Tendai Kamhungira 19 April 2017
HARARE – Zimbabweans from all walks of life yesterday bemoaned the
wretched life that they continue to endure under President Robert Mugabe
and his warring Zanu PF’s misrule of the past 37 years of the country’s
independence from Britain.
This comes as Zimbabwe’s economy continues to die – as manifested by
rising poverty levels and joblessness, as well as the worsening cash
crisis which has heightened fears that the country could soon hit the
disastrous lows of 2008.
Many of the people who spoke to the Daily News said the prevailing
economic situation in the country was making it difficult for them to
appreciate the country’s independence.
“The political independence we got has to a large extent been derailed
because it is only a few people who are benefitting from it in terms of
employment. Everything went wrong after independence.
“After 1980, the wealth of the country was not shared equitably, with
those in power sharing everything with their cronies.
“There is general economic paralysis while service delivery is very poor.
That is the reason why people are not happy. Things are just not working
at all,” former Cabinet minister and liberation struggle stalwart, Rugare
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC also accused Mugabe and Zanu PF
of “completely ruining” a once prosperous economy through corruption and
their destructive policies.
“Although we achieved political independence, we have dismally failed to
build a united nation. On the economic front, it has been a disastrous 37
years because we have seen Zimbabwe degenerating from being the bread
basket of southern Africa into a basket case, where more than 75 percent
of the population is living in abject poverty.
“We have also allowed corruption to take root in all the facets of our
lives. Going forward, we should strive to unite the people by seeking to
build strong institutions as opposed to building strong personalities,”
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News.
Zimbabwe is currently deep in the throes of a ginormous economic crisis
which has seen tens of thousands of desperate ordinary citizens besieging
banks on a daily basis seeking to withdraw their money.
The shortages of cash have since forced the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
to set the maximum limit for cash-back facilities by retailers and
wholesalers at $20, as authorities desperately try to mitigate the
At the same time, economists have told the Daily News that poverty levels
in the country are skyrocketing, with average incomes now at their lowest
levels in more than 60 years – and with more than 76 percent of the
country’s families now having to make do with pitiful incomes that are
well below the poverty datum line of more than $500.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) political
commissar, Francis Nhando, said yesterday that “the tragedy of Zimbabwe”
was that when Mugabe was elected the country’s leader in 1980, he had
allegedly continued to use Rhodesian policies.
“People misinterpreted what (the late Rhodesian prime minister Ian) Smith
meant when he said not in a 1 000 years.
“What he actually meant is that the interests of black people would not be
achieved in a thousand years and that the interests of white people would
continue to reign.
“As things stand, we have a perpetuation of the … Smith rule. This is
why you will never see white people in bank queues or in kombis (commuter
omnibuses), or in high density suburbs … which all means that we are
still living in the Smith era,” Nhando said.
Mugabe – the only leader that Zimbabweans have ever known since the
country got its independence from Britain in 1980 – stands accused of
ruining the once-vibrant economy through bad policies.