HomeOpinion & AnalysisZimbabwe's economic problems are largely self-inflicted

Zimbabwe’s economic problems are largely self-inflicted

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RECENT utterances by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe should be dismissed as mere theatrics of a person who is out of touch with the real situation on the ground.

The inescapable reality is that Zimbabwe is in the throes of an unprecedented economic crisis.

Rampant corruption, massive company closures, high levels of unemployment, a perennially depreciating currency,rising inflation, dwindling incomes and the capricious pricing of goods and services are all signs of a country that has sunk into the deepest end of troubled waters.

The ruling party wants us to believe that the economic downturn is caused by saboteurs, who are allegedly working hand in glove with some Western countries to effect regime change in the country.

However, it is quite clear to discerning observers that this is mere propaganda being peddled by the country’s authoritarian rulers to cover up their glaring failures.

If, indeed, the truth be told without fear or favour, our rulers have dismally failed to run the country; they have failed the economy and people are suffering.

Prominent economists, in and outside the country,have repeatedly and emphatically stated that Zimbabwe is suffering from economic constipation due to policy inconsistencies and unmitigated corruption by government officials.

However, instead of owning up to their breathtaking incompetence and blundering, government officials put the blame on economic saboteurs and Western countries.

Projection is a psychological way of defending yourself by placing on others the negative traits or faults that we cannot bear to recognise in ourselves. By identifying bad behaviour and faults in other people,we feel better about ourselves.

The Holy Bible is full of such examples. For example, in Genesis 3:11-13, when God asked Adam:”Have you eaten from the tree,which i commanded you not to eat?” Adam replied:”It’s the woman who gave it to me.”

When Eve was asked the same question, she blamed the serpent. It can thus be seen that,instead of admitting their wrong actions and apologising to God, Adam and Eve tried to exonerate themselves and get away with sin by blaming someone/something else.

The perplexing paradox is that we see this kind of behaviour in our own government. Some government officials are so convinced that their actions have no bearing on problems besetting the country and find comfort and relief in attributing them to Western countries’  conspiracy.

Western countries have their own problems and conspiring against Zimbabwe or planning to recolonise it,as is being said by members of the ruling elite, is clearly not on their agenda.

The truth of the matter is that it is a common fallacy among desperate people to blame other parties or other nations for their shortcomings,instead of confronting issues impartially.

During the late former President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year-tyrannical reign, his ministers never took responsibility for the problems that bedevilled the country.

They looted from State coffers with impunity,leaving ordinary citizens wallowing in poverty and then blamed everything on Western countries. Government officials in the incumbent Administration are no different.

When Mugabe came to power in 1980,he inherited a vibrant economy,with a currency that was at par with the British pound sterling and stronger than the US dollar. However, Mugabe failed to preserve and maintain the value of the currency and he soon decimated it.

In the early 1990s,the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Mugabe that his government’s policies were inimical to the country’s socio-economic and political development.

Mugabe was admonished that rampant corruption,an over-blown military budget,a bloated civil service and overspending by the State would push the country into an economic quagmire.

However, buoyed by the litany of university degrees under his belt, Mugabe poured cold water on the admonishments and continued to implement ruinous policies, which eventually left the country teetering on the brink of an economic Apocalypse.

Despite being highly educated, Mugabe was bankrupt of ideas to grow the economy and was only proficient in delivering speeches.

He was well-known around the world for delivering speeches, which were so eloquent and flowery that if writing and delivering speeches was tantamount to building a nation, Mugabe would have transformed Zimbabwe into a utopian paradise with one of the strongest economies in the world.

There’s no way this country can move forward and reclaim its former position as the breadbasket of Southern Africa with the nature of politicians that we have. Most of our politicians are greedy,corrupt and view political office,not as a means to serve the public,but as a route to wealth accumulation.

The 2023 harmonised elections are edging closer and Zimbabweans should be wary of opportunistic politicians who,ahead of national elections,solicit for votes by showering the electorate with beer and basic foodstuffs.

But once voted into office as MPs, they become ‘Missing Persons’ in their respective constituencies.

Parting point: Zimbabwe is like a sleeping economic Goliath of Southern Africa and deserves to be governed by men and women of integrity,who truly have the interests of the nation at heart and are capable of effecting proper mechanisms to resuscitate the economy and put it back on track for prosperity.

They looted from State coffers with impunity,leaving ordinary citizens wallowing in poverty and then blamed everything on Western countries. Government officials in the incumbent Administration are no different.

When Mugabe came to power in 1980,he inherited a vibrant economy,with a currency that was at par with the British pound sterling and stronger than the US dollar. However, Mugabe failed to preserve and maintain the value of the currency and he soon decimated it.

In the early 1990s,the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Mugabe that his government’s policies were inimical to the country’s socio-economic and political development.

Mugabe was admonished that rampant corruption,an over-blown military budget,a bloated civil service and overspending by the State would push the country into an economic quagmire.

However, buoyed by the litany of university degrees under his belt, Mugabe poured cold water on the admonishments and continued to implement ruinous policies, which eventually left the country teetering on the brink of an economic Apocalypse.

Despite being highly educated, Mugabe was bankrupt of ideas to grow the economy and was only proficient in delivering speeches.

He was well-known around the world for delivering speeches, which were so eloquent and flowery that if writing and delivering speeches was tantamount to building a nation, Mugabe would have transformed Zimbabwe into a utopian paradise with one of the strongest economies in the world.

There’s no way this country can move forward and reclaim its former position as the breadbasket of Southern Africa with the nature of politicians that we have. Most of our politicians are greedy,corrupt and view political office,not as a means to serve the public,but as a route to wealth accumulation.

