We deserve better!

HARARE - The festive season is a period marked by a hives of activities.

Business tries to clear stock, ordinary people rushing to buy goods, state institutions are put to rest, and a spirit of togetherness and joy defines people’s faces.

The level of vehicle and human traffic increases. The needs and demands of an ordinary man increase.

 Functioning institutions make the life of an ordinary man easier.

Simply put, inefficient, irresponsive and corrupt institutions curtail the yearly efforts of the ordinary person in enjoying the festive season.

In a year in which politicians failed us most, a year in which people struggled to purchase basic commodities, a year in which government built shamed toll gates, a year in which census was carried out by people who are yet to be fully paid; the festive season was also doomed to be another failed story.
 
The festive season also exposed a number of institutions that serve our society.

Chief among them are the City of Harare’s failure to manage Mbare Musika long-distance bus termini, public transporters, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) among others.

In all these cases, it is the ordinary person who had to suffer the consequences.

The ordinary person whom politicians, government and business have been extorting for the past 365 days and nights.

Public transport chaos

In this modern society, passing through Mbare Musika bus terminus during the festive season is disheartening to say the least.

Long-distance buses queued all the way to the ZRP Mbare Police Station.

It took hours for buses to enter the main terminus, the loading was far much easier as in less than 30 minutes, the bus would be full to capacity.

Getting out of the terminus took more than an hour even when only less than 50 metres to the exit point.
The chaos reminds us how our city managers cannot remember how to offer transport operators access and exit tickets well in advance.

This could save a lot of time as it would be a matter of just checking the tickets in correspondence to the vehicle registration number.

It also reminds us how our city fathers forgot to temporarily shut down some roads to allow a swift flow of long-distance buses.

Almost all long-distance buses hiked their fares by more than 100 percent.

Signatures authenticating the fare hikes accompanied the charges posted on every bus’ windows.

It therefore, implies that the ministry of transport okayed the increases.

What is in doubt is the economic rationale of this fare hike.

For a journey from Harare via Murambinda to Betera, the usual fare is around eight dollars, but on the eve of Christmas, a transport operator increased the fare to $12, $15, and ultimately $18.
 
This is a clear indication of the government conniving with business to feast upon the common man.

It’s sad that there is no predictability in our economy even with one of the hardest currencies on earth.

We deserve better.

Village “death” of the century

December 22, in Muuya Village under Chief Nyashanu recorded an unimaginable, unthinkable and rare reality that exposed the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

An 18-year-old young man “committed suicide by hanging himself”.

 It is alleged the young man was stealing from his family leading to his frequent and heavy beating now and then by family members.

He was also a victim of broken marriage as his parents separated when he was still a toddler.

 Life for him was not easy, every villager testified. Our society has not migrated to be mature enough to take care of such children.

Prior to him being found “hung up” in a tree; village talk has it that the previous day, family members took turns to assault him as corporal punishment for his alleged thievery.

 A child staying with the family told villagers that the now deceased passed out in the process.

 Eyewitness reported that the deceased body showed extreme signs of swelling which can be attributed to severe beating.

Octogenarians were also shocked by the fact that, the deceased seemed like someone from a funeral parlour rather than someone who had “hanged up himself”.

Villagers were taken aback to the colonial times when the Rhodesian Police would beat everyone, even neighbours to find out the actual cause of the suicide.

However, today ZRP does not need to know and make public the causes of such a suicide.

For the suicides that have happened in our area, I have witnessed ZRP taking the corpse for a post mortem.
Why is that this time the ZRP decided otherwise? Village talk and grapevine is signalling to corruption and underhand dealings to conceal the actual root cause of this young man’s death.

 Does it mean that our police force no longer values life?

Does it mean that it is no longer the mandate of the police to ascertain the proximate causes of suicides?
 What kind of society is our police force trying to procreate?

This is testament to say that everything is wrong within our security system today.

 I challenge anyone in authority to visit this village to find out what really took the life of this young buddy.

Though the people know who is responsible. People need to know, villagers deserve better.

Reap where you sow.

The failure of the macroeconomic policy framework led to the dollarisation.

An immediate consequence was the resultant illiquid nature of the rural economy.

In a society like Buhera district, the only sources of income remain remittances and cattle sales.

Money is scarce in most rural areas and things are also expensive rendering people to travel to towns and cities to purchase necessities.

 Travelling is a cost, one that rural dwellers cannot afford since the remittances they rely on are sporadic and very little.

A solution to bring the market to the rural areas is therefore needed.

When institutionalised planning fails, people plan for themselves.

 In Buhera, ordinary men and women realised this and started what they call “markets” more than 17 months ago.

 The markets are located at Gwama, Sanga and Mutiusinazita business centres.

People from all walks of life, across the country come to buy and sell anything needed for human use.
 
This has increased the liquidity of the surrounding areas.

The market takes place once a month on the three mentioned centres.

In the name of planning and regulation, Buhera Rural District Council came in to tax every one selling anything a flat fee of two dollars.

Whilst we can understand the taxation monopoly bestowed upon the council, there are some questions to this.

 Chief among them is the use of the revenue collected.

For more than one and a half years, the council has been collecting the tax; ironically there are no water and sanitation facilities, and no proper stands on the market place.

In Chirozva area, we are told that the council is building a proper market with facilities on a new site.
 However, it’s close to two years without significant progress.

If an outbreak of communicable diseases arises, we are sure that a catastrophe will plunge our rural society.

The second controversial issue about the taxation process pertains to the flat tax fee.

 I don’t seem to see the logic of taxing two dollars to a businessman from Harare/Mutare selling a tonne of sugar per day and the same amount to a 75-year-old granny selling nyii.

This flat taxation system is a process intended to make sure the ordinary man suffers and advantages the haves.

Buhera council should come up with an easy and justifiable formula in taxing people that does not disadvantage the common man.

Council should also avoid overtaxing, as its decision to pocket $70 on every cattle sale has brought the trade to a complete halt.

We deserve better. Our society today is very unpredictable, the rules and regulations that used to guide our lives are constantly ignored by the mandated enforcers.

 Business, government and the politician need to be stopped from their exploitation of the ordinary men and women. - Davison Muchadenyika

*The writer is a development planner and can be contacted at muchadenyikad@gmail.com.

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