Inside Zimbabwe
26 March 2007



My day begins with a 30 minute walk to a place where I wait for a work colleague to pick me up.

Sometimes I have to walk further because we change the pick up spot every week. If I stay in one place too long, other people in the area soon learn that I have a lift organised and start waiting with

My work colleague doesn't mind an extra one or two squeezing in, but objects to five or six trying to sit on laps to fit in the car.

I am extremely lucky to have a lift. Other work colleagues who rely on the ETs (Emergency Taxis - mini-bus cabs) are in a terrible situation. The country's annual 1,800% inflation has forced the ET fares from $3,000 to $5,000 overnight (£6-8)- and that is just one way.

ETs divide their routes into sectors so the costs can sometimes be double that if you have to catch two ETs to get home.

An average commercial worker clears around $30,000 a week (£60). So if a person is spending $10,000 a day on ETs their transport bill comes to nearly twice the amount they earn in a week. What about food, school, fees, and rent?

Last week the employees of a major department store refused to go to work because their earnings didn't cover their transport. The government's solution at the beginning of this month was to force employers to give their employees an extra $60 000 (£120)on top of their wages as a transport allowance.

But before the month has even ended, inflation has made the figure nonsensical. This is why we see so many people walking these days.

Walking 15km to work is bad enough, but worse when you have to factor in Mugabe's thugs trying to enforce an illegal curfew by intimidating and beating up civilians out on the streets at night.

One of my friends described how his walk home is taking him twice as long as it should because
he is choosing back roads to avoid the patrolling thugs. He says he's feeling exhausted all the time now because he can't afford to eat three meals a day anymore, and all the walking is sapping his energy.

People are talking about having to make a choice; most of them are thinking about whether it is even worth working any more.

So I am incredibly lucky to have a colleague who gives lifts to us. In return, we share the cost of his fuel. The price of fuel goes up almost daily: it was $8 000 a week ago (£15)and today it is $18 000 (£35)in most garages. 

We also help him by taking it in turns to sit in his car when he needs to queue for fuel (a person can queue for days to get hardly any fuel). But the impact of inflation tells me that it won't be long before the whole country is walking a very long tiring walk to work every day - the whole country
with the exception of the Zanu PF elite.

Hope, a Sokwanele activist
Blogging for Sokwanele at 'This is Zimbabwe' :

Written by Eyewitness, 26 March 2007


Shumba you cant see past your nose if you believe he is not a monster. Starving his own people getting them beat up and making vote for him or get beat down . If this isn't a monster what is. I am from Africa and this is not a way to treat people . And in this case the end does not justify the means.
The UN and Prime Minister say it must be delt from within but look at what happens when they try, the get beaten senseless and arrested. Something does need to be done as while he sits upon his throne his people are dying. And everyone seems to be passing the buck when asked to help.

I am a 13 year old. Last year my family had to move out of Zimbabwe because my Father was beaten by Zanu PF. My mother and sisters were threatened, that they would all die if my father supported the MDC anymore. I wish Mugabe would die so we can return to Zimbabwe, where my father still stays.

People, the majority of Zimbabweans, of course including the police, soldiers and CIO, still support Mugabe, otherwise the outcry would have been heard. It is propaganda that he is oppressing Zimbabwe. People are hungry yes, because we are a land-locked country, yet now isolated by sanctions. For your information, Zimbabwe is and was not built on aid, we paid and continue to do so for everything we consume. The world's super-powers know if what Mugabe did succeeds with merit, it will be a continental crisis, threatening their fattening interests. Just like all Independence wars throughout Africa, it will happen. Even during slave trade, shallow thinking people sold out and saluted the occupiers. Reflect to Iraq, even that was the case in Vietnam. Let he who believe, take what he wishes but to a man has God given land as his form of inheritance, not to be controlled by foreign superpowers.

15 British citizens are legitimately arrested in Iran, not even secretely. What happens, Britain threatens, "We will impose further sanctions on Iran........ and so on.." Somebody please tell me when Britain says we, who does it imply and who are they speaking on behalf of. No doubt they and America dictated sanctions on Harare as they basically do, yet they bark Democracy and human rights. Why does it matter on a British national yet they impose lethal sanctions on other poor people who they shed not even a drop of sympanthy tears as they suffer. If they dont like Mugabe, deal with him personally, not directly or indirectly punishing the people because Mugabe is leader. The may be weilding the rod today,we all know, one day tables will turn. Shame on Africans who have sold out to indirect crocodile tears of solidarity in propaganda media. I do not deny there is deadly strife in Zimbabwe, how not when the whole of it has been sabotaged and isolated. Think People, THINK!!!!!!

