Zimbabweans are facing a dire economic crisis that has left many struggling to afford basic necessities such as bread, fuel and electricity. The situation has worsened ahead of the 2023 general elections, where the ruling party ZANU-PF is accused of using food distribution as a political tool to lure voters.
At some ZANU-PF election rallies, long queues of hungry supporters can be seen competing for bread, which is handed out by party officials. Videos and photos of the desperate scenes have gone viral on social media, sparking outrage and criticism from opposition parties and civil society groups.
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate peaked at 280 percent in December 2022, one of the highest in the world. The local currency also depreciated sharply, trading at 930 to the US dollar on the black market. The World Bank estimates that real GDP growth will be only 3.6 percent in 2023 and 2024, far below the regional average.
Hopewell Chin’ono, an award-winning journalist and anti-corruption campaigner, said the economic crisis was a result of decades of mismanagement and corruption by ZANU-PF, which has been in power since 1980.
“The ruling party has dehumanised Zimbabweans beyond description. They have fallen from Mugabe’s political gutter to Mnangagwa’s corrupt rule that has sunk them into the sewer,” he said. “ZANU-PF has looted billions of dollars from the public purse, while the people are reduced to scavenging for bread.”123456