HomeOpinion & AnalysisWe have a crisis in Zimbabwe, Sir

We have a crisis in Zimbabwe, Sir

letter to my people:BY DOCTOR STOP IT

My People,
One thing that Zimbabweans have become adept at is to be able to tell when the government is lying through their teeth.

Which is most, if not all, of the time!

When people are led by a regime that tells fibs all the time, they become really good at separating the lies from the minuscule truths.

There are many tactics and strategies for extracting the truth from mountains of government baloney.

Others simply wait for the government to start denying anything in the public discourse before quickly concluding that when the government starts denying anything, then you know that it is mostly true.

Take for example the issue of the reversal of the land reform by the puppet stooges, who are trying to destroy the legacy of the late and great Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Gushungo.

The moment Monica Mutsvangwa, and all Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, war veterans and yuthies started denying that the land redistribution exercise was being reversed, we immediately knew that something was afoot.

The land revolution was being tinkered with.

If white former farmers are being compensated, who is going to compensate the former farm workers whose livelihoods and lifestyles were disrupted by the agrarian revolution?

The level of panic within the establishment is so palpable you can easily guess that Zimbabweans have somehow been cutting too close to the bone in speculating on exactly what is happening to the land.

Because Zimbabweans are used to being bullied and lied to by their government, many have taken the authorities’ explanations on the exact position on the compensation of white former farmers with shovels, if not trucks, of salt.

After lurching from one public relations disaster to another, the propaganda machinery is still battling to correct the perception on what is really happening with the issue of compensating white former commercial farmers.

Of course, there is very widespread and equally very credible speculation that because of the high levels of corruption and kleptocracy in the Zimbabwean government, there are already ghost former commercial farmers who will benefit from the millions of dollars expected to be doled out to the former farmers.

The ghost commercial farmers are, of course, the well-connected black politicians in government and the party, including a certain very, very, very senior politician who is very corrupt and has equally very, very, very corrupt children.

Meanwhile, the international community will have been reassured to hear that far from ED’s lies that farm invasions have ended in Zimbabwe, they are actually thriving and being encouraged through the use of state arms such as the police.

Let the looting begin.

Lies, lies and more lies
When South African PresidentCyril Ramaphosa sent special envoys to Zimbabwe following an escalation of human rights violations, the comrades in government were very embarrassed.

Ramaphosa was also the African Union chairperson and so that meant the Zimbabwean crisis was about to be internationalised.

South Africa is also the regional political and economic powerhouse and so what they say carries weight.

The guerillas who run the Zimbabwean government panicked.

Ramaphosa, who is equally to blame for the Zimbabwean crisis, must have been later arm-twisted into toning down his intervention and in the end despatched an ineffective delegation from the South African ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

The major difference between the ANC and their Zimbabwean counterparts in Zanu PF is that our southern neighbours occasionally tell the truth because they have a vibrant and questioning population, media and civil society.

From the lying and corrupt elite, we were told that instead of those pesky special envoys, Ramaphosa would instead deploy an ANC delegation, which would look at building solidarity with Zanu PF and fighting efforts by neocolonialists to destabilise Southern Africa and governments of former liberations movements.

The lies continued before, during and after the meeting.

But the no-nonsense ANC head of delegation Ace Magashule was very clear after their meeting with Zanu PF that they were in Zimbabwe to attend to a crisis.

Emmerson Mnanagagwa was busy telling his puppet stooges in Polad that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

Again, Zimbabweans who are now used to government lies immediately concluded that there was indeed a crisis in Zimbabwe.

When a rogue, junta gangster regime arrests journalists who write on corruption and jails opposition politicians, that can easily be described as a crisis.

To cut a long story short, after meeting Zanu PF, Magashule indicated that his delegation was also eager to meet their real allies during the liberation struggle, Zapu and other opposition parties and civil society representatives, including those who document human rights violations.

In most cases, the state and its security arms have been linked to gross human rights violations.

Meanwhile, statements by acting Zanu PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and that the ANC had no business meeting the opposition and other stakeholders must have come as a rude reminder that their rogue northern neighbour can play dirty.

What health foods
Listening to government and donor-sanctioned jingles on how to fight the Covid-19 can be very sickening.

What is even more infuriating is that the jingles are played too frequently.

This regime is so callous that it can choose to ignore what is prevailing on the ground and pretend that all is well.

Just as it wants the ANC to join in their fantasy world that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.

There is nothing wrong with the anti Covid-19 messages.

Our problem is that the jingles have unattainable targets.

For example, they encourage Zimbabweans to eat health foods such as eggs, fish, meat and vegetables.

Where do people get money for such things when all resources have been looted by the ruling elite?

Commissioning of new coal mines and expansion of old coal mines goes against the very commitments the government has made. Coal usage is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change. The burning of coal is responsible for 46% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide and accounts for 72% of total greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. By ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change Zimbabwe had pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020 which is no longer practical considering the rate at which the country is “coalonising”.

