Home Letter From Zimbabwe When crisis hits home

When crisis hits home

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When crisis hits home
CHICKENLESS: KFC closes shop

The worsening economic crisis in Zimbabwe really hit us hard this week.

When somebody Tweeted over the weekend that he had failed to get high blood pressure medication for his mother, I read the tweet in passing and never gave it much thought.

Little did I know that a few hours later I would face the same dilemma that would leave me in utter despair.

My husband is diabetic and takes medication daily to control his sugar levels.

We buy his medication monthly as it is not advisable to buy the tablets in bulk but at the time of writing this column, we had failed to get the tablets because the price had risen almost tenfold in bond notes or else was only available in the elusive US dollar.

The monthly cost of his tablets has been around $45 (P450) but on Tuesday it had shot up to $300 bond notes in some pharmacies while in one major pharmacy in Bulawayo they were selling the drugs in strictly US dollars and charging $90 (P900).

Like most businesses, the said pharmacy no longer takes bond notes, eco-cash (mobile money) or accepts swiping.

We were left with no choice but to put my husband’s health in jeopardy while desperately trying to source the drugs from here in Botswana and South Africa because we surely were never prepared for this.

While prices have been on a free fall since last Monday when the Finance Minister announced the new monetary policy and officially declared that the bond was no longer equal to the US dollar, I never imagined we would personally be hit this hard, especially with regards to medication.

Yes, we have seen prices of commodities going up on a daily basis and filling stations running empty or with long winding queues but we never anticipated that drug prices would also shoot up.

And by the way, the bond, which used to be at par with the US dollar was trading at 1:3 as of Tuesday afternoon, meaning that US$100 was equivalent to $300.

However, as already mentioned, the surrogate currency has largely been rendered irrelevant.

The saddest part is, somehow I am not surprised; anything is possible in Zimbabwe!

When crisis hits home
SP-OIL-SPORT: Cooking oil strictly in US Dollar

We have been in similar if not worse situations before, with our leaders shamelessly telling us to remain strong and focused – baseless spiel that clueless President EmmersonMnanganga reiterated to the nation on Monday.

It’s easy for him to waffle and tell us to be resilient because all is good for him.

He doesn’t know the pain of seeing a loved one failing to take daily medication and putting their lives at risk because of the prevailing economic situation.

He doesn’t know the pain of working hard, saving up, only for those savings to be worth nothing because of poor monetary policies.

He doesn’t know the effects of prices changing daily if not twice a day because this means no more planning.

We really are in a fix and sadly there is no solution in sight, all we can to do is brace for darker days to come while praying for a miracle to happen even though, in out heart of hearts, we know it’s impossible.

10 COMMENTS

  1. “Zimbabwean bond notes are a form of banknote in circulation in Zimbabwe. Released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe the notes are stated to NOT be a currency in itself but rather legal tender near money pegged equally against the U.S. dollar. ”

    There is a possibility that these notes were created to cover the MIS-MANAGEMENT and FRAUDELENT DEALINGS OF THE ELITE of the country over the past 37+ years .
    There is a possibility that the bond notes were created for the ORDINARY PEOPLE white the CORRUPT ELITE used US$ as per the article of an investor who invested money in US$ and only saw the money being turned into useless BOND NOTES and decided not to invest.

    One must ask questions how those running the country / running the country paying for their medical bills outside the country , air travel, purchasing properties say in countries abroad and in the region – Those running the country/were running the country including that thieving old man should be investigated if a turnaround is to be expected.

    The same is with the Gupta Scenario in South Africa and other Corruption Cases these cases need to be brought to the forefront and even if in the Gupta case where they are denying any wrong they need to face the music and prove their innoncence. and comes back to the SADC region they are not encouraging countries in the region to deal with such cases of fraud, money laundering etc. There was a recent meeting in London on tackling Endangered wildlife species and one Conservationist is on record saying CORRUPTION needs to be tackled.”
    Corruption is a worldwide issue and some countries are making progress in dealilng with it.

  2. “Zimbabwean Bonds are a form of legal tender near money released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which attempts to resolve Zimbabwe’s lack of currency. Bonds are pegged against the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 fixed exchange rate and backed by the country’s reserve. Since abandoning the Zimbabwean dollar in 2009 after it went into HYPERINFLATION, the country began using a number of foreign currencies including the U.S. dollar, South African rand, British pound and Chinese yuan as a means of exchange.
    The inability to print these currencies led to a shortage of money with banks issuing limits on withdrawals. “

  3. “Zimbabwean bond notes are a form of banknote in circulation in Zimbabwe. Released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe the notes are stated TO NOT BE A CURRENCY IN ITSELF but rather legal tender NEAR money pegged equally against the U.S. dollar. In 2014 prior to the release of bond notes a series of bond coins entered circulation.”

