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‘ZimAsset success hinges on govt accountability’

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Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), would never bring economic freedom unless citizens of Zimbabwe hold government officials accountable, a local research think-tank has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

ZimAsset is seen by Zanu PF as the panacea to the country’s economic crisis and runs for five years (2013 to 2018).

It focuses on four pillars — food security and nutrition, social services and poverty reduction, infrastructure and utilities, and value addition and beneficiation.

The government requires at least $27 billion to fund projects under ZimAsset, but it has been struggling to attract the required funding largely due to policy inconsistences.

However, addressing citizens in Bulawayo last week at the promotion of the public accountability programme, the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ) director Samukele Hadebe said the policy would remain pie in the sky unless ordinary citizens hold government officials accountable.

“Citizens should hold government officials accountable and it is their rights. As citizens we must see ZimAsset working. Therefore, we must hold responsible authorities to account,” Hadebe said.

“As long as people keep quiet, nothing will happen. We should stand up and demand answers concerning the implementation of the policy. If we fail, then we should forget about development because development comes with accountability.”

He said corruption involving public officials was rife in the country and citizens should act responsibly.

“There is too much corruption in the country and to curb it, there should be public accountability. Public funds are abused day in day out. As such, people should be the ones taking the initiative to probe authorities on how their funds are used,” Hadebe said.
Some said it was hard for ordinary citizens to hold government officials accountable as the country was too militaristic.
“This is a military State,” one participant said.

“Who is going to complain about ZimAsset or how public funds are used and never get crushed? They will crush you like a mamba before going anywhere.”

Speaking at the same event, PPRIZ researcher and policy analyst Butler Tambo said government was struggling to fulfil the promises it made in the policy document and citizens should demand answers.

In the run-up to the 2013 elections, President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF unveiled an election manifesto in which they promised Zimbabweans heaven on earth.

The party promised to create value of $7,3 billion from the indigenisation of 1 138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy. It also promised to raise over $1,8 million from the idle value of empowerment assets unlocked from parastatals, local authorities, mineral rights and claims.

These initiatives were said to be aimed at creating over 2,2 million jobs across key sectors of the economy and contributing to export earnings, food security and to the fiscus among many other benefits.

But 20 months down the line Zimbabweans continue to sing the blues.

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