A nation once regarded as an economic power house in the Sub Saharan continent considered to be the bread basket of the African continent has had its fair share of tribulations on the political scene which has resulted in it becoming a symbol of ridicule, shame and contempt by the international community in the manner in which it has failed to resolve the political impasse that has been in existence for the past decade or so.
By: Pauline Nyikadzino.
The post-election period of 2008 when the three parties contesting decided to come together and reconcile with the objective of putting the nation`s interest at heart has had incessant drawbacks of bickering, power struggles and political immaturity. This has left some of the ordinary men on the street in utter despair as the nation has waited in vain for the improvement in the basic service delivery systems. Although it can be appreciated that the new Unity government inherited an extremely battered economy which saw a global record inflation rising to astronomical proportions than any country has ever had to endure, some few positives can however be pointed out in terms of the introduction of the multi currency regime that has seen goods and services stabilizing, for example since the introduction of the multi currency, transport fares now cost about R5/$0.70 compared to the 2008 phenomenon when fares went up four to five times a week. The basic food commodities have also seized to rise and are now seen on the shelves in reasonable and quite affordable prices.
There have been a few fluctuations in terms of political violence which had been on the decrease and in some cases totally non-existent but now begun to resurface in a few areas reported by government and independent media. I have however, noted serious reservations on the credibility of both state and private media in the sense that they both seem to be pushing different agendas rather than reporting the true facts on the ground. This can be seen in the manner that the same story of political significance is considered so to get to the crux of the matter concerning politics in Zimbabwe, one needs to read both state and private media to make a detailed analysis on what exactly is going on which I find preposterous to say the least.
The socio-economic scenario in the country is in dire straights by my own opinion, though inflation has gone under the 10% mark, it is interesting to note that the buying power of the ordinary Zimbabwean still remains marginally low as there have been no improvements in terms of employment opportunities which is still pegged at well over 80%, a figure unsustainable for any economy to survive under any circumstances as most of those fortunate enough to find jobs are taxed unimaginably high. The threshold for those that are exempt from tax is pegged at around $250 and it is however interesting to note that the average family of six needs over $450 plus, just to be over the poverty datum line. This therefore begs the question that if a person earning just over $250 per month is expected to commute to work every day, buy groceries, pay utilities, send their kids to school and at the same time be the only earner within the household, their income at the end of the day is so significantly depleted that one wonders how are they survive on such a measly income?.
The political front over the past year has also been marred by a deepening confusion as to whether elections will be held this year or in 2012. The confusion has not only restricted itself to elections as all the three political parties have been involved in both inter and intra political squabbles. What remains fresh in the minds of the ordinary folk is the brutal killings that took place during that dark period on the Zimbabwean calendar. What makes the situation even more precarious is the stance taken by Zanu PF to try to force elections this year whilst the opposition MDC is pulling in the opposite direction by insisting that elections cannot be held until certain issues stipulated in the GPA are fully met. We all wonder in deep confusion as to the verdict of the contradictory remarks by the political parties.
Our constant reliance on borrowing continue to cripple the economy as we fail to pull ourselves from perpetual debt, corruption within the government continues to take its toll, for instance the diamond mining industry which has been marked in controversy since the finding of the lucrative mineral in the Manicaland region a couple of years back. Top government officials have usurped the control of these mines and now control these particular mines, clandestine dealings have continued to take place as the government struggles to regulate the industry that might pull us out of the woods. There is also the economic empowerment programme that stipulates that any company that wants to conduct business in Zimbabwe should hold a 49% stake in the shareholding capacity with the remaining 51% being locally owned. As noble an idea as it sounds, the fact on the ground is that only a few already affluent members of society are able to make investments of such magnitude with the highly selective application of who is better affiliated to the government officials. Some of these rampant and prominent prejudices of selecting along party lines have resulted in overwhelming reluctance among the international community as they feel apprehensive about making such risky business moves in a potentially volatile nation.
it saddens me as I look into the future of this country and fail to see a silver lining within the dark cloud, or even a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, why?, all aspects of the nation that boosted our economy such as agriculture have dismally failed through the much disputed agrarian reform exacerbated by the irregular rainfall patterns that have been experienced in the past half a decade. Tourism also fails to gunner enough strength as the government frantically tries to resuscitate this once lucrative sector, the failure to address the human rights abuses continues to hamper the improvement of this sector as the influx of tourists rely on issues of human rights. A lot still needs to be done if this nation is to revive this nation to its former glory, all we can do is hope and pray that one day our leaders find a way to put their differences aside and put the interest of the nation at heart.
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