via Time to reflect – DailyNews Live 18 APRIL 2014
Zimbabwe today celebrates 34 years of independence but there is little hope for the future in a country quickly receding into recession after three decades of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited an economy and infrastructure development described as a “Jewel of Africa” by the late president of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
The country recorded its strongest post-independence growth performance between 1980 and 1990 with gross domestic product (GDP) growing by an average of 5,5 percent that contributed to significant investments in the enablers.
However, the economy contracted by over 50 percent between 2000 and 2008 due to a combination of factors, including economic mismanagement, poor governance mainly arising from weaknesses in the rule of law, the concomitant loss of support from the international community, capital flight, and low investment.
Although the formation of the inclusive government in 2009 brought a modicum of normalcy in the economy, poverty levels are slowly spiralling out of control since Zanu PF won last year’s harmonised elections.
As celebrations to mark 34 years of Independence will be held at all centres across the country, there is need for everyone to pause for a moment and reflect on whether we still have anything to celebrate for at all.
What’s there to celebrate if we are now worse off than we were in 1980 in terms of economic well-being? What’s there to celebrate when unemployment rate is high? Do we have to celebrate company closures? Do we have to celebrate atrocious social and health service deliveries?
We believe that society celebrates events that have resulted in or led to a considerable degree of development and progress — events that mark the commencement of a change from an unpleasant situation to a pleasant one.
In other words, society celebrates occurrences that have brought about significant successes and not those that have triggered substantial failures.
Independence Day celebrations would have perhaps been meaningful and justifiable if Zimbabwe’s current economy was bigger and better than, or at least on a par with the various regional economies.
However, all the testimonies and other evidences demonstrate that the financial, economic and infrastructural conditions that Zimbabwe has been finding itself in since independence have been far worse than those witnessed and experienced before independence.
If that is the case, then what are we celebrating as a nation?
The answer is obvious: Diametric failure; and this undoubtedly makes us a laughing stock, an object of mockery and a pathetic human entity from the perspective of the colonialists and our regional peers.