There has been an alarming decline in the standards of living, cutting across the social divide with the exception of those previleged to be in positions of authority. This has caused much suffering amongst many, whose average earnings are far below the poverty datum line. There has been a visible implosion in the body politik since the ouster of former leader Robert Mugabe, and a fragmented and unhealthy scenario emerged after the July 30 harmonised elections. The hopes of a "new dispensation" was quickly melted by the rising cost of public transport and all basic commodities, the shortage of fuel, essential drugs, and cash coupled with hyperinflation.
Medical doctors and their counterparts in the health sector staged a month long job action that crippled the health delivery system and exposed many to what we see as state facilitated genocide. It is not untrue that many of our citizens succumbed to their ailments due to lack of attention, and where they were attended to, medication was unavailable. This week, educators are also threatening government with strike action if their plight is not addressed. The current industrial action is against unsustainable remunaration, poor infrastructure, inadequate resources, and violations of the social contract, and in some cases lack of implementer capacity. What is saddening is a deliberate misplacement of priorities with government positively discriminating against its own employees. A case in point is the Delta Beverages issue where government declared it had capacity to assist the beverages giant to offset its production costs, while claiming incapacity when it comes to financing its own service delivery.
The most disturbing thing to the majority of Zimbabweans is that the leadership in government are not affected at all by what is happening. When they get a slight chill they rush abroad for medication. Their children also receive education abroad or at private schools where the standards are high. To the generality of the Citizenry, this attitude is viewed as a calculated decimation of the electorate in favour of the status quo- the perpetuation of a ruling elitist dynasty!
We were also buffled and astonished by the behaviour of parliament whom we voted into office. They never represented the workers in the august house concerning the obtaining situation, but they had what the media described as "a rare moment of unity" when fighting for their personal gains and threatened not to pass this year's budget. They even demanded three caurse meals and a gymnasium, when the ordinary person cannot afford to have a single meal per day, and when the general populace has no other means but to walk instead of commuting ( because of poverty and skyrocketing fares). We spur our representatives to have emphathy for the people who voted for them. They must put the electorate first before their personal gains.
As National Reclamation Assembly, we make the following recommendations and encourage the ZANU PF government to:-
1) focus on people's needs and strive to find a solution to this ailing economy which is in the Intensive Care Unit. It is suggested that critical services should be substantially funded to improve service delivery in line with regional and international standards and conventions;
2) to have dialogue with their political rivals in order to break this impasse which is hitting hard on ordinary Zimbabweans. It is further noted that the inclusion of other political players in matters of governance will usher in confidence and capitalisation of the governmental machinery. It will save the nation from degenarating into a total failed State;
4) do away with the bond note, and re-introduce viable currencies like what happened in 2009. It appears inconsistent and uninformed for government to budget in one currency (USD) and undertakes to transact that budget in another currency (Bond and RTGS) while asking all remittances to the same fiscal pocket in the former and not the national transactional currency! Because our budget was drawn un USD, the only sensible thing to do is to transact the budget in the currency from which it was drawn. Our call as citizens is DEMONITIZE the surrogate currency!;
5) streamline its line ministries and foreign missions and maintain staff in core ministries which provide critical services and devolve other activities to provincial governments;
6) ensure that critical institutions like health and education are well equipped and resourced as they are crucial for human survival. Personnel in these institutions should be given primus inter pares status ahead of defence and other service personnel;
7) to treat citizens as the owners of the national resources and that government should account to the people in a truthful and honest manner, and
8) to desist from the heavy handedness it demonstrated on the 1st August 2018, and should tolerate being criticised and challenged without the involvement of the military in civilian affairs. In the same vain it is suggested that government should demilitarise civilian institutions.
As a patriotic organisation, we expect our position to be taken seriously and be incorporated. We look forward to witnessing a broader consultation and engagement initiative that is electorate friendly and nationally progressive.
Advocate Walter Nyabadza is a Zimbabwean Human Rights and Constitutional lawyer; Legal Advisor for the National Reclamation Assembly and Writer.
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