It's not about Mugabe starving his people it's about racism.
I it not strange that sanctions works on black government, when it could not work for the previous white government.
The only way the British can to apologize for slavery is to lift the sanctions and stop starving our people.
Tell me would any one spend their time fighting to free their country and hand it back.
I do understand that he was wrong when he made the comment about animals.
I had two male rabbits in one hutch so I can say he is wrong.
how ever this is not about sexual habits it"s about people starving, land and the right of Africans to rule themselves.
What are they going to replace him with a black Smith name (Tsvangirai) god forbid, what a joke.
No thanks

I call on ALL Zimbabweans overseas to place a phone call to the relevent functionaries making it clear that we want our right to participate in Next Year's election to be respected.

All I ask is that each person overseas who wishes to vote next year place ONLY one phone call to the Ministry or Minister of their choice, there are more than 2 Million Documented Zimbabweans outside the country, if only 10% of these people took part in this campaign that would be enough phone calls to keep the minister busy until next year, he CANNOT ignore ALL of ALL of the time, at some stage that message will drive home.

Our problem as Zimbabweans oversees is that we underestimate our ability to do something about the situation back home.

Everyone must visit www.sokwanele.com
they are the only ones saying the truth.

My cousin was in a train on Friday that was going to Bulawayo. A petrol bomb was thrown at it and people were injured and some went to hospital. Mugabe's thugs claimed that the attack was the MDC but the MDC do not want to hurt Zimbabweans. We know they will not attack their own people. Only Mugabe and Zanu PF encourages violence. All the MDC wants is CHANGE. The people want to end Mugabe's 27 years of dictatorship. We all know the petrol bomb was the work of the CIO because now they can use REAL bullets against the Zimbabwean people. Now they will start killing us in the thousands. Just like they did in Matabeleland. PLEASE WILL SOMEONE OUT THERE HELP US!!!!!!!!!!! No-one is listening.

Elections in Zimbabwe in 1980 were never free and fair. My father was a serving officer, high up in the army at the time. He says countless reports of problems were given every day to Lord Soames who was supposed to be overseeing these wonderful 'democratic' elections. Sadly, Lord Soames couldn't have been less interested. He just wanted the problem off his hands so shrugged and took another sip of Gin. If that is how things started off, no wonder there are problems now. Why do we expect the West to take an active interest when they were part of the problem to start with. I loved Zimbabwe - indeed, my husband and I set up home there and had no intention of ever leaving. Now we have no intention of returning to what was once 'the breadbasket of Africa.' What does this government here say to this?

I am 13 years old, my family had to leave Zimbabwe last year because my father was beaten for belonging to the MDC. After that they came to our house to tell my mother and my sisters that we would all die if my father supported Morgan anymore. Mugabe is a insane murderer and I wish he would die so me and my family can go home where my father still stays.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read these posts and leave your comments. I thought yesterday that I should try and reply to everyone's views, but with 50 comments that won't be possible. So here are my small thoughts:

1/ On the question of South African 'quiet diplomacy' - I agree with what a lot of the frustrations expressed here and I don't fully understand why either. The reason that makes the most sense to me is that Thabo Mbeki and the ANC are frightened by a powerful movement in a neighbouring country that grew out of a trade union movement. I think that Thabo Mbeki doesn't want COSATU to get any ideas. But I might be wrong. At the end of the day, I think 'quiet diplomacy' when thousands are dying is shocking and shameful.

2/ On the issue of what can South Africa do - South Africa has a lot of economic power in the region and a lot of influence among other regional countries. I watched a documentary many years ago which told me that it was South Africa's withdrawl of support from Ian Smith that was the final nail in Rhodesia's coffin. South Africa switched off power to Zimbabwe, that would put Mugabe in a difficult position. If South Africa used their influence to argue that smart sanctions should be put against the worst members of our government then that would go a long way to making some of them think twice about what they are doing. The one thing South Africa could have done was to be honest observers on the elections in our country. They declared them free and fair and that was a lie. There are many things South Africa could try and do that do not involve the use of the military or violence, but we see very little of anything from South Africa.

3/ To Shumba and Sello - all I would ask you is this: Do you think Zimbabweans should accept starvation, low life expectancy, unaffordable school fees, a health service which doesn't even supply painkillers anymore, 80% unemployment, etc and not ask any questions? Don't you think we have a right to demand a better standard of living? All we want is the right to change our government through free and fair elections and no violence. That's all we want. And the only reason we want to change our government in the first place is because Zanu PF fail to deliver on every promise they make. They have no solutions. It is time for someone else to try and solve our problems. This is not a western plot, it is called democracy. And our fight for democracy is literally a fight for survival. Please, my friends, go to our blog and look at the pictures there. The blood and injuries you see there was not done by white westerners, it was by the hands of our own black fellow Zimbabweans working for Robert Mugabe.

