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Zimbabwe’s Downgrade Has Turned It Into Its Neighbours Laughing Stock

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Zimbabwe recently got two major downgrades which all paint a gloomy picture for the future of its suffering but resilient masses who contrastingly inhabit a natural resource rich land which arguably has the most perfect weather for tourism in the world.

A recent publication by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which projected a 0% growth for the Zimbabwe economy and a ban from hosting international matches on the country’s stadiums by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are the two downgrades which are all a slap in the face of the current government and a stress factor for its citizens.

It is very disturbing to note that a country like Zimbabwe, with one of the world’s highest literacy rates and endowed with precious minerals like gold, platinum and diamonds cannot upgrade and service even one of its football stadiums to acceptable regional and global standards.

Such are the failures that have reduced the country into a laughing stock among its neighbours.

Following the ban by CAF, some people from neighbouring countries especially from South Africa ridiculed the once bread basket of Africa which has been brought to its knees by massive corruption, lack of serious political reforms coupled with drought which also affected the country’s ability to produce enough food.

While responding to a 26 February 2020 article published by South Africa’s eNCA titled CAF bars Zimbabwe from hosting international matches, many people from neighbouring countries made jokes about the country’s economy which is in a coma.

Baleke Mwaungulu said “Just mention of the name Zimbabwe- the first thought that comes is problems. When shall these problems end?” while Refiloe Sibi said “Why would Zimbabwe even dream of hosting wen they don’t even have electricity. Do they want matches to be cancelled because even petrol for generator is dololo”.sic

According to an article published on www.soccer24.co.zw, the Zimbabwe Football Association’s Spokesperson and Competitions Manager, Xolisani Gwesela said that there were talks underway towards using South Africa’s Orlando Stadium in Soweto for Zimbabwe’s match against Algeria in the Afcon qualifiers.

Others commentators made fun of the numbers of Zimbabweans that are in South Africa, with some insinuating that if Zimbabwe’s soccer lovers are to attend matches in South Africa, many of them  may not even go back home.

Sifiso Ngobe said “20 buses will transport fans from Zimbabwe to watch games in SA and only a quantum will be taking them back” while Njabulo Buthelezi said “they might as well play here in SA, they won’t be short of supporters since they are all here.” 

Zimbabweans have been going through a string of socio-economic and political tough times for decades, and yet they are a hopeful, peaceful and hardworking people whose patience for a better life has been overstretched by political uncertainties which have also negatively affected the economy.

“Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic and humanitarian crisis. Macroeconomic stability remains a challenge: the economy contracted sharply in 2019, amplified by climate shocks that have crippled agriculture and electricity generation; the newly introduced ZWL$ has lost most of its value; inflation is very high; and international reserves are very low.” IMF reported.

The Report, posted on its website as Press Release No.20/72 under the title IMF Executive Board Concludes 2020Article IV Consultation with Zimbabwe shows that because of the prevailing socio economic and political reality, growth for the country’s economy is projected at near zero (0%).

Zimbabweans’ expectation of better times never materialised even after November of 2018 when the current government leader President Emerson Mnangagwa took over following the demise of the late Robert Mugabe as evidenced by the economic situation which is visibly worsening.

As such, the pronouncements by the IMF and CAF have given a serious blow that is making it difficult for Zimbabweans to continue holding on to the little hope that they have been clutching unto for a long time.

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