When former Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned that the economy was on auto-cruise and that the government would ultimately fail to pay civil servants, many did not take him seriously thinking that his was a case of sour grapes.
On December 18 last year, NewsDay ran a story titled: ‘Zimbabwe civil servants may soon go without pay’ in which Biti was quoted saying: “The day is not so far and it is coming when this government is going to fail to pay the wage bill.”
He added: “Government is in de-facto shutdown because the government income is not sufficient to pay the wage bill. Monthly accumulations of domestic arrears, electricity bills and drugs are not being paid and domestic debt will be around $1 billion,” Biti said.
The recent shift in pay dates announced by the government for civil servants because of financial constraints is a harbinger for worse things to come. For a long time, those in the know have warned that the economy would implode, but our government — that is perpetually in denial mode — rubbished such claims.
What makes the situation more frightful is the nonchalant attitude by those in power concerning the country’s economy.
The recent appointment of failed politicians and certain crooks on parastatal boards shows that it is business as usual for those in government.
Those in government continue looting with impunity as if their major aim is to run down the economy. They seem bent on killing the goose that lays the eggs as it were. They behave as if they are some form of evil deities.
The way corruption is sanctioned by those in power boggles the mind. It looks like they have resolved that no one is to be arrested for corruption. These people have too much political power to face the music. They always come up with projects to fleece the economy and the ordinary people to fatten their already bulging pockets.
What they do not seem to understand is that a dead economy will have internecine results. People will suffer and ultimately turn their anger against them one day. Nothing lasts forever.
What will happen, for instance, when they fail to pay government workers for two months? They should remember that this category of workers forms the basis of the machinery with which they use to oppress the masses.
These people have gone too far in taking everyone for granted and behaving as if they own this country. To them, Zimbabwe is not a republic, but Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd belonging to their small clique.
That is why they show open contempt for the majority. They need to think twice because if they do not deal with the economy earnestly it will swallow them one day.
They should think twice about the way they are handling the economy.