THE realisation of “The Africa We Want” or Agenda 2063 will remain a mirage with several African countries, including Zimbabwe dented by reports of human rights abuses, human trafficking, police brutality on citizens, torture and several other vices that will never lead to achievement of Africa’s 50-year development trajectory.
There have been so many hashtags calling for sanity and an end to brutality in Africa which include #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #EndSarsNow, #CongoIsBleeding, #AmINext, #AnglophoneCrisis, #RapeNationalEmergency, and several others that show the deep-seated problems bedevilling Africa and that will retard its economic and human development agenda. Of course, one may argue that even Europe and the United States have their own problems and there are several hashtags pertaining to those, but the difference is that their economies are developed, and besides, it is always good to copy the best practices.
For Zimbabwe in particular, what is saddening is that the government seems to be focusing on the wrong priorities. While it is true that sanctions hurt a nation, it is an open secret that the biggest sanction is government itself which has outrightly refused to listen to the complaints of its citizens.
The fact that the government does not want to listen to teachers, doctors and other civil servants when they cry about their poor working conditions, means that the government is their biggest sanction from achieving the development they want.
What is more disturbing is that while government will lure other African countries to support its October 25 anti-sanctions agenda, and is also counting on citizens to do so, it is the same government that denies civil servants and other dissenting voices in the country the right to air their own grievances.
In Parliament last week, Norton MP Temba Mliswa bluntly said if the Zanu PF government wants MPs to join their cause, then they must first sort out the welfare issues of MPs who are earning $18 000 which is far below the poverty datum line of $20 000.
It is sad that Zimbabwe and other African countries like Nigeria which are experiencing human rights abuses are signatories to different African Union (AU) charters like the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the African Continental Free Trade Area, and several other AU and United Nations charters that emphasise democracy and respect for human rights, but none of those provisions are being implemented.
The country has come up with economic blueprints, like the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and its successor the National Development Plan which emphasise re-engagement, democracy and achievement of economic development. This can only be possible if there is a buy-in from citizens. After all, those that implement government policies are mostly the underpaid civil servants that have been crying out for living wages.
Africa needs to increase peace and reduce conflicts if it is to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063. All development should be people centred.