One of the momentous highlights of the 2013 presidential election that has since been overshadowed by the incessant political drama in the country was the pledge of creating a staggering two million jobs for the masses by the ruling Zanu PF party, which went on to win the crunch election.
This was no petite promise; it had drawing power and it drew. Formal employment has been the notable means of survival for the average Zimbabwean in the city since colonial times. While there is nothing wrong with luring voters with dynamic electoral promises, there is everything wrong when subterfuge methods are employed to entice the electorate. It is a given that the message of jobs would never fail to lure voters because of its immense enduring value. How else would one survive in the city without a job? Despite the gargantuan promise, it is ironical that Zimbabweans, two years on, have in essence lost over 30 000 jobs in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling.
Zimbabwe boasts one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and yet bears the ugly scar of the highest unemployment rate on the continent. Besides our ego-massaging statistic, there is apparently nothing to show for our much-vaunted literacy.
Hordes of youths, including graduates, are churned out of universities each year to lead desperate lives. Every year we celebrate sending thousands to the streets. As things stand, there is only a single year separating this year from the next election year, 2018, and it is imperative for the electorate to demand the fulfilment of election promises.
It is evident that, juxtaposing with the situation on the ground, there is a chance of finding ice in hell than there is for two million jobs to be created in present Zimbabwe.
No sane person bothers about it anymore. Employment, conversely, is being terminated at every chance possible. The country’s economy hangs precariously yet there remains an all-pervading climate of bickering and insults and focus on personalities while development stands still. Will this bring the stability that the nation desperately yearns for?
It is sad that African politics in general has become synonymous with frustrated electoral promises and, worse, the electorate seems to have accepted the sad state of affairs where politicians glide in expensive vehicles enjoying needless foreign trips funded by the scarce taxpayers’ money while no effort is made towards delivery.
With the acrimonious internecine fights currently besetting the country, one can only gape in wonder who will commit to developmental issues.
The poverty worsened by the El Nino-induced drought across the country is astounding yet there are more power struggles, supremacy and cat fights than efforts towards alleviating poverty.
The drought has resulted in untold hunger in rural communities. The magnitude of the poverty in the country should, on its own, prick the consciences of the powers that be to focus on the right priorities.
Chivi, Chipinge, Gwanda, Muzarabani and Mudzi are burning with hunger; it’s a humanitarian catastrophe. People in these areas are surviving on wild fruits and eating unimaginable things to survive.
It is against this background that we continue to witness a national leadership that revels in fights at the expense of delivery. Zimbabwe finds herself enmeshed in the thicket of a 16-year-old economic gridlock which has seen thousands of skilled and unskilled personnel leaving the country in search of better fortunes.
The current state of affairs in this nation does not need anyone from Jupiter to alert us to the socio-economic quagmire that we find ourselves in. We are all aware of the struggling economy in which companies are closing every other week.
We are all aware of the 2014 ruling which led to a job carnage that threw more than 25 000 breadwinners into the streets. It is, in essence, ironical that the few remaining jobs in the country were actually lost against the myth of two million jobs.
What is disturbing is not necessarily the palpable failure to create the said jobs, but the complete disregard for progressive issues in preference to petty succession tiffs.
One would naturally expect to see frantic efforts towards fulfilling the said promises and meeting the constitutional mandate yet, ironically, we have a whole nation glued on who can insult better between people tasked with delivering. It is time for the electorate to demand fulfilment of election promises. This message also rings true for the opposition movements in the country. Let’s do away with the politics of opposing for the sake of it. Zimbabweans hunger for politicians who will walk the talk. The “Mugabe must go” rhetoric is not necessarily what would transform the lives of the suffering Zimbabweans although understandable.
Political parties must respect electoral promises otherwise we will continue to have a similar scenario where the electorate is used as a vehicle to power and thereafter painfully discarded.
Learnmore Zuze is a legal researcher, author and media analyst. He writes here in his own capacity. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org