Good folks tell us that you should never take pleasure in a person’s death. But was Robert Mugabe a person? Historical opinion of the man is that he was a Marxist tyrant who ruled with an iron fist and forced everyone to live in destitution and misery while he lived like a king. When he finally relinquished power after 30 years, Zimbabweans were promised that things would start getting better. That did not happen. When Mugabe died in 2019, citizens were told that now everything would begin improving. It has been nearly a year since the brutish dictator perished, and has the situation on the ground gotten better? Or has it been more of the same?
The World’s Poorest Billionaires
Have you ever wanted to see the world’s poorest billionaires? Well, look no further than Zimbabwe, where it takes wheelbarrows of cash to purchase a loaf of bread or a gallon of gasoline. That is if there is any bread or gasoline to be found.
Harare, the capital, continues to suffer from a severe inflation problem. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the monthly inflation rate surged nearly 32%, bringing the annualized figure to just below 740%. The only other country with higher inflation is Venezuela. This is what hyperinflation looks like to anyone who was not around for the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.
In 2015, the government ditched the Zimbabwe dollar after experiencing an annual rate of price growth of 500,000,000,000%. For three years, it utilized a multiple currency system comprised of the U.S. dollar, the pound sterling, the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, and a few others. In 2018, Zimbabwe reintroduced a local currency, and it is already imploding thanks to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya and his incompetence.
The currency is depreciating so much that bankers, doctors, and nurses are demanding to be paid in U.S. dollars.
But it is not just currency troubles Zimbabwe is enduring. The nation is facing food, water, and fuel shortages, a collapsing economy in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, and high unemployment. The International Monetary Fund anticipates the gross domestic product (GDP) to crash 10%, and more than one-quarter of employment could be wiped out this year.
The southern African nation is now getting prepared for a drought. It will also tighten its lockdown restrictions, suspend economic reopenings due to a recent spike in COVID-19 infections, and keep the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange closed. The country has delayed reopening of schools and will only partly resume inter-city public transit. Over the last week, hundreds of new confirmed cases were reported, bringing the total to more than 1,300.
Put simply, Zimbabwe is in a mess. The government will ostensibly not ditch socialism, and it will instead find scapegoats to lay the blame for yet another financial crisis. A few of its chief targets have been mobile-money platforms, the insurance industry, and the stock exchange. The government believes they have participated in large-scale money-laundering schemes that have undermined the currency.
Zimbabwe Becomes Emmerson Mnangagwa Nation
Is Zimbabwe getting ready for a political crisis? Typically, whenever there is an economic calamity, and everyday goods are scarce, civil upheaval follows. If there will be protests in the streets, President Emmerson Mnangagwa seems unfazed by the speculation as he is too busy naming those same streets after himself. He, also, was depicted as a reformer. So far, he has been authoritarian.
It seems more likely that Zimbabwe will have another Robert Mugabe situation. Mnangagwa could be a multi-decade leader who will be removed from the presidency only by grave illness or death. British-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) anticipates that Mnangagwa and his Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) will likely win the next presidential and legislative elections in 2023. The EIU believes economic conditions will improve beginning in 2022, from more considerable energy and agriculture output levels to increased foreign reserves positions.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has been trying to form a government for years, does not view the incumbents as legitimate. MDC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere recently issued a statement:
“We maintain that Mr. Mnangagwa is illegitimate, and the total collapse of the economy under his imposed tenure is evidence of this. However, given the grave humanitarian stalemate Zimbabwe finds itself in, it would be imprudent for us to let his presence quash the voice of the people at this critical time. The centre is failing to hold.”
What would it take for Zimbabwe to achieve even a modicum of prosperity?
The Eternal Struggle of Zimbabwe
Leftists inform us that black people cannot be racist, redefining the term as being about holding power. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF henchmen have held on to power since Ronald Reagan was president. The results? The government, which descended from liberation to tyranny, instituted horrific policies. Since Mugabe was a self-proclaimed Marxist with an admiration for Adolf Hitler, it was no surprise when this black supremacist implemented a wide array of socialist measures. Zimbabwe and the rest of the world are better off without Mugabe, but three years of Mnangagwa are proving that the country has already reached its event horizon, and there is no going back. Unfortunately, there is no place for Zimbabwe to go back to since it has had a history of bloodshed and poverty since its independence.
Read more from Andrew Moran.