Page last updated at 23:14 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 00:14 UK

Harare diary: Daydreaming over

Zimbabwe flag with MDC's open hand symbol

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, tells how the initial delight over the power-sharing deal between President Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has fizzled out.

Things are really very quiet. Nothing is happening.

When the deal was signed earlier this month we were all euphoric but now, the devil most certainly is in the detail.

The MDC apparently wants the crucial ministerial posts - home affairs and finance - but says Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party want all the key ministries.

Our lives are haywire again
Initially, the week after the signing of the deal, the parallel market rate dropped quite significantly. It was so strange, going from three rate rises per day to none or even a drop.

It was unbelievable and we were all like: "Oh good, finally things are stabilising."

But by Friday, things were right back to where they were... going up every day.

Our lives are haywire again. Nothing has changed.

I had to stay at home all weekend because I couldn't be bothered to queue for hours to draw cash to pay for public transport.

Welcome downfall

Cash supplies are very limited. Only on Monday did they increase the withdrawal amount to 20,000 Zimbabwean dollars (about $20; £11).

L-R: Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Thabo Mbeki hold hands
Esther says Zimbabweans welcomed Mr Mbeki's fall from power

Before the daily allocation was only enough for two rides on public transport - to work and back home. No money left for lunch or anything.

A lot of us were so happy that South Africa's Thabo Mbeki was forced to go as president. He's not our favourite person here in Zimbabwe and his downfall was welcomed.

I personally think that at the thick of our crisis (after 29 March election), he didn't push for free and fair polls and so the democracy, as wanted by the Zimbabwean people, couldn't prevail.

I blame Mbeki for the deadlock now.

Apparently food supplies are being handed out around the country.

But I don't even know for certain if it is happening. No-one I know has heard of anyone who's benefitted. But then because of the lack of cash no-one can travel from the city to their families in the rural areas so no-one knows.

If it does start though, then everyone will benefit, which is fair - unlike before when only people carrying Zanu-PF party cards could get food.

No harassment

Here in town, the police and army are not hanging out on street corners in gangs anymore.

Zimbabweans waiting to draw cash from bank ATMs
People were seen queuing for cash in Harare all weekend

And I see many people walking around in their MDC T-shirts now.

There is no harassing going on anymore. There's not much fear either. At least not in Harare but I don't know what the situation is out of town.

Even the Herald newspaper [one regarded as the Zanu-PF mouthpiece] has had to change its editorial policy: Morgan Tsvangirai is not belittled or directly attacked anymore. Instead they rant about the colonial powers, criticising him indirectly.

Just after the deal had been signed, when we were all still daydreaming, my work colleagues and I were saying how the entire editorial team at the state-run broadcaster and press would have to be changed but two weeks down the road, the same reporters are still writing and talking away, but without attacking the new prime minister designate.


I'm going down to South Africa this week.

I'm getting the overnight bus because flying is too much now - one-way would've cost me $300 (£168).

The bus is costing me $50 (£28) to go to Johannesburg and back.

I just cannot wait to be there.

It is the little things I long for - the little things that are now luxuries... eating lots of different types of food, getting take-outs, buying clothes.

I'm definitely going to enjoy myself.

I can't wait to taste pizza again.

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