Zimbabwe is facing a crisis on all fronts, and has been for some time. The country is knee-deep in an economic crisis of which no end is in sight. On top of severe economic instability, Zimbabwe has experienced political unrest as of late. The combination of these dangerous elements has certainly bred cataclysmic results in the southern African country.
Zimbabwe hasn’t seen the likes of this type of economic unrest in over a decade. The current estimated unemployment rate has reached a whopping 90%. Moreover, the hyperinflation of Zimbabwean currency has made it nearly impossible for families to make ends meet. Teachers and other professionals have been hit particularly hard, driven from their careers during a time where jobs aren’t readily available.
Yet, how did Zimbabwe’s economy worsen to such an extent? Many natives believe that Zimbabwe’s economic throes were catalyzed by former prime minister Robert Mugabe. Although Mugabe has since passed away, several decisions that he made are believed to have precipitated Zimbabwe’s present situation. Most notably, Mugabe’s mismanagement of farmland, unilateral focus on mining, and response to international sanctions prompted severe repercussions on the Zimbabwean economy.
Exacerbating their already-struggling economy, Zimbabwe has been hit with a severe drought. Many individuals in the more rural areas of Zimbabwe relied heavily on farming as their primary source of income. The United Nations has reported that approximately a third of Zimbabwe’s population has required humanitarian food aid. In the absence of crops, many families are unable to put food on their plates. The lack of rain also has limited the availability of drinking water for Zimbabwean families. What ordinarily would have been a few days worth of water has now been rationed to last for weeks at a time, to serve entire families.
“The police beat with a baton stick on my arms, my legs and my stomach. I’m struggling to walk, but I have to protest because I’m suffering.”
The economic hardship faced by Zimabweans has unfortunately resulted in widespread political unrest. Zimbabwean citizens have expressed dissent towards their current leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his response toward the situation. Protestors have filled the streets of Zimbabwe to demonstrate their disapproval with the Zimbabwean government. Prime Minister Mnangagwa has issued a harsh response toward Zimbabwean protestors, dispatching police who’ve made many arrests. Unfortunately, the Zimbabwean police have also used violence in an attempt to subdue demonstrators.
“The police beat with a baton stick on my arms, my legs and my stomach. I’m struggling to walk, but I have to protest because I’m suffering. In my house, my family has so little to eat, so it’s better for me to continue going when others are protesting and die there if I have to.” says Godfrey Kamba, a Zimbabwean farmer who suffers from a disability
With the Covid-19 pandemic, worldwide calamities have only been aggravated. As a result of Zimbabwe’s skyrocketing inflation rate, many healthcare workers have been on strike. Hospitals have been forced to turn away patients afflicted with Covid-19 due to a lack of personnel. Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 cases are on the rise, and many health professionals believe there are numerous undiscovered cases as well.
With the ever-changing situation in Zimbabwe, it is crucial now more than ever that they receive help. The World Food Program USA is accepting contributions to assist Zimbabwean families. Additionally, the following link lists NGOs and nonprofits providing aid to Zimbabwe. May Zimbabwe return to the flourishing cultural oasis that it once was.