4/ On the issue of oil in Zimbabwe - I don't know but I'm not sure that oil would bring outside help to Zimbabwe. I suspect that if we had oil, Mugabe would have used it a long time ago to make deals with other corrupt and evil governments in exchange for spy equipment or guns or something he could use to control the opposition and prop up his regime. My feeling is if we had oil then a lot of countries would have even more of a reason to help him stay in power because he is not a man who uses our country's wealth for the betterment of us the people. I think that a big reason why the west will not speak out louder is because they are frightened to be called imperialists/colonisers etc by African nations. It's hard living in Zimbabwe and knowing that the perception of being called a coloniser means more than the reality that thousands and thousands are suffering.

5/ Finally, in response to the view that the solution lies with Zimbabweans - this is true. I do not think that there will be change in Zimbabwe unless Zimbabweans demand it and want it and treasure it. But please do not think that the lack of progress is because we are not trying. The struggle for change is much much harder in a country where you cannot spread your message freely, you cannot meet together to discuss politics, you cannot have rallies, and where the region turns a blind eye to the atrocities. There is a lot of courage in Zimbabwe, and Mugabe will never ever in the rest of his life have another night here he feels 100% in control. He has gone to far, and we are very committed to bringing about a better future. I truely believe that Zimbabweans are waiting for an opportunity to stand up and shout out and take back our country and our lives. And when that chance comes we will take it. I do think that the very least the international community - especially the regional countries - can do is be very firm and strong about the value of basic human rights principles. The people who violate them must be told in no uncertain terms that they will one day be held accountable for what they do. At the moment, they are getting away with murder and they seem to have no fear that they may one day have to stand in a court of law an face justice. The international community, if they stand together, can send that message home to them and maybe make them think harder about what they are doing. Violating human rights is not a 'Zimbabwean' problem to be solved by Zimbabweans alone - I feel that human rights are the things that bind us all together as human beings in the world. And countries and governments must honour those principles an stand by them if they are to mean anything.

If this was a fair fight, we would have had a new government years ago. But Mugabe fights dirty and nasty. He is, however, backing himself into a corner because he now has too many battles on his hands and we the people are waiting. The economy is one fight he cannot win unless he makes some major changes, and we are watching. We will have our chance and we will take it - but the international community must be ready to do and say the right things.

These are all just my opinions. Thank you for reading my posts and please keep following the Zimbabwean story and keeping informed.

Andy says Mugabe has support from SA because he is persecuting white farmers. That may have been how it started, but it has long moved on to persecuting anyone who opposes him, black or white.
There are those who support him, his Ministers, Police & the Army, because they are looked after and get paid etc. If they were starving like the majoirity of his people,they would soon turn on him -corruption & nepotism works.
He mayhave been voted in in a democratic election 24 years ago, but in the majority of democraciestheere would have been more than 1 change of Government by now. He has stayed there by fraululent elections & intimidation, besides not giving everyone who wished to the time to vote - polling stations closing before the queues have managed to get in - so saying he has been voted in by the people is now a total myth.
Much of the trouble in Iraq is because,the Sunnis were in power for so long under Saddam, they are in the minority, so it is mainly Shi'ites who are in Govt now and no-one wants to relinquish power and this is the same in Zimbabwe - Mugabe & co are comfortable where they are & have no wish to be relegated to the opposition.

To Shumba and Sello - it is obvious that you are nothing more than CIO plants or part of Mugabe's Fat Cat elite, spreading propoganda and blaming everything on the "whites". Either that, or you are uneducated nazi types who are happy for innocent children to be left to die from starvation and poverty and oppression. People like you bring shame on real Zimbabwean black men. Men like me who want to protect their families from murderers like Mugabe. Men like me who are prepared to fight for freedom at any cost. Men like me who are proud to belong to the once-great nation of Zimbabwe. Men like me who know right from wrong. The "imperialist" race card is a cheap one and you embarrass yourselves and your family.

mugabe is a hypocrite and a liar he likes the power he's got but it will not last for ever,if sally mugabe was alive she would never agree with what he is doing sally could rein him in but this new wife is young and foolish.As for England being at fault for all the trouble what a laugh he's a joke,if he was a proper man he would say sorry to all his people and make good what he has done he should be an outcast as nobody wants him.

I'm ex S.A., been in and around Europe for last 10 years now, I saw the writing on the wall for SA after seeing the terrible decline in Zim hence I left, surely now the situation in Zim is so bad that the people will actually do something about it, I can't really see any other country getting involved, especially not S.A., the S.A. government is probably watching the situation very closely, seeing how other countries react, and of course, taking a lot of notes for "future reference and use". I sympathise with the people of Zimbabwe very much, it's always the normal down to earth ones who get stuffed by the politicians and their cronies, good luck to the real people of Zim, and down with Mugabe and his gang of thugs.

