Millions living in poverty

HARARE - Even president Robert Mugabe would agree that the gap between the few rich and the poor in contemporary Zimbabwe provides a better measure of how far the country is towards the destination that independence promised.

Some believe that a good job, a decent living, affordable education and health, security in old age, can and should be the business of government.

Indeed, the last 33 years of post-colonial rule have produced experiences of what can and should work to provide the basic economic rights of stability and fairness that the colonial model was never meant to provide.

The economy remains fragile and what is required to lift it cannot be tired and tried arguments about how best the government can rob the strongest players in the economy in order to distribute to the most vulnerable members of the society.

Fair taxation and good and decent jobs are essential to reversing the trend of poverty, unemployment and inequality and constructing a strategy for building a fair and just economy.

Zanu PF members believe that taking back the economy by implementing the indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes will create a working economy and everyone will do fine.

An indigenised economy will not lift all boats as land and shares in companies do not represent lifeboats for all.

We have unfortunately learned though that the benefits from indigenisation programmes have not been shared.

When millions of Zimbabweans are stuck on the bottom of the economic ladder without jobs, incomes, and affordable housing, it cannot be sufficient to dream of an inclusive future without critically examining who will pay for the services that are expected from government.

It is clearly evident that the economy is not able to afford the expected basic economic rights.

There is no doubt that there are people within Zanu PF who remain devoted to the principle of the liberation days that people in the post-colonial dispensation should not live in poverty without applying thought as to how a living wage can be secured and sustained.

Can indigenisation lift all the boats?

There is an expectation that the proceeds from the indigenisation programmes will level the playing field and give all Zimbabweans a fair chance at a decent life yet everyone with the right mind knows that this is wishful thinking.

Already the fault lines from the indigenisation programmes are there for anyone to see.

The funds generated so far have touched the lives of a small proportion of the population.

What does an inclusive economy look like?

It is generally agreed that Zimbabwe at 33 years old is not where it should be and the promise of an inclusive government will not be achieved by recycling old and tired models of development.

It is generally agreed that the social and infrastructural investment made during the early years of independence were beneficial but even the architects of such investments must have been acutely aware that there is nothing free in life and at some stage that the train would run out of steam.

The real beneficiaries of the investments made were the private individuals who now shine as educated pop stars against a backdrop of a highly unequal society.

The dream of a nation where prosperity is inclusive, where there is genuine equality of opportunity, where income, wages, and taxes are fair, and where communities are healthy and safe is the legacy our liberators left for our generation.

Zimbabwe’s greatness is truly in the genius of its people. Zimbabwe was destined for greatness if only its leaders understood their true purpose for a great nation is one where individuals in their diversity can come together to work in their self-interest for an inclusive and just economy.

The fact that Mugabe sees corruption in partisan terms is unmistakable from his campaign messages. He has yet to see the corruption in the choices and actions of the people who have made it a career to ride in his wagon as party of his extended family.

While addressing a campaign rally on July 27, in Bulawayo, Mugabe made the point that residents who lost their houses to corrupt MDC councillors over outstanding rents and taxes will get them back when Zanu PF wins the harmonised elections.

Even Mugabe in the quietness of his time would agree that any functioning society must be underpinned by a sound social contract that includes the fact that rates and taxes must be paid if one needs to benefit from a functioning municipality.

The same logic that he purports to apply for political expediency must also apply to the relationship between the national government that he heads and citizens to the extent that citizens who feel that their hard earned incomes are being diverted towards personal gains must also refuse to pay taxes and levies.

In encouraging the governed not to honour their obligations to the city, it becomes clear what choices are available on election day.

One would expect at the very least, Mugabe to take some responsibility for the abuse of power that is not limited just to MDC councillors but to the generality of state actors including his own office.

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the Zanu PF campaign funds were not sourced from member dues but from nameless and faceless benefactors yet Mugabe would want the voting public to believe that the playing field of corruption is level.

The people who are so generous with funds to allow President Mugabe to give history lectures to the nation need to be exposed because it is such people who undermine democracy by giving a false sense that the funds provided are immune from corruption.

In terms of the constitution, Mugabe must know that the government must obey and rule within the constraints of the law.

After all, government at all levels is the most visible teacher of its people and if anyone breaches a contract or the law, the courts must intervene yet in this case, it is clear that by instructing minister Iganatius Chombo to cancel execution orders, the President is effectively engaging in a manner that undermines the constitutional order.

Principled presidents are what the country needs at this defining moment in its history.

An upright, consistent, and reliable head of state is a necessary condition for a just, inclusive, and democratic order. In fact, the President must lead by example.

It is significant that the president had this further to say: “Those who have had their houses wrongly taken away from them must please report to us.”

The president surely must know better that in terms of the constitution, any aggrieved person must approach the courts rather than a member of the executive branch of the state.

Under what constitutional order are the aggrieved persons supposed to report to the president?

At the very least, Zimbabwe urgently needs a president who obeys and respects the rule of law. With such strong views about how the Zimbabwean society should be organised, it does not occur that the president needs to go through elections at all.

The president did not stop at just encouraging residents in cities from disobeying the law but went to state that “We want those houses back. It is a great offence, an act of inhumanity to throw people out of their homes, their house, and expect them to secure some accommodation somehow.”

One would not expect that after enacting amendment number 20 of the Constitution that the president would want to use the state to undermine the constitution that he is supposed to be the chief defender of. In what context would the president come to the conclusion that the houses in question must be returned to defaulting citizens?

He must accept that the supreme inhumanity must lay squarely at his level for after all a fish rots from the head.

Tomorrow, registered voters will have an opportunity to express their will on what kind of future they want for Zimbabwe.

However, it occurs that a bright future for Zimbabwe must exclude the views of the people who have been misleading the country for too long and at this 11th hour they still do not appreciate that change will also liberate them.

Comments (4)

OPERATION PHONE KUMUSHA - Today all Zimbabweans who have means of contacting vari kumusha, pick up the phone or use whatever means and tell them TODAY to do the right thing! That their vote will be secret despite threats it will be known. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning.

Tindo - 30 July 2013

for me Mutumwa Mawere was in bed with Mugabe (Zanu-PF) so he has nothing to offer his the one that started the Indigenisation when he take over the mines and failed to run them

BIG - 30 July 2013

what does Mutumwa care about Zimbabweans , he is just another blood sucking parasite of a capitalist who is just fighting to gain relevance again in our society . South Africa haina kunakidza here zvemanga mati mamugari veko . Zanu pf will win again and what have you done with all the millions you gained from your many companies ? I only hope u were not frontin , kumusha kwenyu makamboitawo chii chebudiriro zvekuti mungatiudze kuti zvechokwadi munehanya nevana vose veZimbabwe . Kana pachikoro pamakafunda chaipo tikasvikapo masiire amakaita makareko it is just the same and you want to pretend that all of a sudden you care about us . please man spare us

lester - 30 July 2013

Zimbabwe needs a new beginning. To bring back the glamour we had 2 decades ago and before. We appreciate the good hand that took us this far but if the truth be told, change is the only constant thing in life!

Kauchy - 30 July 2013

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