March 11, 2020

Why is Zimbabwe in freefall?

Millions of people face food insecurity amid drought, hyperinflation and political instability.

On Wednesday, March 11 at 19:30 GMT:
There’s little sign of relief for Zimbabwe’s worst drought in years, and it’s exacerbating a national food crisis already affecting more than half of the population.

About 5.5 million people in rural parts of Zimbabwe and 2.2 million people in urban regions are finding it difficult to find food and clean water. In January Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister warned that the country had less than 30 days’ worth of grain in its strategic reserve. Food insecurity is now so acute that the United Nations has warned it poses a threat to the country’s national security.

But the impact of the drought is just one of several problems affecting daily life for Zimbabweans. The country is desperately short of other essentials such as fuel, electricity and medicine. The country’s recent move to make the Zimbabwean dollar the only legal tender – part of an effort to assert local control over monetary policy – has been complicated by a shortage of foreign currency for essential imports. Bouts of hyperinflation have eaten into salaries, prompting doctors and other public workers to recently go on strike.

The country’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged supporters of the country’s ruling Zanu-PF to keep faith in the party, not least as a bulwark against the rival Movement for Democratic Change. But with Zimbabweans facing a daily struggle to feed themselves, is there a risk that simmering resentments over corruption and economic mismanagement will explode into widespread public anger? Join the conversation to find out what may lie ahead. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Nkosana Moyo @DrNkosana
CEO & Founder of MINDS

Maureen Kademaunga @MaureenKade
Secretary for Public Service and Social Welfare, Movement for Democratic Change

Dr Mthabisi Anele Bhebhe @bhebheanele  
Medical Doctor

Read more:
Beyond thirst: Inside Zimbabwe's water crisis – Al Jazeera
‘It’s a nightmare’: Zimbabwe struggles with hyperinflation – Associated Press

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