in US dollar terms. Or by simply comparing the cost to the US dollar amount.

    If the price in US dollar terms is relatively the same, then we know it isn't the absence of production that is to blame, but the Zimbabwe Dollar/US Dollar exchange rate.

    PROOF

    From this article, admittedly 3 years old, but still:

    From Relief Web, 02 Feb 2004:

    The price of a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe is expected to rise to Zim $3,500 (US $1)- the latest hike in the cost of basic food commodities - after an increase in the price of flour.

    In other words, the price of a loaf of bread was an internationally very reasonable $1 USD, but in local currency, an outrageous $3,500 (Zimbabwe Dollar).

    This is local currency inflation, not inflation because of the absence of goods produced, and international sanctions are clearly to blame, not domestic policies, including land reform.

    IMF

    But at the heart of it all is the international ban from the IMF/UK/US to lend money (foreign currency) to Zimbabwe.

    For all the multilateral lending institutions which are directly banned from lending or underwriting loans to Zimbabwe, see the 'Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001'. Ironic, isn't it, how this act is intended to destroy the Zimbabwean economy, while being called the 'Economic Recovery Act'? Of course, it was co-sponsored by Jesse Helms.

    Remember that the Irish Famine was not caused by the absence of food from Ireland or Britain, but by the high price of food. It were the poor who starved, not the rich.

    This is what the IMF has planned for Zimbabwe. Not necessarily an outright famine, but certainly food riots, leading to the overthrow of the democratically elected head of state. Keep a close eye on the methods used by the CIA and their 'color revolutions' (the 'orange revolution', the 'purple revolution' etc.).

    This is why they keep promising their backers riots in the street, a collapse within 6 months, etc.

    It is economic warfare, not this or that policy.

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  8. And here is another thing. We know that the MDC promote sanctions, that sanctions are to blame for hyperinflation.

    So why are they running away from them? Why don't they ever say - we installed sanctions, and look how well they work? Look how we made the economy collapse - or as 'the radical mindset!'s page is calls it, 'the final push'.

    Because then they would have to admit that they are responsible for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, not President Mugabe.

    That it is their fault, that people can't buy food.

    And who would want to see people like that come to power?

    The ANC never set out to destroy the South African economy. They never wanted to induce starvation on the people, so that there would be rioting in the streets.

    That is because the ANC were the representatives of the people, and the MDC are most definitely not.

    They are foreign controlled stooges, who would like to become the next social and financial elite. They have no connection to the people at all.

    Which is why they can abuse them without thinking twice about it; call for the collapse of the economy and boast about it; and call for a foreign invasion, which will kill thousands or tens of thousands of their own people.

    That is the MDC.

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  9. MrK,

    Okay I believe that the hyper inflation in Zimbabwe is due to the fact that the central bank is printing money and the Government has done some strange things like price controls etc. The two papers I blogged about basically tell the story.

    Now leaving that aside, you are proposing that the root cause of hyper inflation is the lack of foreign currency and that is because of IMF sanctions. I put to you that the foreign currency is scarce in Zim because no one wants to go there and do business. The capital inflows are weak which is weakning the dollar daily relative to other currencies.

    Now part of the weak inflows of capital is due to sanctions, the other is just due to the fact that it is risky place to invest. Investors rely on confidence and that is absent at the moment in Zim.

    The issue is what can be done to restore the confidence in Zimbabwe so that capital inflow may increase?

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  10. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2705183461541363969&postID=941539199372949390


    Okay I believe that the hyper inflation in Zimbabwe is due to the fact that the central bank is printing money and the Government has done some strange things like price controls etc.

    But those are reactions to hyperinflation.

    What I think is clear, is that this is hyperinflation of the Zimbabwe dollar, not necessarily of actual prices or availability of goods in Zimbabwe.

    The first thing to do, to stabilize the situation, is to call of sanctions, and repeal the 'Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001'.

    There are no excuses for having sanctions against a country that is in such a poor shape. If there are, they don't take into account the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.

    The issue is what can be done to restore the confidence in Zimbabwe so that capital inflow may increase?

    - call off sanctions
    - normalize relations with Zimbabwe
    - acknowledge the fact that land reform is here to stay, and that messing with the people's right to own land will lead to civil war

    Instead of trying to restore the illegal 'rights' of a few Rhodies who are going to give back the land anyway.

    Because there is no way around it. The land belongs in the hands of the people, so they can farm it and prevent famines and create a stable society based on work and production.

    I say that the Zimbabwe government has every right to go to international courts, and challenge the legality of IMF and other sanctions.

    What western reporters cannot do, is go to Zimbabwe, say how terrible things there are, and then not call for an end to sanctions.

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  11. Okay I believe that the hyper inflation in Zimbabwe is due to the fact that the central bank is printing money and the Government has done some strange things like price controls etc.

    How much money is the central bank printing? Price controls, we'll see what will happen. Conventional wisdom says that goods will become in short supply, on the other hand, conventional wisdom doesn't take into account a country under international siege, so maybe they'll have an unexpected effect this time.

    However, explain to me that the dollar amount of goods stays the same, if inflation is caused bya lack of supply of goods?

    If inflation was really because of policies, a loaf of bread should be $10,-, not $1,-. So it seems to me, that if you have access to foreign currency, life in Zimbabwe pretty much continues as usual.

    The first thing to do, to stabilize the situation, is to call of sanctions, and repeal the 'Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001'. There are no excuses for having sanctions against a country that is in such a poor shape. If there are, they don't take into account the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.

    Which the government should make clear. These are the MDC's sanctions. Sanctions and invasion are what the MDC want.