People in power need to wake up and realize that Robert Mugabe is responsible for human atrosities on the same level as Saddam Hussein. He alone was responsible for the massacre of more than 30 000 Ndebele people in the early 1980s. Why do America and Britain make such a big fuss over the Iraq crisis? More people are being murdered in Africa every day! The only reason I can think is money money money. And South Africa with it's quiet diplomacy worries me. Does the ANC agree with and maybe plan to follow in the same land reform footsteps of Zimbabwe?

What exactly do you want Mr Mbeki and the rest of South Africa to do? I really can't see why this should be our problem at all. Fair enough we are their neighbours but when you see someone getting attacted do you call your neighbours or the police? In this case Britian and maybe America are the police although I'm not so sure if they even know where Zimbabwe is. We are talking about Africa here people! While you are blaming South Africa to do something think of the fact that South Africa might be in the same boat someday.

Unless off course we can invade Zimbabwe and just take it for ourselves?

Since the beginning of Mugabe taking over the farms and killing the farmers of it's country, there has been a great decline in the economy. With the lack of agriculture which was the country's greatest income of foreign currency for exporting into other Southern African countries (such as South Africa, Botswana, etc), with fix rates of ludacrisly low amounts instead of the floating original rates. In short the government are stealing money.

i am a zimbo and feel mugabe is now had enough!!!!! how can he beat up people for holding a prayer meeting....

this madman needs to be killed!!!!!!1

Hang him!!! Hang him. He is a murderer. Nothing but a murderer. How long will Blair, Bush and ALL of South africa let these people suffer. Mugabe calls himself a Christian?? His sons attended a christian school. Hang him. Someone put a price on his head.

Don't get me wrong...I am truly disgusted with how the people are suffering in my former home country, and I wish the situation were different, but Mike Randall of Worcester is absolutely right: the Zimbabweans voted Mugabe into power more than 25 years ago, so they only have themselves to blame. Admittedly Britain are not an innocent party in all of this either. Sadly I think Zimbabwe was doomed from the start (which is why so many people left while they had the chance), because of the communist backgrounds of ZANU & ZAPU. What exactly the rest of the world is supposed to do about it... who knows? I hope & pray that the country can one day recover from this catastrophe.

zimbabwe was my paradise 12 years ago when i used to go to this country for holiday,it was such a wonderful country with milk and honey.It was in the year 2003 when i learnt that things are not alright,i experienced a very terrible problem when i went to south Africa by air to get my car from the port to Malawi via Zimbabwe,i was so suprised to see that i had stay in the country for some days to get petrol,what a shame a country used to be a great nation,because of one man the whole country is in tumoile.b

MY plea to great peaple of Zimbabwe is use the churches to bring down this dictator , we dont have to fight, Ama sure God will intervene.A god lesson is what happened in Malwi catholic bishops released a pastral letter calling for change, peaple listened and revolted eventually Kamuzu was brought down to his knees.we all know how dangerous Kamuzu banda was.

There is oil (where there is coal, there has to be oil somewhere near by right?), diamonds, platinum and possibly uranium. Isn't that enough, Dubya?

Stop blaming SOuth Africa - what on earth are we supposed to do? Act like America and invade? I think not. Ultimately the Zimbabweans must get off their butts and take control of their country. Instead they sit around passivley waiting for someone else to take the initiative. It is their country and they must change the govt, no one else! Yes, the elections have been unfair, but technically Mad Bob is elected so any foreigh intervention will be against international law. The people themselves are the only ones who have the right to topple the regime. If the population of eastern europe could overthrow a superpower in the eighties, and the masses could make a differnce in SA, both against far superiorly armed govt forces, then there is no excuse for the Zimbabweans to sit around waiting for "Bwana" to come and solve their problems.
Show a bit of gumption.

I have visited beautiful Zimbabwe back in 1993: Kariba, Mutare and Harare. Already back then, when travelling, we had to stop to police check points every 10 km. Everyoine was nice and police never harassed us. Its a pity to read the suffering that same people are experiencing now. Its no wonder that South AFrica is doing nothing if one thinks that ANC, MK, ZAPU, ZANU and all other "movements" were all connected back in 1970s and 80s and all suported eachother. Is like asking Mbeki and Zambia and all the others to condemn a fellow "comrade", thus recognizing their responsability in the mess Zimbabwe is in. Honestly I doubt Zimbabweans can pull out of it on their own. Unfortunately, considering Mugabe's age, the result might be that one would need to wait until nature does its course and he is no longer around. Probably only this can prevent a blood bath by a tyrant and free the lovely Zimbabwean people. My message to them is: "take courage, hang on and soon a new dawn will come". Unfortunately the hipocrat West will do nothing to help. God bless you all

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