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Put national interest first

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That the challenges facing the country are enormous is well known.

The formation of the inclusive government four years ago brought about political and economic stability.

The country now enjoys single-digit inflation and for the first time in the history of Zimbabwe, rival political parties came together to form a government.

However, indications by Finance minister Tendai Biti on Tuesday that government was in a state of paralysis, describing Cabinet as “deadwood”, is a worrying development. Biti told Parliament the mid-term budget statement presented last week was a “crisis statement” that required urgent solutions.

“We need to address our ugly politics and crisis leadership because we have a dead Cabinet and I have never seen dead people who are alive than those ones,” said Biti.

“There is a disease of assuming money grows on trees. I am not angry, but I am sad because our problems are self-induced policy distortions and lack of strong leadership to deal with our problems and everything is rotten especially at the top.”

It has, therefore, become increasingly clear that political parties are not putting the national interest first, but instead, are concentrating on political interests. As such, we believe only political reforms can reverse the macroeconomic ills bedevilling the country.

The lack of co-operation amongst parties in the inclusive government has manifested itself in the failure to implement adopted policies even at Cabinet level. Just to demonstrate the lack of seriousness amongst the country’s leadership, last week a good number of MPs were caught sleeping during Biti’s fiscal policy review.

A closer look at Biti’s mid-term review shows that capital disbursements in the first six months of the year were almost 50% below-target, a development that stalled the disbursements of funds under the Constituency Development Fund, where nothing was spent on energy, education and housing.

Until recently, some MPs had not said a word for the four years that they have sat in the House since their election in 2008, raising questions as to what they were doing in the legislature.

It is sad to note that other partners in government, especially the police and Registrar-General’s Office, have been defiant in their operations choosing to withhold close to $1 million of the much-needed finance from Treasury for undisclosed usage.

There is need for a more concerted effort from all players in the inclusive government especially at Cabinet level if the country is to overcome the economic challenges it is going through.

Foreign direct investment has been sacrificed for political expediency. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has repeatedly bemoaned lack of policy consistency, especially with regard to the indigenisation programme, as the main reason why economic growth was stagnant.It is mind-boggling to think that Zimbabwe, with the highest literacy rate in Africa, is sleeping while China is reducing the country to a shell.

Biti said Anjin was not remitting money to Treasury yet they are the country’s biggest diamond miner that has recently upped production.

It is high time our leaders took us seriously and stop all their political gimmicks while the population is left to suffer.

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