Editorial Comment: Rising poverty: Govt needs to act fast

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government must put its house in order, immediately. Under his watch, Zimbabwe has become one of the most unequal countries in the world.

The latest World Bank report shows that inequality has increased sharply to among the highest levels in sub-Saharan Africa. The richest 10% of Zimbabweans consume 20 times more than the poorest 10%!

The World Bank also pointed out that close to eight million people have slipped into dire poverty in the past year, while a further 500 000 have lost jobs.

It is easy for the regime to blame the COVID-19 pandemic and the global embargo for the crisis that confronts Zimbabweans today, but the country was facing serious drug shortages before the pandemic hit.

Zimbabwe was already relapsing into a dire services delivery crisis, even before the pandemic and de-industrialisation was hitting this country hard.

Schools and hospitals were in turmoil as teachers and health professionals demand just salaries in order to work.

Except for promises, no concrete plans were put in place to address the public’s concerns.

Zimbabweans are slowly learning to live on empty promises, and because this has gone on for many years, people have accepted abnormal situations as normal.

They can go for days without power or water without raising a hoot.

But just as the nation was digesting the World Bank data this week, Zimbabweans woke up on Friday to more bad news — while they have been pushed to the corner by endless blunders, the regime’s top dogs have been busy parcelling out State resources without being authorised. And there are no penalties for the theft of State resources too.

Surely, this is mind boggling.

We reported on Thursday that up to $7 billion was expended by government in 2019 without due authority because there was so much lack of transparency across ministries.

It has become a tradition in government to expend without seeking or following guidelines, and the results have been prolonged current account deficits, which at some point had to be funded by printing money.

It is little wonder why citizens have also learnt to live under hyperinflation without complaining.

But many a times these expenditures are related to needless activities such as chefs’ globetrotting and strategic sessions and seminars that yield nothing for the common man, but more misery.

The people of Zimbabwe cannot live like this any longer.

They deserve just treatment.

This means those who are feasting on State resources at their expense must be brought to book, if the regime wants to walk the talk.

The time for action is now.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw