Please act now, Mr President

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s service delivery sectors are on a death spiral that could produce a crisis, with hospitals in the intensive care unit, water getting scarcer and thousands of children dropping out of school, and  increasingly desperate citizens being caught in the crossfire.

With social service delivery at an all-time low and unemployment rate sky-high, the situation according to social commentators, may provoke a showdown among the ruling Zanu PF party rivals.

The bloated, bankrupt State cannot sustain the social spending that kept the peace; the nation already faces water shortages, power outages, rising prostitution and rampant crime.

President Robert Mugabe “resoundingly won” elections in July last year, in what the MDC describes as a fraudulent victory.

Now the people want Mugabe to “resoundingly” fire all the incompetent ministers.

Most schools are in bad state.

His 26-member Cabinet’s mismanagement has only hastened the country’s decline — for example, 10 women die daily while giving birth.

Official figures say 960 women die per 100 000 live births.

Zimbabwe’s healthcare system was fully functional and more than able to meet the needs of the country.

The water reticulation system is in an appauling condition with sewage overflowing in most residential areas.
But thanks to heavy-handed, top-down authoritarianism of the ruling regime, the system  has all but collapsed.

Patients are dying from easily treatable conditions and illnesses as the country’s economic slide is quickening.

Everything is in short supply: needles and syringes, paraffin used for biopsies in cancer diagnoses, drugs, operating room equipment, X-ray film, imaging paper, blood. You name it.

Weekly reports from the ministry of Health and Child Care, under minister David Parirenyatwa, continue to paint a grim picture — a sad reminder of 2008.

Frightening are the latest statistics, 12 466 common diarrhoeal cases were reported last week alone from across the country, and 24 people died from communicable diseases.

Twelve cases of medieval diseases such as typhoid have been reported across the country, as cash-strapped councils that were forced to scrap rates by Zanu PF in the run-up to the July 31, 2013 elections struggle to deliver water potable water to households, fail to collect refuse — which is now an eyesore — and also manage rivulets of sewerage.

Residents across the country are going for days with water.

Rutendo Bonde of the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said although the new Constitution grants the right to health, Zimbabwe is still far from meeting its obligations because of a lack of commitment from the relevant authorities.

The appalling state of the country’s public hospitals is, according to Bonde, testimonial to the brain drain that has been caused by poor remuneration in the health sector where highly qualified doctors earn $283 a month.

“It is a capacity issue,” Bonde said.

“The senior health officials who trained us have since gone. When I was at medical school, I was well-mentored but now there are no mentors. How can you expect the medical staff to remain when they are poorly paid?”

For instance, in its 2014 Budget, the cash-strapped administration only allocated $24 million to health institutions but the amount was a pittance as it could hardly cover the $36,4 million health facilities owed to different suppliers.

“We are not seeing any investment from the State, the people are suffering,” Bonde said.

“Water is still a critical issue in Zimbabwe. Water is needed to ensure that we prevent diseases. We are in a state of emergency...we don’t want to go back to 2008.”

Large parts of Zimbabwe are without water with most areas plagued with water rationing.

Lack of money to buy treatment chemicals is the main cause of water shortages in cities countrywide, and minister Savior Kasukuwere is watching this unmitigated disaster unfold.

Critics accuse the Zanu PF government, in power for 34 years, of failing to properly invest in water provision, and there has been no plan so far outlined by Kasukuwere on how he hopes to curb this crisis.

Daily, residents wake up to dry taps and several main districts of Zimbabwe are affected.

People are stockpiling water in tanks, containers and bottles.

But some of the dry parts of the country are already dependent on emergency supplies of clean drinking water, or boreholes drilled by aid agencies.

Despite building plenty of new schools and clinics to poor areas, the government has failed to fix Zimbabwe’s housing shortfall — currently at over 3 million units.

That, say critics, demonstrates the failure of socialism in Zimbabwe.

Not surprisingly,  Ignatious Chombo, minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, has sought to take the initiative with a new housing programme that has been hamstrung by funding shortfalls.

Even though Mugabe’s government promised to build houses for all by 2000, millions of Zimbabweans still do not have a decent home and are crammed in squatter camps such as Caledonia or Hopley farms where they live under squalid conditions.

In the education sector, the statistics are frightening. At least one million children could drop out of school because government does not have the money to bankroll the education of the economically vulnerable, who include children orphaned by the deadly Aids pandemic.

In its bid in the 2014 National Budget, the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had budgeted for $1,2 billion but only received $865 million.

Although this amounts to 20 percent of the total national budget, 95 percent of this figure will be channelled to cover employment costs, leaving  about 3,3 percent to cover operational costs such as the provision of material resources and infrastructural development.

Under the Basic Education Assistance Model (Beam), government needs $73 million to pay school fees for orphans and disadvantaged children, but Ngoni Masoka, the permanent secretary in the Public Service ministry, told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare recently that only $15 million was budgeted for Beam this fiscal year, a figure he said was grossly insufficient.

Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examination subsidies have been removed and millions face starvation because Social Welfare received only 5 percent of its budget.

Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has led to massive job losses, making it impossible for growing numbers of parents to pay tuition fees. Unemployment now stands at 80 percent, and is rising as businesses continue to fold.

For those still employed in the formal sector, low wages have worsened a situation that is already desperate.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, leader of the International Socialist Organisation, says “the ruling class have turned to economic barbarism, neo-liberal austerity and authoritarianism to survive.”

The result, he said, were savage attacks on education, health, farmers, and jobs.

With the country’s economy on a slide, Gwisai predicted an eruption of the masses in anger.

