Teachers have threatened to stay away when state schools reopen on Monday. They say they can’t afford to return to work and want to be paid in US dollars because of the collapse in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar (see: https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/teachers-too-poor-to-return-to-work-as-zimbabwe-schools-reopen-20220204 and https://www.newzimbabwe.com/no-us-dollars-no-work-teachers-tell-government/).
The currency weakened by 7.4% last month after losing a third of its value last year. ‘The Zimbabwe dollar will be in the graveyard by June’, predicted Gift Mugano, executive director at Africa Economic Development Strategies, a Harare-based consultancy.
At a recent seminar in Harare, the businessman Nigel Chanakira asked one hundred chief executive officers if they were willing to use the local currency. Only one raised his hand (see: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/africa/zimbabwe-dollars-second-death-seen-as-only-a-matter-of-time-2/).
Whether by coincidence or prescience, the Leeds City Museum in the UK is featuring Mugabe’s $100 trillion dollar note in a new exhibition focusing on the evolution of money over the past century. The note was released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s world record setting hyperinflation which eventually reached 89.7 sextillion % before the coalition government dumped the local currency in favour of the US dollar (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/uk-museum-to-showcase-100-trillion-zimbabwe-dollar-note-at-new-exhibition/),
That move was engineered by Tendai Biti, the coalition’s finance minister and now the Vice-President of Chamisa’s new Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC). Biti and others have condemned a Zanu PF proposal to impose sanctions on opposition parties and civil society organisations for criticising the government.
‘Zanu PF is not the sheriff of this country; they can’t take the law into their own hands. We will defend ourselves as we have always defended ourselves,’ Biti said. ‘This thing about sanctions is ridiculous, we know the sanctions in Zimbabwe and that is Zanu PF. We know those who stole our diamonds, those who steal our United States dollars at the auction floor and those who are stealing millions of dollars through corrupt deals, so we will not be fooled or intimidated by anyone.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/were-unfazed-by-sanctions-threats/.)
The dire state of the economy and the totalitarian ravings of Zanu PF are not the only threat to Zimbabweans. There is also the pressure on Zimbabweans in South Africa to leave the country, accused of taking the jobs of locals. In the latest setback, the South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has withdrawn the waiver allowing Zimbabwean students to apply for permanent residence permits. In all, there are estimated to be about 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/more-woes-for-sa-based-zimbabweans/).
- The Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Martin Rushwaya narrowly escaped spending a night in jail for contempt of court. He was giving evidence in a corruption case involving former cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira, who is accused of abusing her powers. Rushwaya refused to give an answer to one question and the magistrate threatened ‘I will detain you in custody and see you tomorrow when you have sobered up’. Rushwaya claimed that Mupfumira had no written down duties and responsibilities so did not violate any specific duty! (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/top-ed-aide-risks-overnight-detention-in-graft-trial/.)
- Because of concerns about the Covid Omicron variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators suspended the physical meetings at the Embassy. We will review this when the situation improves. In the meantime we will continue to run the Virtual Vigil as we did during lockdown. The Virtual Vigil shows the powers-that-be that we are still campaigning against their iniquitous behaviour and enables our activists to continue our protest and allows us to support them individually. Activists who wish to participate virtually should pose in their Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia with a relevant poster and take a photo / selfie during normal Vigil hours (Saturdays between 2 and 5 pm). The photos will be labelled with your name and uploaded onto the Vigil website, the Vigil’s Flickr photo page and Facebook. You will also be listed on the Vigil diary as having participated in that day’s virtual Vigil. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720296466884 for today’s photos. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry and Nolanga Ndlovu who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
Events and Notices:
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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