Gift Phiri 15 March 2017
HARARE – The European Union (EU) has slammed civil society organisations
(CSOs) for turning a blind eye on Zimbabwe’s imploding economy that is
causing untold suffering of the masses.
The union’s envoy to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, pictured, said the CSOs
were all buttoning their lips as they watch the country face a number of
headwinds including a lack of investment flows, crippling cash shortages,
a collapsing health sector and grinding poverty.
This comes at a time masses are increasingly getting hard-pressed and
social problems are more acute than ever, with many getting poorer and
Yet civil society’s outrage is muted.
“The voice of civil society organisations is weak,” Van Damme told civil
society and the media at a discussion forum convened by Misa-Zimbabwe last
“Of course, people speak out notably on human rights issues, but on
developmental issues, and on policy issues, your voice is hardly heard,”
“I do not see much of the debate in the media on policy issues, but I see
a lot of debate on factionalism and speculative politics. But on
developmental issues such as how to address health issues and the
sustainable development goals, I hardly see people putting substantial
This comes after Zimbabwe’s projection of a higher economic growth of 3,7
percent this year, from an initial projection of 1,7 percent on the back
of a better agriculture season, has been rubbished by a leading think-tank
– NKC African Economics.
The Cape Town-based research firm said it still deems its projection for
real GDP to contract by 1,7 percent this year, as appropriate at this
This comes after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told military officers
attending Joint Command and Staff Course Number 30 at Zimbabwe Staff
College on Thursday in Harare, that the agricultural sector is set to
perform strongly on the back of a projected three million tonne grain
crop, the highest since 1984, according to official data.
Chinamasa’s optimistic revision is closer to the World Bank’s forecast of
“That said, in comparison to our own and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF)’s projections, the government and the World Bank are especially
optimistic,” NKC – a subsidiary of UK-based economic advisory firm Oxford
Economics – said.
However, the civil society groups said they wanted to speak out more but
were stifled by the repressive Public Order and Security Act (Posa), used
to smother freedom of expression, association and movement by