BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
A COALITION of civic groups under the banner Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe (FiaZimbabwe) has expressed concern over inequality in the country, and called on government to implement pro-poor policies.
In a statement yesterday, FiaZimbabwe said inequality was now deep-rooted and negatively affecting the lives of the majority of Zimbabweans while a few elite individuals accumulated wealth.
“Inequality is on the rise. It has become a deep-rooted aspect of Zimbabwean life that unfairly divides Zimbabweans across classes, religions, sex and generations,” the coalition said.
“Foremost among these are the gender and regional inequalities which relegate millions of Zimbabweans to poverty by virtue of being born in a poorer region or sex.”
FiaZimbabwe is a broad-based network of 18 social movements, women’s rights groups, faith-based organisations, labour unions and individuals.
It said accumulation of wealth by a few resulted in the transfer of public wealth and economic opportunities into private hands at the expense of the majority of citizens.
“These transfers have often been accomplished through high levels of debt accumulation, austerity measures, privatisation, market deregulation, and massive tax avoidance.”
FiaZimbabwe said this had resulted in half of the population falling into poverty over the last decade, with the current World Bank figures indicating that 7,9 million Zimbabweans were currently living in extreme poverty.
It said the 2022 national budget was a missed opportunity to address the macro-economic challenges of poverty and inequality in the country.
“This shows failure by the State to intercede for the poor. In addition, the United Nations (UN) revealed that no country in the world has achieved gender equality in politics and other sectors with regards to the gender inequalities in Zimbabwe despite the fact that the government had made progress in ensuring that the constitutional provisions on the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality were prioritised as part of its development agenda.”
FiaZimbabwe urged government to abandon austerity measures, facilitate robust wealth redistribution and abolish unjust tax incentives to foreign investors among other interventions.