Zimbabwe sadly makes it to the top of the Annual Misery Index, says leading USA economist
Homeless, hopeless and hungry – a woman in Zimbabwe close to its border with Mozambique during one of the many drought years that has plagued Zimbabwe in recent decades (Picture: Trevor Grundy)
GUEST WRITER OF THE MONTH: RUTH WEISS
Guest writer Ruth Weiss speaking at a seminar in Harare, Zimbabwe (Picture: Trevor Grundy)
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe made it easily to the top of the recently published 2022 Annual Misery Index of the US economist Prof. Steve Hanke. It became the most miserable country of 157 listed, due to “bad” economic reasons – the year-end unemployment, inflation, and bank-lending rates. Inflation was the main contributor in the case of Zimbabwe.
As if economics aren’t bad enough, Parliament finally passed a law on June 1, that had been named “the Patriot Bill” – the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill (Criminal Code). One clause criminalises “wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe.”
The Bill had been fought over bitterly, with the opposition strongly opposing it. Criticism was again voiced at the Second reading, with the opposition stating that the Bill perpetuated violence of freedom of expression and impacted media freedoms. The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said laws should return the power to the people, not limit it. No law should be passed that would name a Zimbabwean to be against the country, if he complained of resources mismanagement. The CCC spokesman described the passing of the Bill as a dark day for democracy.
Moreover, the country’s forthcoming August elections have caused turmoil and dissatisfaction, with opposition criticism directed at the Electoral Commission’s handling of new voter registration and confusion of the voters’ roll, with missing names and others moved to different constituencies. At the same time voters apathy has been evident, with the sense that election promises change little.
Top quality maize in Zimbabwe- essential for healthy minds in healthy bodies (picture: Trevor Grundy)
The determination of the ruling Zanu-Pf Party of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to remain in power and retain its privilege and power at all cost has been evident. The main opposition CCC’s rallies have often been denied and supporters hassled and injured, its access to rural areas stopped, while Zanu-PF has campaigned freely.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa is popular, but criticised for not doing enough to convince the people that he is “ the best choice”. Two smaller parties, Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) led by Jacob Ngarivhume and Robert Chapman’s Democratic Union of Zimbabwe, that hopes to appeal to “the silent majority” and have made some headway, may split the opposition vote to Zanu-PF’s advantage.
The CCC spoke of a “rough ride”, with analysts fearing violence ahead.