The majority of Zimbabweans are suffering and struggling to put food on the table in a manner reminiscent of the period that culminated in the period known as 2008. Again like back in the 2008 era boarding schools are also facing the same problems thanks to inflation which is eroding whatever fees parents pay in the form of the Zimbabwean dollar which the government insists we use. One such school is Hartzell High School near Mutare. The iconic school recently wrote to parents informing them that their children faced impending starvation as the school was about to run out of food.

12 June 2022

Dear Parents

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Re: Levels of Food stocks

This letter is a follow-up of my messge to you on 9 June 2022, in which I finormed you of the low food stocks at the school especially perishables since the ZWL55 000 has been eroded by inflation.

Given the current food stocks I write to inform you that the school will not be able to fee th learners beyond Wednesday, 22 June. If we cannot restock our food stocks I will not be able to keep the children at school, hence I will ask you to collect our learners from school.

We, as a school remain committed to have our learners continue with their studies as we prepare them for their mid-year exams which should start on 11 July 2022.

Therefore together we should find a solution

Sincerly Yours

Kawadza S.

Head

The purportted letter from Hartzell’s Headmaster

There is a crisis looming in Zimbabwe

There is a crisis in Zimbabwe as most families struggle to put food on their tables and it seems schools are predictably failing to feed their families too. The cause is not hard to determine the root cause for all these issues. We have soaring inflation which the government claims are being caused by the war in Ukraine and not their incompetence and economic management. The rate which was around 1:400 ZWL on 3 May when schools opened for the second term is now at the 1:600 ZWL mark as we write. If the letter is genuine, it means the already low fees of around US$130 is now just about US$90. It is not surprising that the school is running out of food if that is the case.

Questions such as why a school would charge such low fees can also be answered by warped government policies. You see officially on 3 May that paltry sum was equivalent to US$333.33 according to the official rate at the time which the government insisted on shoving down everyone’s throat. The problem is that despite claiming that this was the actual fair and real rate the government could not put its mouth where its money was. They could not cover all auction bid winners at this rate. This means that despite telling everyone to use this rate, no one, including Hartzell could get foreign currency at this rate. Eventually, the government abandoned this folly and now their rate is around the $330 ZWL per 1 USD mark which means even officially the amount Hartzell charged parents is now worth less than half what it was when Hartzel asked parents to make the payment.

Authors of chaos

The government’s Finance Minister and his RBZ counterpart are typical muckrakers who like to unleash policy bombs and distance themselves from the ensuing chaos and sonic boom. The above policies are just examples of their meddling which they eventually abandon leaving businesses and organisations to face consequences once the two policymakers eventually abandon their untenable positions. Expect more schools and organisations to raise alarm as the consequences of inflation and official rate switches become apparent.

It would be something if they at least acknowledged that people were suffering and the economy is doing well. Despite everything the finance minister, the president and their RBZ governor have chosen instead to peddle the fantasy that “all is well.”