Endangered Human Security in Cash Strapped Zimbabwe, 2007-2008

by Mediel Hove

Abstract

This article discusses human security in the context of cash shortages that Zimbabweans experienced between 2007 and 2008, not withstanding the fact that the human security facets were gradually threatened in the country following the introduction of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in 1991 and the establishment of the Movement for Democratic Change. It argues that the competition between the opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front, deepened the socio-economic woes including shortage of cash and a currency that continued to tumble into a worthless legal tender. The government’s efforts to curtail inflation and address cash shortages by, among other things, introducing price controls aggravated both the shortage of goods and the cash crisis, thereby threatening the Zimbabweans’ “freedom from want” or their rights to access their money from the banks. The ruling party stuck to the domestic currency, only later to begrudgingly embrace the multi-currency regime because people had adopted it as one of their survival strategies in an effort to lessen the challenges experienced in a biting economic milieu. It concludes that the shortage of money violated Zimbabweans’ rights to access their money from the banks and also endangered their security since the shortage of cash destroyed the capacity to access socio-economic needs. Also, poverty, hunger, and unemployment among other insecurities left many people (both employed and unemployed) feeling hopeless and troubled.

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Mediel Hove (PhD) is a Research Associate, International Centre of Nonviolence and Durban University of Technology, and a Senior Lecturer of War, Peace and Strategic Studies in the History Department, University of Zimbabwe. His research interests include conflict, peace building, human and state security, and strategic studies.