Time is running out for
Zimbabwe we need guns to remove Mugabe

Over the past three years, the State has built
up massive domestic debts – perhaps $4 billion in
Treasury Bills, another $1 billion taken illegally
from peoples accounts through the RTGS system
now simply reflected as an “overdraft” at the
Reserve Bank and now perhaps $800 million in
export proceeds taken from inflows and replaced
with electronic transfers of funds called US
dollars but without any backing.
President Robert Mugabe
As a result perhaps, half of what is in our bank
accounts in the form of US dollars, does not
exist and the pressure on local Banks to pay out
depositors in real convertible US dollars in cash
is becoming more and more difficult.
Last week saw many Banks open in the morning
and then closing their doors as they simply ran
out of money. ATM outlets were left empty.
Foreign visitors, used to being able to do their
payments with credit cards anywhere in the
world, found it nearly impossible to get their
cards accepted and were unable to pay bills or
get cash.
People in the Diaspora are finding it very
difficult to get cash to their families. The Banks
are saying, do not send us money – we simply
cannot pay it out here. This is affecting nearly
every Zimbabwean family. People are trying to
empty their bank accounts and are holding
money in cash or externally, this is further
exacerbating the Bank crisis. Treasury Bills are
not being settled and are now selling on the local
market at a discount of up to 40 per cent.
In the wider economy the situation is just as
bad. Sales have slumped and cash is short. All
firms are building up balances of this “virtual
money” and are unable to import anything
because they cannot make external payments.
Shortages are emerging throughout the economy
and fuel traders say they are now not getting
enough fuel to meet demand. The imposition of
controls on imports of “non essentials” has had
no material impact but has opened the doors to
massive corruption in import permits and the
allocation of the limited amount of foreign
exchange available to the Reserve Bank through
its expropriation of foreign receipts by
exporters.
The situation in the State is no better – they
are paying farmers for deliveries in virtual
money, paying civil servants with the same sort
of money. To keep the army quiet they are paid
in real dollars in cash at their barracks. The
rest have to queue, sometimes for days, to get
anything to meet their needs. Hospitals are
receiving virtually nothing apart from salaries
and are closing down slowly. Ministries, almost
without exception are receiving only a tiny
allocation of funds apart from having their
staff salaries paid.
A similar situation exists in local government –
local authorities cannot pay staff, cannot buy
essential needs for treating water and
processing waste. Road works are halted and the
infrastructure is deteriorating with little or no
maintenance in any field. All services are
affected.
All of this is putting huge pressure on the
State. People are simply fed up with non
performance and corruption – the constant
Police road blocks at which “fines” are extorted
for every imaginable misdemeanor. The
arrogance of the Police and many Civil Servants
trying to deal with clients whose needs they
cannot meet.
The physical evidence of this tension can be seen
almost every day – running battles with people
on the streets of our towns and cities, tear gas
and baton charges. The rising tide of political
violence by everyone – Police perhaps the worse,
but also Zanu PF thugs, youth militias and the
CIO/Military Intelligence.
The hospitals are full to overflowing – recently a
relative of mine had to be moved from one
hospital to another because they were full and
even then he found himself and one other patient
in a store room for cleaning materials and
equipment.
At any one point in time we have hundreds of
activists in Prison and prisoners are not being
fed – perhaps one meal a day without salt or any
form of animal protein or even some vegetable
oil. We have to raise funds and get volunteers to
feed our own people while they wait for Court
hearings. A student protesting the lack of jobs
at a graduation is arrested and detained.
Then finally there is the civil war going on
inside the Zanu PF Party itself. First it was
Joice Mujuru – Vice President for a decade,
suddenly removed from office and then
unceremoniously kicked out of the Party she had
served for 45 years.
She represented the majority of the rank and
file in the Party and when she left and formed
her own Party – she took perhaps the majority
of the ordinary members in the Party. No sooner
had she gone, but the President’s wife took over
the Women’s League and began to organise her
own faction. She gathered the younger leaders
around her and the G40 emerged.
The older generation of leaders in the Party
found themselves divided into those who
supported a transition of power to Emmerson
Mnangagwa and those who remained around
Mugabe like a presidential guard. Gradually the
G40 have taken control of what is left of Zanu
PF and they are isolating the Mnangagwa
faction at the same time.
The Mnangagwa group, controls nearly all the
levers of hard power in the State and are using
this power to curb G40 activity and trying to
maintain their position as the most likely Group
to succeed Mr. Mugabe.
All factions have Youth Militia – paid and ready
to do their masters will and they also have
control over armed forces. The attack at the
weekend on a former War Veteran and Army
General in the Mashonaland Central Province
where he was almost left for dead with savage
injuries; ratcheted up the tensions. The War
Veterans have sworn retaliation, Joice Mujuru,
who claimed the General, was a supporter, sent
in her own Militia and beat up anyone they could
find connected to the G40 whom they blamed for
the attack.
The G40 is being blamed for street violence and
attacks on anti Government elements on the
streets of Harare last week. What was
interesting in that respect was the protection
and lack of intervention by the Police suggesting
that the Police may have shifted allegiance to
the G40. With the Army maintaining neutrality
or allegiance to their Commanders and therefore,
Mnangagwa and his colleagues, this is a new and
dangerous development.
It is only a matter of time before we see our
first casualties from armed conflict and that will
change the whole character of the current crisis
and conflict in Zimbabwe.
The main point I want to make here is that we
are running out of time. What we need urgently
is the start of a formal, constitutional
transition of power and control from Mr. Mugabe
to Emmerson Mnangagwa. If this does not
happen soon our national situation could quickly
spiral out of control and plunge the country into
a chaotic and violent transition, the outcome of
which is any ones guess.
The retirement of Mr. Mugabe would instantly
change the economic and political situation in
Zimbabwe. It would start the process of
restoring confidence and initiate a managed,
orderly transition to a free and fair election as
soon as possible. The establishment of a
democratic government would open the doors to
economic recovery and growth and return us to
political stability. But time is not on our side.