Mugabe out of touch with reality

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is irked by comments made by President Mugabe on the occasion of the country’s 36th Independence Day commemorations on 18 April 2016 that the economy is on the rebound yet it is in a phenomenal meltdown.

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

The statement goes to show how out of touch with reality the President has become.
His comments are an insult to the millions of Zimbabweans who are living from hand to mouth as a result of the economic collapse, which Mugabe and his cronies have engineered for the past 36 years. If anything the economy is in a recession as it continues to post negative growth.

To put things into perspective, the GDP per capita for Zimbabwe in 1980 was at a high of US$916.29 and after 36 years of ruinous rule it stands at a miserable US$230.00 and it is still going down. In the 1980s the average economic growth rate was 7% per annum and industrial capacity utilization was at 83% with the country being the second most industrialized country in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa.

At independence, Zimbabwe produced adequate food to feed itself and the rest of the region. Zimbabwean beef fetched competitive prices in the prime markets of Europe and generated massive foreign currency for the economy. During the same period, the country had solid gold reserves which stabilized the currency.

State enterprises were efficient and thriving with parastatals like NRZ, ZUPCO, and Air Zimbabwe being the pride of the nation and blood veins of a thriving economy. Public infrastructure such as roads, public parks and government buildings were in good condition and some of the best in the developing world.
So good was Zimbabwe’s economic prospects that the then President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere famously remarked to the newly elected Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe, that “this is the jewel of Africa. Keep it.”

36 years later the jewel of Africa has become a basket case of poverty, oppression, squalor, desperation and hopelessness all because of Mugabe’s misplaced priorities. Zimbabwe has become the corruption capital of Africa being ranked 150 out of 175 countries in the Corruption Perception index of 2015 and he himself having confessed that Zimbabwe lost a staggering US$15 billion of diamond revenue in corrupt deals by government officials and companies in the Marange diamond fields.

In 2015, economic growth rate was at minus 1.7% and is projected to be minus 3.8% by the end of 2016. Unemployment is standing a shocking 90% with 98% of youths employed in the informal sector. 60% of companies operating in the country in 2010 have since closed shop and these include critical companies like ZIMASCO, Sable Chemicals, David Whitehead to mention just a few.

State enterprises have become a haven for corruption, primitive accumulation, corporate rot and general mismanagement. The leadership of these is characterized by patronage and breath taking nepotism.
The parastatals have been making super loses under Mugabe’s moribund leadership with many of them such NRZ which has turned to be the biggest museum in the world, Air Zimbabwe, ZUPCO, GMB, Telone, Netone, ZESA and CSC on the brink of total collapse and laden by huge debts.

All these entities continue to hemorrhage millions from the fiscus as Mugabe’s government is keen to keep them operational as they are havens for perpetuating patronage and to provide cover for looting state resources via a discredited tendering system.

The social indicators are appalling and a true testimony of Mugabe’s failed leadership. 83% of Zimbabweans now live on less then US$1 per day, maternal mortality rate is at 614 deaths per 100 000 births and service delivery in most cities and towns has collapsed. In addition to all this, Zimbabwe has become a net food importer and requiring to import 1.2 metric tonnes of maize this year alone in order to feed 3.5 million people at a cost of US$1.5 billion.

This is the sad reality Zimbabwe finds itself in and for Mugabe to say that the economy is on the rebound betrays how clueless he is on economic matters.

Furthermore it confirms what we in the PDP have always long argued that he is now senile and thus unfit to continue holding the office of president.

We once again make our call that Zimbabwe needs a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to stabilize the economy, spearhead political reforms and deliver hope to the people of Zimbabwe who have endured 36 long years of suffering under Mugabe’s misrule.

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