SINCE the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe has faced all sorts of problems, particularly economic and political.
It is estimated that millions of Zimbabweans are scattered in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and the United States, among other nations. They all migrated in search of economic freedom.
The genesis of the economic nightmares can be traced back to the land reform programme of early 2000. To address land ownership imbalances – a colonial legacy – was essential but the consequences of the chaotic nature of the land grabs are long term.
This means for the past two decades, the country has battled a myriad of challenges. Currencies have been changed from bearer cheques, Zimbabwe dollar to multi-currency regime, among many others. There has been a lot of backs and forths on the economic front.
This is, without doubt, the hallmark of the Zanu PF government; a good case study of policy inconsistencies. The problem is that in all this dramatic policy confusion, it is the ordinary man that suffers.
Debate is raging on the impact of S127 of 2021. The government wants to contain inflationary pressures by pegging the official foreign currency exchange rate. The results of this are multifaceted, with dire consequences on the consumer as manufacturers and retailers pass on the burden.
In all this, Zanu PF has already slid into an election mode, if the speech by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at this week’s politburo meeting is anything to go by.
Mnangagwa implored his lieutenants to focus on delivering the 2018 promises outlined in the Zanu PF manifesto. While efforts are being made to change things for the better in the economy, a critical review of the performance by the ruling party shows that a lot still needs to be done.
Infrastructure – roads, bridges, railway and hospital facilities – are in bad shape as social amenities remain stagnant. Remuneration of civil servants is equally shambolic with teachers constantly threatening to strike.
In the middle of a debilitating economic implosion, the Zanu PF government splurged funds for the construction of a statue of Mbuya Nehanda. There is certainly nothing amiss with honouring liberation heroes but what is needed is to strike a balance between political expediency and socio-economic development.
Zanu PF is a political animal and it can’t be crucified for angling to garner votes in the 2023 elections. But in its quest to retain power, the party should implement the same energy in solving economic challenges as it does towards consolidating political power.
The same people whom Zanu PF expects to get votes from, have needs which the government is responsible for, especially stabilising the economy to secure consumers’ buying power. Prices of commodities are spiraling, eroding the low salaries earned by most workers. At this rate, the upper-middle income economy status by 2030 can only remain a pipedream.