Let us read some reports in yesterday’s Zimbabwe newspapers.
Some expecting mothers have petitioned the country’s parliament over the lack of adequate, easily accessible, and affordable maternity facilities in the capital city of Harare – due to the closure of nine clinics that offered postnatal health care and other related services – whereby, they allege that the few available centres are demanding between US$40 and US$50 to receive assistance.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Zimbabweans are still encountering unbearable challenges in acquiring new passports – as they are forced to spend nights queuing at issuing offices, but are referred from one office to another, in never-ending processes, for travel documents that they will most likely never receive any time soon.
It is believed that over 105 houses were destroyed by the recent tropical cyclone Ana, in Manicaland province – as well as schools, and bridges – leaving hundreds of families stranded in Nyanga, Buhera, and Chimanimani…this occuring when hundreds more families are still to be availed permanent dwellings after the terrifying destruction of cyclone Idai some three years ago.
All this on top of perennial electricity outages that are reportedly threatening any envisioned economic growth for this year – and, to add insult to injury, many towns and cities in Zimbabwe have had no tap water for what appears an eternity
I could go and on with headlines in various media outlets just over the past day – but, I am sure a grim picture has already been clearly painted, as to the dire and unenviable situation that most Zimbabweans are faced with on a day to day basis.
Yet, I am pretty sure, some of these seemingly unsurmountable problems can be solved, practically overnight, by a cash injection of ZW$500 million.
What, however, did we also read in the newspapers yesterday?
Oh yes, that the government of Zimbabwe, under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, was giving away ZW$500 million both to the ruling ZANU PF, and the court-created pseudo-opposition MDC-T (or, MDC Alliance, or whatchamacallit) parties.
Indeed, one could justifiably ask why that should be a problem, since such a move was made in terms of the laws of the country – and, would, arguably, strengthen democracy in the country.
Well, that would certainly make a lot of sense.
However, this country is not run by pre-programmed robots – that work in strict adherence to set codes and instructions, regardless of any other circumstances that may occur.
Even within a home, if the father, mother, and children have set and predetermined agreed allowances awarded to them on a regular basis – should such a formula be necessarily religiously adhered to, notwithstanding other more pressing matters, and emergencies, cropping up, which may demand sacrificing the said allowances?
When there are schools without sufficient educational provisions, and personal protection equipment (PPEs) to protect our children and teachers against COVID-19 – due to inadequate funding – would this political parties’ money not be a huge help?
Can we not use it to attend to the urgent needs of pregnant mothers – who do not have adequate affordable, easily accessible pre and postnatal health care facilities?
How far can ZW$500 million go in alleviating perennial water challenges in some of our urban areas?
As a matter of fact, interestingly, just imagine how much ZW$500 million can help families that lost their houses during the recent cyclones Ana, and Idai, as well as help rebuild their livelihoods.
With a country teetering on the brink of economic collapse, can it be wise for our scarce financial resources to be channeled towards political parties – who, by their voluntary organization nature, can mobilize funds from various sources, including their supposed huge membership bases?
Zimbabwe has so many challenges caused by a lack of financial resources, and funding political parties should be the last thing on our priority list.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org