IT’S depressing to imagine the government of Zimbabwe has had the impudence to hike the value-added tax (VAT) from 15% to 17,5% at a time when we are already taxed to death by a plethora of hards
hips courtesy of our incompetent leadership.
In essence the hike in the tax is a spike in our spending power at a time what we are getting slave pittances from our employers. Literally, the curator is now sitting right in our pockets – we are insolvent!
While we have become used to the government’s indifference to the plight of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe, it becomes worrying when the taxpayers just accept the imposition of massive taxes on us by a leadership that cares not a bit.
This is the time we wish Morgan Tsvangirai were still at the helm of the now toothless Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). In the late 90s Tsvangirai led a series of mass strikes that saw the government capitulating and agreeing to cut down the then sales tax from 17,5% to 15%.
Today we have a ZCTU leadership whose preoccupation seems to be battling for relevance within the organisation instead of fighting for the rights and emancipation of the distressed and oppressed worker.
The $7 million that the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six now needs for basic goods per month, I’m afraid, is far less than even a single person now requires to survive.
That figure certainly doesn’t factor in the fuel price hike and its ripple effects. Only this week, bread prices more than doubled while we no longer have the luxury to look at other basics such as milk.
The ill-thought-out Operation Murambatsvina has not done us any good as rentals have skyrocketed as demand for housing escalated to unprecedented levels.
With the way everything is going, it’s not long before statisticians revise their estimates of over 70% unemployed people in Zimbabwe. With some people earning a gross of $2 million per month – enough only to transport one who stays in Chitungwiza to and fro work in Harare – the only sensible thing would be to give up that employment.
We have now plumbed the depths of despair as workers. How long shall we suffer while funding a heartless regime through taxing tithes?
Should we call for Tsvangirai’s return to the ZCTU? Well, of course Tsvangirai has grown bigger than the worker’s union and is now most people’s hope as redemption from all the crises bedevilling Zimbabwe is concerned.
It’s unfortunate the government, in its wisdom or lack of it, found it necessary to impose draconian laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) to curtail any demonstrations against its cruelty. Yes, cruelty is what the taxes imposed on us are.
But it would be outright dereliction of duty if the ZCTU leaders were to fold their hands and say they can’t do anything on behalf of the workers because of Posa. The government can still be engaged in other ways that will make them realise how unfair and cruelly it is treating us the workers.
Either way we are suffering. We can’t go on like this and the workers – whose taxes ensure President Robert Mugabe, his family and cronies live happily – deserve better.
Don’t tell us “Tsvangirai’s” targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his hierarchy are to blame. Or that Tony Blair is the master of our suffering.
We are not that daft after all to swallow that gibberish hook, line and sinker.