Representatives of CSOs who spoke to The Zimbabwean said the country had already witnessed some indictors that all would not be well in the new year.
“As a statement of intent and expenditure, a country’s budget is the key to investment. The mere fact that the government has been unable to make the budget available in time means that all is not well with our economy,” said Thabani Nyoni, Bulawayo Agenda executive director. “The delay in the announcement of the budget has obviously dampened the confidence of investors.”
Nyoni said more and more people were likely to lose their jobs next year because Zimbabwe had become a nation of importers rather that exporters.
“Most of our industries need new technology for them to be revived,” said Nyoni.
He predicted that, although Zanu (PF) would be under immense pressure from the electorate to fulfil its election promises, the economy would continue to deteriorate because of mismanagement and government policy inconsistency, especially on the indigenisation programme.
The director also said that the impact of Zanu (PF)’s local authorities debt cancellation directive was likely to take its toll more severely in 2014.
Zimrights National chair Pastor Everson Ndlovu said, next year, the government was likely to be willing to engage the CSOs and other stakeholders previously deemed hostile to the government. “The new constitution has set the tone for a fair and more democratic Zimbabwe. What is left is the alignment of all the repressive laws with the new constitution. I think the time has come for NGOs to start engaging with the government and other stakeholders including the general populace,” said Ndlovu.
He said his organisation was also happy that the government had set up the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), despite controversy surrounding the composition of the commission.
“We hope the commission will address all the issues of human rights abuses, including the Kukurahundi atrocities. We believe this is a positive development,” said Ndlovu.
He added that his organisation was also advocating for the incorporation of human rights issues in the school curriculum.
The executive director of Radio Dialogue, Debra Mabunda, said as long as there were no major changes in the country’s leadership, nothing would change in 2014. “A leopard does not change its spots. For us as a country to go forward, we need to start addressing issues such as the rule of the law and revamping some of our institutions such as the police and the judiciary. The government has to deal decisively with deteriorating service delivery issues in the health and education sectors,” said Mabunda.
She said the government was likely to continue with its sanction mania, using it as an excuse whenever it failed to deliver. Mbuso Fuzwayo, the secretary of Ibetshu likhazulu, a Bulawayo-based pressure group also predicted a very difficult year ahead.
“I think the government crackdown on civil organisations and defenders will spill into 2014. Now that Zanu (PF) has won the elections, the party is likely to descend on individuals or organisations perceived to be a threat to the party’s re-election in 2018,” said Fuzwayo.
He urged CSOs to continue doing their work despite harassment and intimidation.Post published in: News