By Nelson Chamisa
IT is now clear that Zimbabwe’s crisis has reached the tipping point. The current shortage of electricity has affected major institutions includi
ng our hospitals, schools and universities, industry is now operating at less than 10% capacity and household property has been damaged by thee intermittent power outages.
Preparations for the farming season, especially irrigation, have been severely hampered by power shortages, further denting the already unlikely prospect of an expedient recovery to our battered economy.
Seventy-five percent of the suburbs have been without electricity for more than three months. Elsewhere, basic commodities are either in short supply or are available at much higher prices than the ordinary man can afford.
Bread is now equivalent to gold in scarcity, if not worse. Schools have collapsed while the health sector has been severely crippled by the brain drain, lack of medicines and the power shortages which have played havoc with our collapsing economy.
Ten percent of those who are still in employment are walking to work because of lack of transport. Fuel stations remain dry and long queues have become a permanent spectacle. Civil servants are still grappling with low salaries as the recent “increments” cannot even last them for five days.
An average worker from Chitungwiza needs $12 million in transport alone every month, against an average salary of $5 million. Workers are spending 80% of their productive time in queues in search of basic commodities.
To compound the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, the regime continues to murder, to maim, to assault, to intimidate and to arrest members of the opposition, students and civic society. The politics of the sword remains Zanu PF’s catchword. In the rural areas, our parents, brothers and sisters are starving due to food shortages. Over four million Zimbabweans need food assistance. Zanu PF continues to use food as a political weapon and for sloganeering. Our parents are walking for long distances due to lack of transport in scenes reminiscent of the pre-1980 Rhodesian era.
The MDC calls upon all Zimbabweans to rise beyond their political affiliations and say no to this chaos. Let’s unite across tribe and race, across religious and social standing and demand the immediate return of our lost dignity. IWe have to take our plight in our own hands.
The regime is looking inwards instead of focusing on the endemic crisis besetting the nation. They are not worried about our suffering. They are busy with their factional fights ahead of the Zanu PF extra-ordinary congress in December.
* Nelson Chamisa is MDC secretary for information and publicity.