THE catfights in Zanu PF where senior party officials are tearing at each other would have been a source of great amusement had the consequences of their actions not been so tragic.
The verbiage on display, when Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa attack each other or when Moyo and presidential spokesperson George Charamba trade verbal blows or even when Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao castigates Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, impresses no one especially coming from ministers of a government that is clueless as to how to tackle the numerous challenges facing the nation. That ministers find time to rant about women’s underwear at a time when nearly three million people are facing starvation and companies are closing at an alarming rate among a plethora of serious challenges, is a grave insult to Zimbabweans whom they purport to serve.
Only this week, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) revealed that net revenue collections for last year fell by 3% in comparison to 2014. Zimra missed its annual tax collection targets for 2015 by US$220 million from US$3,76 billion to US$3,5 billion, showing fiscal space is shrinking.
Companies and individuals are struggling to pay outstanding tax liabilities to government and are sinking deeper in arrears, the tax collector pointed out this week.
The revenue authority update for the year ended December 31 2015 shows that Zimbabwean companies are feeling the pinch of economic challenges such as negative foreign investor perception and tight liquidity conditions that have forced some players out of business with those remaining struggling to stay afloat and unable to pay their tax obligations.
This has predictably resulted in Chinamasa failing to pay civil servants’ salaries timeously. That government failed to pay December salaries before Christmas and will stagger the payment of bonuses for last year for a period of three months speaks of a desperate situation that threatens to get out of hand. Worsening an already dire economic situation in a country with 90% unemployment levels are reports that several firms failed to re-open after the Christmas holidays.
According to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) acting secretary-general Gideon Shoko, several companies in the textiles and food industries failed to re-open in 2016, leading to more than 400 employees losing their jobs. In addition, another 20 companies have applied to the Retrenchment Board to be exempted from paying retrenchment packages in January this year. These are serious problems one would expect the government to be sinking their teeth into. Unfortunately they choose to bare their fangs at each other at the expense of finding solutions to the conundrum the nation faces.
Instead the government’s focus is on personalities and about which camp one belongs to. The country’s citizens do not deserve such an unpleasant regime which continues to hang around like suffocating smog and who are insensitive to their plight.
If anything the obsession on the politics of succession at the expense of national interest, is a clear indication of Zanu PF’s failure in government and shows that President Robert Mugabe has lost control of the party.
So if the centre of power in Zanu PF no longer holds, how then do Zimbabweans expect President Robert Mugabe, who turns 92 in a fortnight, to be still full in charge of government and running the country?
What is tragic is Mugabe insisting, he will rule until “God says come, but as long as I am alive I will head the country, forward ever, backward never.” Unfortunately with Mugabe in power it will be the reverse.
Forward never, backward ever.