Churches and civic society organisations have expressed concern at the rate at which Zimbabwe is plunging into political and socio-economic decay following the disputed July 30 elections and slammed cheap politicking and grandstanding runs against solving the economic problems facing the country.
BY SILAS NKALA
Zimbabwe, with low levels of foreign investment, unemployment rate of about 80% and is in the third year of a cash crisis, was once known as Africa’s breadbasket because of its agricultural exports but is now reliant on food imports.
The organisations issued a joint statement yesterday condemning the state affairs in the country saying citizens’ future is not guaranteed.
#This Constitution Alliance, Zimbabwe Activists Alliance, Convergence of All Students Unions, Zimbabwe National Students Union, National Movement for Catholic Students, Street Life Children Club, Community Solutions Act, Combined Restitution Association for Zimbabwean Youth, Community Water Alliance and Concerned Citizens Agenda, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Unemployed People’s Association, Streetwise Traders’ Association, Rebuild Africa, Masvingo Youth in Action, Community Water Alliance, Friends of Shabanie Mines, Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Forum, Shalom Trust and Bulawayo Youths Arise jointly condemned the lack of political will towards economic revival.
“We, the members of churches and civic society organisations have united in our quest to see a progressive and prosperous Zimbabwe. We are concerned and disturbed by the rate at which our nation is plunging into the abyss of political and socio-economic decay right before our eyes,” the statement read.
“We are alarmed by the seeming unwillingness of political leaders to come together and confront the national crises as one. We are disappointed by politicians’ seemingly disregarding of our constitutional ideals and fundamentals which not only call for the State, all its institutions and agencies to have ‘respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom the authority to govern is derived’ [Section 3 (2) f], but further implores all Zimbabweans to have the determination to overcome all challenges and obstacles that impede our progress.”
The organisations said they draw the attention of all stakeholders to the multifaceted and deepening crises the nation is confronted with.
“… cheap politicking and grandstanding runs very much contrary to our common aspirations. It is clear that politicians are never defined as the most important stakeholder group, and they should never be allowed to hold us to ransom…,” the organisations said.
“The challenges confronting us as a nation are too numerous to mention, and it calls for any sensitive leadership to commit to the transformation of the people’s lives at all costs. The lives of the generality of our people have turned into a nightmare in the post-electoral period. Not only were unarmed people callously gunned down by the army in the streets, but there is no cash, cholera is wreaking havoc, prices of basic commodities are increasing astronomically, and the political impasse seems to have no ending in sight.”
Seven people lost their lives when the army quashed a protest against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s delay in releasing presidential poll results early August.
The people’s struggle is centred on bread and butter issues, and equitable distribution of national resources, the groups said, adding that it was unacceptable that the majority of people continue to wallow in poverty, while members of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature live in luxury.
“In the aftermath of the recent electoral period, where Zimbabweans were given the chance to elect political leaders to steer the ship for the next five years, it remains key and critical to look beyond the political curtains and begin to build a critical mass towards obtaining a national consensus, which is now imperative and mandatory for balanced sustainable development,” the organisations said.
“The prolonged political cat-fights between Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance are fast suffocating the masses. Selfishness and intransigence by political leaders, and their lack of commitment to the improvement of our national fortunes will only further compound our plight as a people.”
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has refused to recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader of the country after losing a Constitutional Court petition to have the results of the presidential polls overturned.
The majority of Zimbabweans live on less than a dollar a day, as the nation battles over 80% unemployment.
“We implore our political leaders to shun cheap, partisan politics that seeks to position themselves first ahead of the people’s agenda. We cannot suffer because of the selfish aspirations of politicians. If the status quo persists, selfish politicians risk losing relevance in the new Zimbabwe we envisage,” the organisations said.
“We demand solutions to the liquidity crisis, the broken down health delivery system, unabated price hikes, an end to the government’s misplaced prioritisation of its obligations, selfish political grandstanding that has no benefit to us as the people, and the resolution of all other national problems.”