    The issue is what can be done to restore the confidence in Zimbabwe so that capital inflow may increase?

    - call off sanctions
    - normalize relations with Zimbabwe
    - acknowledge the fact that land reform is here to stay, and that messing with the people's right to own land will lead to civil war

    Instead of trying to restore the illegal 'rights' of a few Rhodies who are going to give back the land anyway.

    Because there is no way around it. The land belongs in the hands of the people, so they can farm it and prevent famines and create a stable society based on work and production.

    I say that the Zimbabwe government has every right to go to international courts, and challenge the legality of IMF and other sanctions.

    What western reporters cannot do, is go to Zimbabwe, say how terrible things there are, and then not call for an end to sanctions.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cho,

    Okay I believe that the hyper inflation in Zimbabwe is due to the fact that the central bank is printing money

    Wouldn't that be the direct result of them not being able to borrow internationally?

    and the Government has done some strange things like price controls etc.

    Old school communist. On the other hand, in these extraordinary circumstances, who knows what the result might be? It wouldn't be my course of action, but it is an obvious reaction to hyperinflation, not the original cause of it.

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  13. You make some great points - as always :) The Zim situation is complicated.

    I don't doubt that the sanctions are causing some of the problems. The sanctions are meant to do just that. Make life difficult for Mugabe.

    But then we are just back where we started. Mugabe blames them, they blame him. In the mean time innocent people die.

    I think innocent people are dying because on the one hand we have an autocrat who is extremely idealistic. He believes he is in the right, and may be is. On the other hand we have an international community that blames Mugabe.

    There can be only one winner there. Right or wrongly.

    I think Bob should be a patriot and simply say - look for the sake of the dying people I step away. Why can't he do that? I don't any think any principles are worth the death of millions.

    Why can't they for example reach a deal, where Mugabe steps aside and they keep the land deal in place? Is that not possible.

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  14. MrK,

    As always I sympathize with your correct assessment of the negative impact of IMF and allied government policies toward the extension of additional credit to the Zimbabwean government, as well as the relative indifference of the international community to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans. It is doubtless true that a person accustomed to living beyond their means who is denied the ability to continue borrowing from formal institutions may turn to other sources of short term revenue, such as the sale of personal property, family and friends, informal sector "loan sharks", and even outright theft rather than adapt their lifestyle to match their income. Unfortunately this sort of behaviour is being emulated on a grand scale by the ZANU-PF policy makers, and now we are seeing the effect of exhaustion of these alternate sources of short term funding.

    The example you give, using as evidence of a lack of domestic policy complicity a report that, "The price of a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe is expected to rise to Zim $3,500 (US $1)- the latest hike in the cost of basic food commodities - after an increase in the price of flour," is flawed, in that the authors of the article have made use of the more accurate, parallel market exchange rate. Had they been using the official ZANU-PF mandated interbank exchange rate at the time of ZW$250 to US$1, then the equivalent price of that loaf of bread would be US$14.

    The difficulty faced by producers in Zimbabwe, especially for enterprises engaged in vital export activities which require some degree of imported input materials, is that the government has been effectively taxing them to the hilt without actually admitting it. One example of such a mechanism operates as follows:

    Exporter sells goods abroad in exchange for foreign currency, say an arbitrary amount like US$100. The government will not allow the exporter to bank this money abroad in anticipation of payments for imported inputs, but instead insists that an increasingly large percentage (40% as of March, up from 25% in 2006) of the money be exchanged for local currency via the Central Bank at a fixed rate, currently ZW$15,000 to US$1 (up from the ludicrously wishful ZW$250 to US$1 prior to March), which nets the exporter US$60 + ZW$600,000. The foreign currency thus obtained by the Central Bank is then diverted to pay for government operations and parastatal subsidies, and is not available for reconversion in a timely manner to obtain imported inputs at the same fixed rate, forcing the exporter to either seek the needed currency on the parallel market or to reduce operations to a level sustainable by purchase of inputs with the unconverted 60% of earnings. If we assume a conservative parallel exchange rate of ZW$60,000 to US$1 (most recent reports place it significantly higher), then the exporter will be able to obtain only US$10 back from the US$40 originally converted. In this example the exporter is either required to pay an undeclared additional tax of 30% on all its operations, or to reduce production, or a combination of the two.

    While this is a drastic improvement over the circumstances prior to the establishment of the Drought Mitigation and Economic Stabilisation Fund in March of this year, it still represents a domestic regulatory policy environment in which manufacture for export is severely curtailed and increasingly unprofitable.

    [Figures obtained from Herald archives]

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  15. The biggest forex round trippers have been the ministers in Mugabes governemnt no one else has access to frex.

    Idiotic policies like destroying a commercial farming sector that was a major provider of foreign exchange earner can not be excusable.

    Idiotic policies like printing money to pay governemnt bills can only lead to one result inflation.

    Idiotic policies like price controls that drive goods out of the shop only lead to inflation.

    Running an economy by threats and coercion can only be described as sure lunacy.

    Zimbabwe can only blame itself for the situation they are in.

    You simply can not destroy a source of up to half yopur foreign exchange and not expect serious economic consequences.

    You can not run serious budget deficits year in and year out Zimbabwe has run budget deficits over 10% of GDP or more for over 10 years now and hope for economic prosperity

    You can not impose funny economic regulations that make no economic sanity and drive business into the informal sector without suffering the consequences.

    Yu can peg your currency at a ridiculously over valued exchange rate and couple this with wild reckless governmant spending with a reletlessly expanding money supply. Ask any economist of any stripe or experience you are asking for hyperinflation.

    Bob and co get an F for economic mangement. They are reaping what they have sown

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