During the year under review, inflation spiked from under 1 percent in 2017 to more than 400
percent in October 2019, triggering fears of a return to the 2007 2008 hyperinflationary
period. The economy was thus projected to shrink by 7% according to the International
Monetary Fund at a time when an estimated 8 million Zimbabweans are facing hunger and in
need of food aid and the worst drought since 1992.
The crisis was worsened by the dispute between President Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance
leader Nelson Chamisa over the 2018 presidential election results, with the latter refusing to
recognise the former’s incumbency. This dispute spilled into Parliament, where Zanu PF MPs
retaliated by refusing to recognise the chairpersons of parliamentary committees led by MDC
Alliance MPs.
Suffice to say the worsening socio-economic environment can easily be transposed with the
2007 – 2008 hyper-inflationary era before the relative stabilisation of the socio-economic
environment during the 2009 – 2013 Government of National Unity.
And as the economy continued to deteriorate, junior and senior doctors, nurses and other
health workers went on strike protesting poor working conditions and shortages of drugs
thereby crippling the health delivery system. Similar protests and demonstrations were staged
by civil servants including teachers complaining they were incapacitated from fulfilling their
duties due to poor salaries.
Coming on the backdrop of the brutal clampdown of the August 2018 and January 2019
protests, Zimbabwe’s democratic space continued to shrink as the year progressed.
Similar actions were meted yet again, when anti-riot police dispersed and assaulted citizens
and innocent bystanders at the MDC Alliance Headquarters in Harare where its leader Nelson
Chamisa was scheduled to deliver his ‘Hope of the Nation Address’. Again scores of people
were injured, including journalists, as police indiscriminately assaulted supporters and bystanders that had gathered at the party’s headquarters, including elderly women.
These actions undoubtedly drew local and international outrage and condemnation and by
among others, heads of mission of the delegation of the European Union i.e. France,
Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom and those of
Australia, Canada and United States.

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