HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDon’t apply politics to the Budget

Don’t apply politics to the Budget

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It is no secret to Zimbabweans that bad politics is the single largest threat to the country’s present macro-economic stability.

That is why Zimbabweans don’t want to hear about elections.

It takes them back to that ugly and miserable year, 2008.

The year everything bad happened: record deaths from cholera; food shortages; record inflation; company closures; currency collapse; brain drain and inter-party fights which were bloody in instances.

These were the factors that fuelled and reflected the suffering of the people.

And they were all blamed on politics, aggravated as it were by the political feuding between Zanu PF and MDC, particularly the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, now Prime Minister in the current inclusive government.

The last thing citizens and residents of this country want to hear is that these bitter belligerents are at it again. Unfortunately, this is now the case.

They have now elected to settle their old scores through the national Budget.

MDC-T senators are understood to have threatened to continue boycotting sittings, including Thursday’s session to consider the Finance Bill, protesting President Robert Mugabe’s “unilateral” re-appointed of provincial governors.

To come into force, the Finance Bill, containing the tax changes that Finance minister Tendai Biti announced in the 2011 Budget statement on Thursday last week, must be passed by Parliament, that is, both the lower and upper house.

Zanu PF is understood to have called for a meeting to take a party position on the Budget.

Whether this is for the purpose of taking a pre-emptive hit on their opponents or not, the air around it doesn’t smell good.

The Budget should transcend party positions, interests and differences. It is national process.

It’s about a poor villager in a remote part of the country, it’s about the ordinary man or woman on the street, it’s about a street kid picking food from a street alley and it’s about a sick patient fighting for life in an ill-staffed and ill-equipped hospital.

It is also about the car importer looking to take advantage of the new tax and valuation measures or the investor weighing his/her options based on the incentives granted in the budget or the agricultural, mining and manufacturing companies that eagerly want to get down to business under the raft of new measures announced.

Zanu PF and the MDC must realise that jeopardising or delaying the Budget may have the same effect as the crippling fight they engaged in two years ago.

There is nothing to be gained from this selfish exercise.

While it may not necessarily result in the dissolution of Parliament, any stalemate over the Budget will send a negative signal to the international community, especially investors and rating agencies and the effect thereof knows no party or office.

It happened in Malawi when President Bingu wa Mutarika’s former party sought to block the passage of the Budget as a way of fixing the “political renegade” for ditching them and rendering them an opposition party.

The duel put Malawi in the spotlight and soiled its profile, earning it a place among politically unstable nations.

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