  4. In this recent article one of the sons of the thieving old man is trying to interfere with the case with the South African Model by trying to get to get her to drop the charges agains his mother who is renowned around the world for beating up people which included a photographer when he caught her redhanded doing one of her dirty deals in the far east how absurd this is to intfere with an ongoing case , the son is probably trying to bribe the model??? No charge is brought against serving and former serving african leaders when found guilty of fraud, money laundering one main reason is the organisations that are supposed to deal with these sort of cases are not TOTALLY independent from the State

    “Mugabe’s Son Begs Gabriella Engels To Drop Charges Against Grace
    October 18, 2018
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    One of the sons of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has allegedly been pressurising Gabriella Engels, the Johannesburg model who filed assault charges against Grace Mugabe, to drop the charges against his mother.

    Civil rights group AfriForum represents Engels in the high profile case.

    AfriForum’s CEO Kallie Kriel told journalists in Pretoria: “We’ve had a complaint, we were contacted by Gabriella Engels informing us that one of Mrs Mugabe’s sons in South Africa contacted her, and tried to convince her not to go ahead with the case. We have informed the police, that they should look at this because it is interference with the judicial process and we believe that is very unfortunate.

    “That case, we believe will be going ahead [in courts].”

    In July, the High Court in Johannesburg declared the South African government’s decision to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity was unconstitutional and set it aside.

    Mugabe allegedly assaulted model Gabriella Engels at a hotel in August last year but has claimed that she acted in self-defence.

    On social media, Engels posted pictures of a gash on her forehead, allegedly sustained when Mugabe hit her with an electric extension cord.

    Mugabe was accompanied by about 10 bodyguards and hotel security guards and was looking for her sons, Robert Jnr, 25, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21.

    The attack allegedly took place at Sandton’s The Capital 20 West hotel.

    A waitress reportedly also suffered a miscarriage after she was pushed by Robert Mugabe jnr as he fled his mother who allegedly went on a violent attack at the Sandton hotel.

    At the time, Robert Mugabe was still president of Zimbabwe, and his wife was allowed to leave the country without being prosecuted.

    Afriforum and South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, challenged the government’s decision in court.

    In May, South Africa’s department of international relations and cooperation argued in court that it did not grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity, but rather recognised it was applicable in terms of international law.

    Judge Bashier Vally also ruled that the government department should pay the costs of the case.

    On Thursday, AfriForum said it has written to the South African Police Service, seeking an update on the investigations into the August 2017 incident.

    “We have written to the police to inquire how that investigation against Grace Mugabe is proceeding at the moment, and we await feedback from them. We still assist the Engels family,” said Kriel.

    – Citizen”

  5. Another issue is the accountability of those sending their children out of the country/ continent to be educated — how are they paying for this is it in US$ or Bond Notes ? and there is a possibility that the children are being used to carry foreign currency with them to enable them to deposit in other countries??? This loophole should have been sealed along time ago

  6. “By Leopold Munhende

    Harare — 48-year-old Garvey Edwards was shot twice point blank by a soldier; one of the many he had taken selfies with in November last year as the military helped topple long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe.

    The same soldiers he celebrated the coup with shot him dead after he questioned their actions along Simon Muzenda street in Harare on 1 August.

    He left behind a 13-year-old daughter, said tearful sister Elizabeth Edwards while testifying before the Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence.

    She was one of the many victims who could not hold back her tears as she recalled that fateful day in Harare when seven civilians were gunned down by the army as the opposition protested the election results.

    “A lady witness attended his (Garvey) wake and said that my brother was shot after he questioned the motive of one soldier who had just shot someone in the back; he turned around and asked the soldier ‘what are you doing?’ and the soldier shot my brother twice.

    “He celebrated with the rest of Zimbabwe last November, taking pictures with the rest of the country without knowing that within a year the same people he celebrated would kill him,” said the sister.

    Edwards also revealed that an initial post mortem had claimed that her brother had been stabbed before being corrected later on by an unnamed doctor.

    President Emmerson Mnangagwa set up the Kgalema Motlanthe-led Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August shootings after widespread local and international condemnation of the killings.

    The commission was also tasked with investigating the police response, circumstances which ‘necessitated’ military involvement and whether the degree of force used by members of the security sector was proportional to the ensuing melee.”

    One questions the professionalism of SADC how did they allow this happen ???? i.e how do they allow a coup to happen???

  7. ” Access to Health, Clean Water, Education and Food are the basics required by all why is this still happening

    Bulawayo Hospital Pharmacies To Shut Down In Ten Days Due Stock Out
    October 19, 2018
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    Correspondent|Health delivery institutions in Bulawayo continue to face shortages of essential drugs despite government prioritising the sector on forex allocation to ease the burden for patients.

