HomeOpinionPolitical rhetoric won’t avert growing poverty

Political rhetoric won’t avert growing poverty

Muckraker would like to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year. Hope it’s better than the last one.

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Government’s decision to give mobile phone companies six months to phase out recharge cards and kaylite packaging for food is in itself commendable.

However, government also wants a deposit on all beverage containers to give people an incentive to hand them back instead of dumping them.

But in this economic environment, how many of us can fork out more money on a deposit on top of the cost of the beverage?

The best thing to do is to empower the unemployed to collect different types of refuse for remuneration as is done with huge success in South Africa. It’s big business!

Citizens have little regard for the environment and should be educated about the consequences of littering. Fines for littering should be increased as a deterrent as government has said, but it needs to act now.

We have commented before on bureaucrats who sit down to plan what inconveniences they can impose on the populace. We recall the number plate debacle and imposition of radio and TV licences. We certainly don’t need any more Stalinist controls.

Contradiction
Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao has chosen this moment to slam foreigners whom he said would never build Zimbabwe’s economy without strings attached.
Can the 51% indigenisation policy demand build Zimbabwe’s economy? Somehow we don’t think so. Are these the same “foreigners” that built schools, roads, bridges, hospitals, dams (for electricity generation) and a thriving agricultural economy. We do not need foreigners, he said, and people should know how to identify problems and solutions.
What we should be asking ourselves is who created the problems in the first place and what solutions does government or Zhuwao have? He also said foreign direct investment (FDI) was ungodly and falsely creates value. Does God know this?

Void
As if that wasn’t bad enough, here we have Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko spouting off about Gukurahundi, claiming it was engineered by Westerners to protect their economic interests.
He also claims this was a Rhodesian operation. Seriously no-one is buying into this nonsense. It is estimated 20 000 people lost their lives in this operation. It was so obviously an “act of madness” as President Robert Mugabe said.
Misleading people in this way is grossly dishonest when there is so much documentation to prove otherwise.

Confusion
Meanwhile, government on December 24 last year gazetted new measures watering down the controversial Indigenisation Law.
Compliance, we are told, is to improve ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. Really? An indigenisation compliance levy will now be imposed on a sliding scale with grace periods from five to 20 years. Just more confusion to an already confused state of affairs.
Who in their right mind is going to invest their money in a country which takes US$51 out of every US$100 invested for doing nothing in return?
Just look at the performance of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2015, which mirrors the economy in doldrums. The country desperately needs investment and needs to be a part of the world economy. Globalisation is here to stay and the country’s skewed politics and laws are dragging Zimbabwe into the mire.

Impartial
So, Parliament has approved the increase in traffic fines. This, we are told, is to encourage good road user behaviour.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa states that one of the common offences is to proceed against a red robot.
If this is the case, why do the police insist on fining motorists that have proceeded into a robot-controlled intersection on green, but the lights have changed to amber while they are still in the intersection.
Surely to fine someone for this is unfair! Chinamasa also said dropping passengers at undesignated points is a finable offence.
This being the case, could the relevant authority please inform the police at the intersection of Sam Nujoma Street and Herbert Chitepo Avenue that while they are fining motorists going through this intersection on amber, every rule of the road is being broken diagonally opposite them where this part of Sam Nujoma street has been turned into an undesignated bus station, creating a dangerous situation to all road users and pedestrians.
Where does road safety come into this we wonder?

Shutdown
Muckraker strongly believes 2016 is the year of shutdown for Zimbabwe.
Should violent clashes that erupted in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza on Tuesday be treated as a farce when they are a reaction by suppressed citizens to impoverishment? Do these battles also not buttress the strike by teachers’ unions, which unfortunately, government-controlled mouthpieces quickly branded as illegal?
Isn’t it however, well-known demonstrations are only legal when they sympathise with Zanu PF’s tyranny?
Dissent to the ruling party’s skewed hegemony automatically becomes illicit. And should the powers that be ask themselves why youths are incessantly indulging in drug abuse, why the country remains in an economic mess, despite electoral promises made in 2013, and why Zanu PF remains glued to succession fights instead of fighting the real monsters — hunger, unemployment, mismanagement, corruption and poor governance.
The ruling party should simply deliver to avert looming riots.

Reversal path
Could it be possible that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is taking notes from Mugabe on bets to ruin a vibrant economy?
Recently he chided the United States for interfering in domestic politics of his country despite receiving aid and support from that country. By seeking a third term, Kagame risks becoming dictatorial and that may signal the start of the demise of Rwanda’s sound economy.
The problem of altering term limits has proven to be the fatal plague afflicting Africa, leading mostly to civil strife and underdevelopment.
On the contrary, Senegalese President Macky Sall is seeking to set an example for the continent by reducing presidential term limits in his country from seven years to five. This peculiar move should be cherished the same way Tanzanian President Joseph Mugufuli is changing the tone of African politics.
Can Mugabe and his greedy opportunists learn from this modern way of leadership?

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