Monday, April 27, 2009

Zimbabwe status report

A personal such, of course. But despite the obvious problems the Government of National Unity (GNU) is facing and also despite the equally obvious internal "tug of war" inside said GNU (evident by orders and contraorders, sometimes on the same day, ongoing farm invasions,unilateral decisions etc) there is a cautious feeling of optimism in the air.

The shops are almost back to normal (meaning how they were before all headaches started around 2000) and last time we fueled the cars we actually paid with cash! For most of you that is nothing - for us something that has not been possible for more years than I can recall.

And prices are for the third month in a row reported as falling! Yes, many many items are still more costly than they used to be and out of reach for most people but it is moving in the right direction at least.

Also small but nice improvements can be seen, at least in Harare. Traffic lights are being fixed, cleaning and emptying of rubbish here and there, flower sales back in Unity Square and such. As I said - SMALL signs but at least there is a feeling that SOMETHING is happening.

What is absurd at the moment are fees for various services such as phone, city council, electricity, water etc. This is because all govt. agencies are trying to play "catch up" and recover some capital after years of being more or less free. However, that is also slowly being corrected. What is left are things like school fees... I shudder to think what we will be asked to pay next term.

Noone thinks this is going to be an easy ride and there is a very real possibility of failure, no matter what politicians might say in public. One good thing though (strange for outsiders perhaps) is that the rot is now public and out in the open. The absolutely appalling state of the econonomy, the terrible conditions for most govt. departments and other agencies, the enormous needs of support, money and credit lines are now for all to see and not swept under the carpet of silence and weird "our friends in East, Iran and China will help us"-statements/policies.

So I give a careful "thumbs-up" so far. For the one interested in Zimbabwe's economy I found this interesting blog:

On a personal note: after years of having a rather flimsy A4-paper as Zimbabwean identification I have now managed to get a "proper" id!!