    Government is prioritising the allocation of foreign currency to the pharmaceutical sector the latest being a $3.2 million package released yesterday (Wednesday), after last week’s $6.7million.

    This deliberate move has been aimed at ensuring patients do not suffer while at the time coming as a strategy that is imploring players to return all medical drugs to be sold in original prices.

    The Clinical Director for Mpilo Central Hospital Dr Solwayo Ngwenya told the ZBC News that his institution is faced with a critical shortage of essential drugs with just a 10 day supply left before they can run out.

    “We are in a difficult situation with essential drugs running out fast and at the moment in our stocks we have 10 day supply of essential drugs and this is not a good thing, The situation is worse in the maternity wing so we need urgent relief and we hope that the money allocated to the national pharmaceutical company will help in building up our stocks of drugs so it’s a crisis situation,” he said.

    The situation is said to be equally worrying at the United Bulawayo Hospital and other health facilities in the region.

    Mpilo and the UBH are referral hospitals serving patients from three provinces, Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo.”

  8. Shoddy construction work at a health facility is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE like any other construction work

    “Chinese built Mahusekwa hospital cracking up
    19th October 2018 News Headlines

    By Idah Mhetu

    THE Chinese-built Mahusekwa Hospital is cracking up barely five years after the US$6 million facility was opened to the public and touted as further evidence of the strong relations between Beijing and Harare.

    Also known as China-Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital, the facility was built under a Chinese aid project to help Zimbabwe provide quality health services in the countryside, where close to 70 percent of the population lives.

    It was intended to ease access to health care in the Mahusekwa area of Marondera district where villagers often had to travel 46km to Marondera Provincial Hospital.

    Construction and supply of medical equipment of Mahusekwa hospital took about two years to complete, and project was commissioned in early 2013, according to Ling Jinxiang, project manager of China’s Nantong Construction Group Co, Ltd.

    “When we first came here, the place was all bushes,” said Ling. “In a small town like this, the access to proper health care was not easy. No wonder our project is much welcomed here.”

    However, five years later buildings at the 129-bed capacity hospital are cracking up.”

  9. “By Leopold Munhende

    Struggling rail transporter, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is reportedly failing to deliver 179 wagons of wheat currently stuck at Mozambique’s Beira Port, a situation feared could force bakers to further raise bread prices due to flour shortages.

    The NRZ pledged to transport 50 wagons of wheat per day from 16 September this year but has only managed to bring in 58 in total, according to Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) general manager Lynette Veremu.

    GMAZ recently procured 30,000 metric tonnes of the cereal.

    In a letter sent to Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo recently, Veremu stressed the need for government to speedily transport the much needed product so as to ease current flour shortages.

    “The GMAZ procured 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat to ameliorate the current bread shortages; the wheat is scheduled to be shipped into the hinterland by rail as usual.

    “In order to immediately commence to stabilise the bread supply, we requested and NRZ committed to bring in at least 50 wagons a day into Harare.

    “Regrettably, only 58 wagons have arrived in Harare since 16 September 2018; we understand that currently 179 wagons are laden with the imported wheat and stuck in Beira whilst the bread supply here remains critical,” said Veremu.

    Zimbabwe needs about $12,5 million per month for wheat imports which translates to some 1,9 million loaves per day.

    NRZ public relations officer Arnold Mutema directed all questions to spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika who professed ignorance on developments within the organisation saying he had been in Bulawayo and did not know anything yet on the issue.

    “I am coming from Bulawayo and do not know anything. I have to first check with those who have been on the ground and get back to you because I do not have that information,” said Maravanyika.

    Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu last week warned of a decline in supply of bread if the imported wheat is not made available sooner rather than later.

    The situation has been followed by bread production declines from the monthly requirement of 38,000 metric tonnes to less than 28,000 metric tonnes.

    The central recently released $12,450,000 to Holbud Limited of the United Kingdom which is owed over $20 million for maize and fertiliser supplies dating back to 2016.

    Bread prices have risen in the informal sector from the price of $1.10 to $1.30.”

    How can a public relations officer claim he is ignorant (how did he get the position?) on what is happening and he is travelling and does not know anything” already tells the lack of professionalism and mismanagement -he knows something probably sweeping things under the carpet ????

  10. “The central recently released $12,450,000 to Holbud Limited of the United Kingdom which is owed over $20 million for maize and fertiliser supplies dating back to 2016.” why has it taken this long to pay a Supplier??? the lack of foreign exchange because the country has been badly mismanaged for a VERY LONG TIME and WAS ALLOWED TO MISMANAGE THE COUNTRY FOR A VERY LONG TIME