The 2023 harmonised elections are edging closer and Zimbabweans should be wary of opportunistic politicians who,ahead of national elections,solicit for votes by showering the electorate with beer and basic foodstuffs.

But once voted into office as MPs, they become ‘Missing Persons’ in their respective constituencies.

Parting point: Zimbabwe is like a sleeping economic Goliath of Southern Africa and deserves to be governed by men and women of integrity,who truly have the interests of the nation at heart and are capable of effecting proper mechanisms to resuscitate the economy and put it back on track for prosperity. Cuthbert Mavheko.

Political developments in Zim should worry region

CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson, Peter Gift Mutasa, was recently in South Africa for engagements with top officials from labour, political parties, and solidarity groups.

These engagements are part of the coalition’s regional lobby and advocacy efforts to draw attention to the worryingly increasing political violence and tension as Zimbabwe prepares for elections in 2023.

The rising trend of politically-motivated abductions, murders, intolerance, and a blatantly partisan police force is a threat to the holding of an election with any semblance of credibility and fairness.

The spiralling economic meltdown evidenced by skyrocketing inflation, corruption and slave wages for civil servants makes a mockery of the second republic’s claims of improving people’s lives by 2030.

The Crisis Coalition chairperson also articulated the Zimbabwean story through interviews with various media houses during prime time viewing.

He emphasised the need for inclusive dialogue and political will to implement governance reform to bring sanity to the socio-economic and political status of Zimbabwe.Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Violence should be alien to Zimbabwe

THE NGO Forum is a coalition of 22 human rights organisations with a mandate to address organised violence and torture (OVT). The Forum was formed in 1998 following the January food riots, which were met with State heavy-handedness.

Since then, the Forum has stood side by side with over 2 000 victims of OVT and handled over 7 000 civil cases and hundreds of criminal cases in local and international courts.

When the Forum was formed, our hope and belief were to eradicate OVT by a day such as this. Developments of the last few days and weeks, however, are a painful reminder that we are a long way there. These developments are threatening to plunge the nation into darker days ahead, with the potential for degeneration if the situation is not addressed intently and with care, and with fidelity to the Constitution.

On 10 June 2022, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stormed into a peaceful prayer meeting held at Zimbabwe Divine Destiny offices in central Harare and proceeded to arrest 35 church congregants, including popular cleric, bishop Ancelimo Magaya on charges of disturbing public order.

Armed anti-riot police assaulted congregants with sjamboks and batons without warning before escorting them to Harare Central Police Station. The arrests came following a police ban on the launch of the “Zimbabwe We Want Campaign” — a church-led nation-building initiative calling for peace and prosperity in a corruption-free constitutional democracy that the clerics and congregants intended to launch that day.

Lawyers were denied access to their clients upon arrival at the Harare Central Police Station. Magaya was subsequently released on the same day, while 34 congregants remained in custody.

On the same day, the ZRP barred a candlelight commemoration of late academic Alex Magaisa on allegations that the commemoration was in contravention of section 7(1)(a) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order [Chapter 11:23].

Notification of the gathering, which was submitted on June 9, 2022, was denied on the grounds that it was not given seven days before the date on which the commemoration was to be held.

It is inconceivable that the notification to hold a memorial procession could have been given prior to or in anticipation of Magaisa’s death. The refusal by the police to sanction the candlelight procession in honour of Magaisa is a grave violation of section 58 of the Constitution on peaceful assembly.

Events in Chitungwiza have created a tense and charged atmosphere. On June 11, 2022, the body of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali (46), who had been missing for two weeks, was found dumped in a well in Nyatsime.

Ali’s body was found mutilated with the top and bottom parts of her body severed into two separate parts while her intestines had been packed into a plastic bag, suggesting that she was tortured. There is every suggestion that this was a violent murder.

Politically-motivated violence has since erupted in Nyatsime following the discovery of Ali’s body. CCC members assembled to mourn at her residential place in Nyatsime, which resulted in Zanu PF members led by their councillor, one Masimbi claiming that Ali was a Zanu PF member.

The Zanu PF supporters went on to threaten to take over the funeral, declaring Nyatsime a Zanu PF territory. The highly divisive public utterances and threats to take over the funeral triggered retaliatory behaviour from CCC activists, who then torched a house belonging to Zanu PF branch chairperson George Murambatsvina.

Information ministry secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana took to Twitter castigating the destruction of Murambatsvina’s house and promising the “swift arm of the law” against the perpetrators.

Worryingly, government and the Information ministry did not issue any formal statement relating to the death and mutilation of Ali. Given the precarious and potentially explosive situation we find ourselves in as a country, the Forum strongly believes it is time to summon our collective responsibility as Zimbabweans and to exercise responsibility to address organised violence which threatens our collective peace and safety. In particular, the Forum urges the following:

To citizens:

  • Maintain calm and peace and guard against reaction to provocation.
  • Maintain tolerance and mutual regard to the rights of others, including of persons and groups whose opinions differ from one’s own.
  • Desist from criminal activity, including in the name of politics or political parties.

To the law enforcement and government authorities:

  • Investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of violence, irrespective of political affiliation.
  • Ensure an end to impunity for both politically and criminally-motivated violations of the law and human rights.
  • Maintain law and order in a human rights and constitutionally-compliant manner and ensure the safety and security of all citizens.

To political parties:

  • Call for calm and peace and desist from inciting members and supporters to commit acts of organised violence.
  • Practice political tolerance in both words and deeds.

“Violence should be alien vile to our nature, culture and traditions as the Zimbabwean people.” – President Emerson Mnangagwa, inauguration speech August 25, 2018 Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

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