Zanu PF’s futile bid to scuttle President Tsvangirai rallies

President Tsvangirai

Zanu PF abused the State institutions of the police and army in a desperate bid to scuttle President Morgan Tsvangirai’s three-day tour in Mashonaland East over the weekend.

The ruling party went to great lengths to instill fear in the people particularly at Kotwa growth point in Mudzi and at Mutoko growth point where President Tsvangirai addressed rallies last Friday. At Kotwa, the army had earlier warned people not to attend the meeting while a food distribution function was organized near the venue of the rally to sway starving citizens from the MDC meetings. In any case, the food was brazenly being distributed in a partisan manner as Zanu PF party cards were a requirement at the food distribution function presided over by party functionaries.

At Mutoko, officers from the Central Intelligence Organization also intimidated people and put up a poster of Robert Mugabe at the venue of the meeting. The police said they would arrest anyone who removed the poster, hastily stuck up by intelligence officers just before President Tsvangirai’s scheduled meeting.

Despite this desperate bid to intimidate the people, the residents of Kotwa, Mutoko Hwedza and Chivhu where the President held his rallies were resolute that no amount of intimidation would work in 2018. At Kotwa and Mutoko, some residents listened to the MDC leader from shop verandas as they feared reprisals from Zanu PF officials if they chose to listen to Tsvangirai.

While the people of Mashonaland East remained resolute and unstinting in their support for change, it was clear that the fear factor is strong in the province. Zanu Pf as a party remains keen on harvesting from the fear they planted in the province in 2008.

Mashonaland East is the home province of Itai Dzamara and Cephas Magura, an MDC supporter brutally slain in Mudzi while President Tsvangirai was attending a SADC summit in 2012. Despite the overt fear implanted in the people and the intimidation by State security agents particularly in Mudzi and Mutoko, Zimbabweans in Mashonaland East said they will bury the ghost of fear by voting for change in 2018.

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Zimbabwe facing a cash crisis

Zimbabwe hit by a cash crisis

The MDC is deeply concerned with the debilitating cash crisis that is slowly but surely developing in the country.

The main topic of discussion among business people these days is the rapidly evolving cash crisis. The RTGS system of money transfers, which dominates the domestic and international payments system and handled $45 billion dollars of transfers in Zimbabwe last year, has suddenly slowed with the Banks curtailing transfers and delaying payments to suppliers and clients.

Clients attempting to secure cash for day to day needs are now confronted with reduced daily limits at ATM's and tellers in Banks. Some Banks are unable to supply US dollars in cash and instead offer the South African Rand. When they do so clients must pay for the cost of exchanging Rand for USD balances and then when they attempt to use the Rand in local markets, they find that they are offered goods at a significant premium to the USD prices.

On the street, money dealers are offering cash at a premium ranging up to 10 per cent and discounting Rand by a similar margin. All of these developments point to an emerging cash crisis which is likely to be worse in the next few weeks. The implications are very serious - clients will be fearful that their banks may be on the edge of failure - even if, from a technical point of view, they are sound financially. The business community is discovering that they cannot pay their suppliers even if they have ample funds in the Banks. If this continues, shortages of goods will start appearing and queues might develop for fuel.

The reasons are technical and are linked to a sharp decline in confidence in Zimbabwe and fears of an impending collapse. The reasons are linked to the deteriorating political situation and the almost complete failure of the Government to get to grips with the infighting in Zanu PF and rampant corruption in all State controlled spheres of activity.

With revenues to the State now below the monthly cost of employment, Government is desperately mopping up all sources of liquid cash in the economy to the detriment of all other stakeholders. It is rumored that the Ministry of Finance is using cash balances in the Reserve Bank's RTGS accounts to meet its own cash needs and that this is the main explanation for the current slowdown in the RTGS system.

However at its roots is simply a total absence of confidence and this can only be addressed by a change in government. The beleaguered and faction-ridden Zanu PF regime simply has no solutions to the myriad problems that the country is currently facing. Only a legitimate and democratically elected government will be in a position to extricate millions of Zimbabweans from the life penury and deprivation that they are presently experiencing.

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