2017: Zimbabwe’s journey to nowhere continues

The year 2016 proved to be a tough one for the majority of Zimbabweans who were definitely hoping for the best but certainly got the worst.

A spiralling unemployment rate as a result of company closures ad lack of Foreign Direct Investments relegated many Zimbabweans into abject poverty.

The few remaining companies could not afford to pay their workers on time due to a liquidity crunch as well as low production levels.

Policy inconsistency and failure to put in place investor friendly policies meant that the Zimbabwean economy, suffering from the much needed Foreign Direct Investments continued on a free fall.

The country’s Indigenization policy which compels foreign-owned firms to cede majority shareholding to locals coupled with corruption proved to be among the biggest obstacles to the growth of the Zimbabwean economy.

The looting of national resources for personal gain by the political elite worsened the situation. On the other hand, ruling party politicians failed to get their priorities right with millions of dollars being splashed on party programmes such as the much hyped Million Man March to show solidarity for President Robert Mugabe, the First Lady, Grace Mugabe’s Meet The People rallies as well as President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash.

Surprisingly, this was happening at a time when about 1,4 million Zimbabweans were in urgent need of food aid. Politics took precedence over the pressing need to improve the welfare of suffering Zimbabweans and we cannot expect the situation to change in 2017.

As unemployment continued to soar, coupled with the liquidity crunch and government’s continued clampdown on informal traders such as vendors who had found a respite in a failed economy, disgruntled Zimbabweans resorted to protests challenging the Zimbabwean government to deliver and improve people’s livelihoods.

The government’s reacted with brutality against impoverished masses merely exercising their constitutional right to protest against the government’s failure to revive the economy and create the 2,2 million jobs promised by the ruling party in its 2013 election manifesto.

The result of government’s brutality was a series of arrests, torture and abduction of civic society and opposition activists as well as ordinary Zimbabweans.

Protestors demanding electoral reforms were equally victimized as well.

In a nutshell, the year 2016 was characterized by a continuous political and economic crisis that impacted negatively on ordinary people’s livelihoods.

As Zimbabweans continue to dream of brighter days, it is quite apparent that the year 2017 does not carry any hope of recovery.

With no signs of economic recovery, the year 2017 seems more of a continuation of a journey to nowhere.

The government is yet to deal with impediments to Foreign Direct Investments and the political situation currently prevailing in the country has instilled a wait and see attitude among foreign investors who are wary of the volatile economic and political environment prevailing in Zimbabwe.

Corruption is going on unabated and the Head of State and Government, President Robert Mugabe has proved to be one of the biggest liabilities with his endless foreign trips that have gobbled millions of dollars at a time the country is appealing for international support.

With the country headed for the 2018 elections, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is concerned that reports of violence in areas that have held by-elections point to yet another bloody election.

And has always been the case, the economy will emerge the biggest victim of ZANU (PF’s) resolve to win elections at all costs. History shows that national resources have been plundered to finance Zanu (PF’s) campaigns while violent polls with contested outcomes have always impacted negatively on the growth of the national economy.

Events that unfolded in 2016 proved beyond reasonable doubt that Zanu (PF) has revived its violence and intimidation tactics and 2017 could see an escalation in rights violations as the ruling party seeks to entrench its stay in power by whatever means possible.

Senior Zanu (PF) politicians have vowed to unleash violence in the event that people choose to vote otherwise and this has been amplified by senior army personnel

To make matters worse, law enforcement agents are known for supporting and campaigning for the ruling party during elections and this gives Zanu (PF) activists the leeway to operate above the law and perpetrate all forms of violence knowing fully well that the long arm of the law will not catch up with them.

Traditional leaders have also openly declared their support for the ruling party while threatening their subjects against supporting any other party than Zanu (PF).

Intra-party violence as a result of the succession debate in Zanu (PF) is another factor that could worsen the situation.

Given events on the ground, the already volatile political situation in Zimbabwe looks set to worsen and consequently this will further retard economic recovery thus plunging the majority into abject poverty while the rhetoric of mega deals continues.

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