IN yesterday’s edition of NewsDay, we carried two unrelated stories, whose content, however, touched on very pertinent issues of poverty and inequality.
In the first story, the Southern African Development Community People’s Economic Forum (Sadc People’s Forum) told us that some policies made by the World Economic Forum (WEF) were fuelling poverty and inequalities on the African continent.
The forum opined that “the undemocratic power and influence that the WEF has continued to yield over (African) leaders ... stands in the way of much needed transformative actions to address the profound and complex crisis affecting the poor and marginalised”.
The Sadc People’s Forum further argued that this situation had seen billionaires’ fortunes ballooning, resulting in “the over-concentration of wealth in the hands of a few” and driving poverty and extreme inequality around the globe.
“Global indications are that a tax of up to 5% on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise US$1,7 trillion a year, enough to lift two trillion people out of poverty. This also holds true for the Sadc region where hundreds of millions are siphoned from our economies and stored in tax havens without any productive use for the people,” suggested the Sadc People’s Forum.
The forum is applauded for pointing out this and standing up to colossal global “bullies” such as WEF, who seem to care very little about the wellbeing of the millions of ordinary people wallowing in abject poverty across the globe.
We, however, urge the Sadc People’s Forum to also turn the heat on African leaders and all the filthy rich individuals who are partaking and facilitating the pilferage of “hundreds of millions ... from our economies (for storage) in tax havens” and leaving behind grinding poverty and widening inequalities, which the same leaders and gleaming rich Africans are promoting everyday.
As an example, the second story in yesterday’s NewsDay aptly drives this point home.
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In that story, Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Daniel Garwe unequivocally and emphatically told ruling party supporters that all government projects will benefit no one else, but those who subscribe to his party’s ideals and dogma.
“We have had a few people complaining that the (government) projects should not benefit Zanu PF youths only. Zimbabwe is Zanu PF and Zanu PF is Zimbabwe, hence projects will go on ... We are not going to be apologetic about handing these projects to Zanu PF youths because we have to take care of those who believe that we can build our country as Zimbabweans,” charged Garwe.
If this does not promote inequality and drive into poverty all those who do not support the ruling party’s way of doing things, then God help us.
When ruling parties and those connected to them act in such a manner, what will stop such institutions as WEF and powerful nations to ride roughshod over the African leaders?
If Africa’s own leaders are being such a bad example by promoting segregation, hate and unfair distribution of national resources, how can we as a continent be able to stand up to global bullies such as WEF and the World Trade Organisation, among others?
Charity begins at home; and Africa needs to do serious soul-searching before it starts whinging about global institutional policies driving poverty on the continent, when the continent breeds and nurtures the worst drivers of poverty and inequality.