HARARE – As the ghost of poverty threatens Zimbabwe again, the country’s main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday gave government notice of a mass demonstration on the 16th of August 2019 as a vote of no confidence to the leadership in light of the country’s unfolding national crisis.

“The national crisis is typified by the following national grievances: corruption, unemployment, power and fuel shortages, cash shortages and the imposition of a debased currency, high cost of living and unaffordable prices of basic commodities, selective application of the law, politicisation and abuse of food aid, drug shortages and ill equipped health facilities, human rights abuses” the MDC said.

Zimbabweans stranded in a bank queue in Harare

In Zimbabwe today, one cannot formally buy a loaf of bread from a shop owing to wheat shortages and arbitrage opportunities in the sector, a result of government’s policy and currency interventions. Water and electricity, which are basic human rights, remain in short supply as the country contends with a twin crisis at a time water levels at its Kariba dam continue to fall. The bulk of Zimbabwe’s hydro power is generated from the Kariba Dam and with acute foreign currency shortages; the country’s ability to import electricity is calamitous. As a result, winding fuel queues are the order of the day in Zimbabwe, with water queues at boreholes and unprotected water bodies now a common sight in Harare. The environment is also bearing the brunt as urban communities resort to firewood as a source of energy in homes.

As the economic wheels come off, Zimbabwe’s crisis has reached tipping point as disposable incomes continue to shrink with citizens facing a multi-faceted humanitarian crisis. It is time SADC shows integrity through interventions and mediations that will bring a solution to this unfolding political reality.