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Don’t just pay lip service

OVER 85% of Zimbabwe’s working class are living under the poverty datum line while a significant number of the unemployed have resorted to crime.

This is because

of government’s failure to control the escalating unwarranted prices of basic commodities, high tax rates and a fruitless economic reform programme.

Where on earth have you seen a person venturing in a business that he does not know? And when he finds out that the business is unable to makes a profit, he just raises the prices of his commodities or services in order to be viable?

In Zimbabwe it is normal. The government fails dismally to control such business people yet in normal circumstances you only venture into a business when you know it is going to be viable.

Most working class families are unable to have two decent meals a day, buy new clothes, pay for the education of their children and many more basics in life such as health.

If the employed cannot make ends meet, what of the unemployed?

Here we are talking of a government that has no unemployment benefit schemes, whose education policy is that one must pay, or detain the newly-born child if you fail to pay the hospital bill. A government whose prisons are full of people who have committed crimes out of desperation to survive in these harsh economic times. A government faced with corruption, bribery, robbery, thuggery and has no control measures to stop this. A sorry state of affairs where life continues without specific direction.

Imagine a clerk in an industrial company in the capital city of Harare earning $600 000 a month. He takes a bus to town from Ruwa costing him $2 000 and another to the industrial sites at $1 000 and his lunch of $4 000. It costs him $10 000 a day. For 22 days a month he needs $220 000 for bus fare and lunch. At home, his rent is $200 000 for three rooms and in addition he shares electricity and water charges with others.

He also needs to buy 20 kgs mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar, salt, vegetables for not less than $200 000. Already, this has surpassed his earnings without other basics such as school fees, hospital fees, bread, milk or even once a month kilogram of meat to eat.

He can’t afford to buy an ice cream or even a sweet for his own child. The economic reform programmes are only geared to keep the arms of government running while the majority of the people are suffering.

There have never been as many dwelling shacks in Zimbabwe’s cities and towns as you will find today. This is a testimony that things have fallen apart in Zimbabwe. Yes, really fallen apart.

The number of people living in the streets has increased so much that it needs people who have got the welfare of the nation as a whole to rehabilitate them.

Failure to rehabilitate the people in the streets will eventually lead to uncontrolled lawlessness.

There is also an increase in the number of mentally ill persons who roam the streets. Honestly, the majority of them are suffering from stress because of abject poverty, rejection and seeing no prospects of ever securing employment at all.

The shocking truth about life in Zimbabwe is that the majority of people who can afford decent meals and drive cars are those involved in shady deals. In other words what it means is that some people are breaking the law, not because they want to but are doing it in order to survive or have a decent living.

Government’s huge spending and the inefficient departments and parastatals is the cause of our runaway inflation. In order to reduce inflation, government must act and not just pay lip service.

Richard Chitumba,


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