IT is nearly 100 days since the elections –– 86 in fact –– which saw a transfer of power back to its original incumbents who promised us the world if we voted for them.
Candid Comment with Iden Wetherell
Indeed, the enduring legacy of President Robert Mugabe’s electoral triumph was change. So it is pertinent to ask: what has changed?
Last week we carried a report by the National Social Security Authority detailing company closures in Harare for the period July 2011 to July 2013 rendering 8 336 individuals jobless.
So while the main focus of Zanu PF’s campaign was the creation of 2,2 million jobs and the revival of Bulawayo, thousands were being laid off in the capital as the economy sunk.
Companies with household names such as Spar, Dairibord, Cairns and Olivine were retrenching workers, so were major companies such as Zimplats, Unki, Bindura Nickel and PG Industries. The total came to over 711 firms.
Trade unions said their members had experienced intensifying problems since the beginning of the year with Zimplats platinum mine alone retrenching close to 2 500 employees.
Following Zanu PF’s victory there has been little or no sign of resuscitation in the economy.
Companies continue to close. And the source of the problem is lack of confidence. Foreign investors will not put their money in Zimbabwe so long as damaging policies such as indigenisation persist.
While workers have been laid off, MPs have been pampered with top-of-the-range vehicles.
A new initiative –– ZimAsset –– has been launched with a glowing foreword by Mugabe, but what will stick in the minds of potential investors will be the president’s remarks at the UN General Assembly session in New York where he made it clear he was on the warpath against Britain and the United States, the very countries he needs to cultivate good relations with.
Seasoned observers will recall earlier initiatives beginning with Esap which were similarly ditched by their owners.
To be fair there have been some reforms. Land invasions are now frowned upon and there seems to be an improved commitment to upholding the rule of law.
The president’s remarks denouncing corruption and promising to take action have been widely welcomed but similar remarks in the past have not led to any culprits being brought to book except perhaps in Willowgate.
The fact is some people have become tactlessly wealthy on their modest government salaries.
As the hundred-day mark, a traditional measure of government performance, nears, so will public scrutiny of those in office.
People will recall the extravagant promises and ask what happened.