President Robert Mugabe was today due to give a State of the Nation Address (Sona) with the nation in a worse off state than it was at his last speech.
Source: Mugabe should admit failure – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016
Comment: NewsDay Editor
In the past year, he has harped on a 10-point plan that never really took off and ZimAsset, which even the most sycophantic of Zanu PF supporters will agree has been an outright failure.
What Mugabe has to concede that his policies over the past year have been an absolute disaster and only from such an acknowledgement of failure can he try and come up with something that may work.
Instead of stubbornly ploughing on with failed policies, Mugabe needs a more pragmatic approach.
In the past, he has rubbished plans to cut the civil service salary wage bill, but he has to accept this is now beyond him and this is a reality that he has to accept, rather than stick with populism when the country is begging for realism.
While Mugabe would want to maintain the civil service at its size for political reasons, Zimbabwe cannot sustain that wage bill and the recently-introduced bond notes cannot cover the gap left by a reduction in tax collections.
By continuing with a bloated civil service, Mugabe is actually worsening the economic situation and being the author of the country’s economic demise.
Suspending civil servants’ bonuses is a no-brainer, the economy cannot afford it. Government workers will feel the pinch, but they too realise the state of the economy and would accept that, as most workers in the private sector have.
Mugabe should also address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, where police officers and, in some cases, the military have been accused of using force to crush dissent.
Freedoms of speech and association continue to be violated willy-nilly in an effort to keep this government in power, but surely after signing the Constitution into law three short years ago, Mugabe must feel a tinge of guilt each time people’s rights are trampled upon.
Mugabe’s speech should also touch on corruption, although we are not holding our breaths on this, as he has shown a stunning propensity for paying lip service to the vice.
Underhand deals, nepotism and corruption are the hallmarks of Mugabe’s time in power and they have contributed immensely to dragging this country down.
Mugabe and his ministers’ relatives get all the plush jobs and tenders and little consideration is being given for capacity and ability.
This has seen millions of dollars being lost to shoddy and incomplete deals.
Mugabe has a lot to touch on during this year’s Sona, but as usual, we expect the speech to be heavy on rhetoric and populism and very light on substance.