Not only will coal extraction result in global warming but it will also have detrimental impacts on the environment. An independent report by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance on the impact of coal mining in Hwange showed that, coal mining by Hwange Colliery, Makomo, Chilota, WMK & Coalbricks mines has resulted in substantial and permanent damages to the landform. The report also showed that the burning of coal by Zimbabwe Power Company emits pollutants such as matter and ground-level ozone — the key ingredients of smog — along with nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide.

As such the air in Hwange is heavily polluted and this has serious health impacts on the community. Studies have shown that living near coal combustion power plants is associated with fatal health risks — in the form of lung, laryngeal and bladder cancer. Respiratory complaints, increases in non-melanoma skin cancers, still births and miscarriages are also common.

In an effort to address environmental related issues Ncube went on to state that in order to curb environmental challenges: “the thrust is to deal with, rampant deforestation, with an estimated loss of 100 000 – 320 000 hectares of forests per year, solid waste management confronting urban authorities throughout the country, destruction of wetlands and many other risks to our environment.”

One of the result of coal mining is massive deforestation. A CNRG (2017) report revealed that coal mining in Hwange had resulted in many of the vegetated areas being converted into mining fields. Therefore, large forest areas were cleared to make a way for large opencast coal mines which include but not limited to opencast mining at Hwange Colliery, W&K, Makomo and Chilota Mines. These areas will take a long time to rehabilitate and will lead to landscape scarring as these expanses of land will be incompatible with the surrounding landscape. One of the ways of reducing deforestation as the Minister alluded to is to stop relying on fossil in this case coal expansion projects.

Social impacts
Corporate social responsibility has been a problematic issue between local communities and extractive industries. In most instances, little developments that have taken place serve to benefit the interest of the corporates to allow for the easy transportation and extraction of the precious resources. While a lot of environmental degradation will be taking place affecting the local communities there is very little if any to show for the resources — hence the term privatising profits while externalising the cost to the community. Mining firms are causing land and water pollution and destroying road networks but also failing to plough back to the communities impacted by their businesses. For instance, the Hwange community has suffered much harm at the hands of the Hwange Colliery Company and other mushrooming coal mining companies. In a petition directed to Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coking Company, the community expressed concern at the effects of pollution caused by shunting trucks carrying coke from the plant to external markets. Villagers indicated that the dust has affected the Lukosi Irrigation Scheme and yields have gone down over the years. The dust also affects Lukosi Primary School and Lukosi hospital. There were similar concerns about water pollution on Deka River by the mining companies that discharge effluent into the water body, killing livestock and fish downstream. Hwange Colliery Company has failed to pay workers their outstanding salaries, but instead the company is fighting to evict the workers from the company premises.

Zimbabwe has a Climate Change Response Strategy which is hinged on promoting resource use efficiency and less carbon intense pathways in all economic activities. The strategy also speaks to the development of a climate change resilient energy infrastructure that is not carbon intense. The new dispensation also finalised a National Renewable Energy Policy in March 2019, which spells out that, Zimbabwe has huge and diversified renewable energy potential which needs to be harnessed effectively to create a sustainable energy portfolio in the country. The National Renewable Energy Policy also addresses the climate change concerns and the country’s commitment to adhere to global standard geared towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The policy enunciates that Zimbabwe has vast renewable energy resources like solar, hydro, biomass and to a limited extent, wind and geothermal, that to date have largely remained unexploited. Based on the above Zimbabwe is capable to transit from the use of fossils to low carbon renewables without much hustles because the foundation has already been set.

The global shift from coal financing should also implore Zimbabwe to move along with global trends. By Mid-2020 over 129 globally significant banks and insurers had announced their divestment from coal mining and/or coal-fired power plants. This is the trend which has seen major global financial institutions shifting focus to low carbon renewables. Many governments and corporate leaders are also moving away from coal. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea made significant waves with his Green New Deal to cease coal financing globally, while Ayala Corporation of the Philippines and Verbund AG of Austria both also announced in April 2020 their exit from coal, with the latter stating: “the future belongs to renewable energy”.

Shell, Total and BP have also shown commitments to move to zero emissions electricity generation. These are all very significant moves building on the momentum of global financial institutions’ accelerating exit from coal, pivoting to sustainable growth options.

This behaviour change by major financial institutions which have been historically motivated by the easy and quick money drained from fossils than the existential threat of climate change shows there is a new global trend. Mining review.org shows that the rate of transformation by globally significant banks, insurers and asset managers/owners announcing new or improved coal restriction policies has accelerated by 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. With this global trajectory, Zimbabwe has to action its commitments to the conventions, local policies as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ntombizodwa Woyeee!

Munhuwese kuna Amai!

Dr Amai Stop it! PhD (Fake)

l Feedback: Doctorstopit@gmail.com

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