“(There is need) to mobilise for action to force government to pay the 26 percent wage increment this March and for the jailing of thieving parastatal bosses and ministers,” Gwisai said. 

“Key also are the parastatal and local authority workers.”

Gwisai said there was need for “bigger, united boycotts, demonstrations and strikes supported by labour forums, student forums, vendors forums and residents forums on a non-party basis, demanding PDL wages, stopping the demolition of houses, full rights for the informal sector, right to education, health for all, a national health scheme to replace Psmas and a big No to neo-liberal reforms of labour laws.”

Comments (38)

Mugabe seem to have gone to honeymoon with his daughter and mkwasha, He is nowhere to be seen. Even a simple visit to Masvingo Tokwe Mukosi he cant make it. The country is on auto pilot. What do you expect from a 90 year old man?

chiga - 13 March 2014

Is it 1930 or 2014? school children learning from an open space, Mr author thank you very much for this piece of article, well articulated and very exposing. This what faces Zimbabweans, poor Zimbabwe for that matter, indeed no water, no electricity, no employment, no quality education. That is what happens they have their children educated in Australia, they follow the white man. Corruption, they are very rich, richer than Zimbabwe, they have the money they have diamond and gold reserves in their lockers, they do not care about poor souls, we are poor, the povo is poor, the rural folk is poor. A glance at the new farmer portrays a bleak future, the vegetation is gone infrastructure depleted all is gone, gone forever. Hameno mwari vacho nesu hatichaziva icho!!!!

Tagutapadare - 13 March 2014

The baloon is about explode and ship without a pilot?????????????? lets wait and see.

icho - 13 March 2014

You keep your Britain and I will keep my Zimbabwe. Sounds hollow doesn't it after the country's free fall in economic and political terms.

Hexagon - 13 March 2014

What can expect from a president who has reached his last days on earth.Liking it or not Bob is a liability to humanity

Pfumo - 13 March 2014

There is nothing wrong with the government admitting that they continually failed us and have reached a dead end, it is actually a sign of humbleness. Zimbabwe has for long looked up to you for solutions but it appears both in the short and long term you have nothing to offer them. Admit it admit it admit it for the sake of the masses and you will be redeemed.

Maravhuza - 13 March 2014

This article reminds me the era of Dr Timothy Stamps as minister of Health and his trademark motto, "Health for All by the Year 2000", Unfortunately its now, "Poverty and Death for All in the New millenium"

Kusokola - 13 March 2014

MOST excellent piece of journalism, like yesterday. I believe your paper has now seized the moment and is spearheading the effort for Government to give an account. Keep it up.

The Watcher - 13 March 2014

Finally Mr Editor show us more bread and butter issues like this, dilapitated roads. Enough junk on the very minority opposition for now all they say should be page 3 material unless its about the nation. Now of pilots and helicopter pilots, we have doing diamonds were should we put the other one. He has to make enough to feed my daughter.

Smokecreen - 13 March 2014

I like akaenda ku honeymoon ne mukwasha, o tingatongoti chii? But knowing Mugabe he is that tyoe of a president who gives you a middle finger and laughs. He is not in control, This atticle can only be directed at JOC which is in control and they are busy lining up their pockets. Takarwa Hondo yatikuvadza.

maita - 13 March 2014

Yes its time to act for the President. The Cabinet is too big for the country which is so broke. Cabinet must be cut from the 29 ministries to 21. The new constitutions must be amended to reduce the number of MPs back to 210 or even less. Land leases must be speeded up to make them bankable and also funding for Small holder farmers for inputs must be in place to ensure food self sufficiency. Fertiliser companies must be capitalised.

Kambiri - 13 March 2014

After all this noise the plane will just disappear from the radar. We talked about electricity tika nyarara, corruption izvezvi ziii futi hapana chinobuda apa, Takangomirira

Wings of change - 13 March 2014

For all the Zimbabweans:

Big Dhara - 13 March 2014

Lack of respect of the higher office by Daily news is the major reason why this paper is not popular in Zimbabwe as compared to others.Their effort to demonize the country and destabilize the government is another reason.You can tell how popular is the paper by number ,size and quality of adverts published by the paper.

samuel - 13 March 2014

Mugabe's cabinet is sooooo corrupt and is full of looters who steal state funds to enrich themselves and , they buy luxury cars , and buy lots of houses and they do not give a toss about water shortages or peoples' health. The ZANU PF ministers are in power to enrich themselves. They go running to IMF to borrow money and IMF knows that the money will be looted and pocketed by ZANU PF ministers. The Chinese are taking too much of our minerals for their own country and leaving us with with nothing to help our sick children.

Bhosvosvo - 13 March 2014

VavaSameri leave Daily News alone. The paper is exposing the incompetence of the government which stole the power from the people. Your govt is clueless as to how to deal with issues confronting the nation. Dont tell us to respect an office that has been abused for decades. Either you are too young to recall how this party run down the country that was the envy of all or you are simply a blind supporter of that party. If you dont like this paper's reportage why do you read it and even bother make contributions on its online discussion forum? The answer is simple..... Its the best daily newspaper in Zim Sam kikikikikik

Zimtroubles - 13 March 2014

Italy's new government has 16 cabinet ministers, Zim has 29. I donot know if the Zim figure includes ministers for provincial and all the ministers of state. If there is no mechanism to control govt expenditure, then a crisis is inevitable. There is wide spread abuse of govt assets by all and sundry as long as you have access. We have embassies all over even in countries an average Zimbo would struggle to locate on a map. There is no clear line between Govt on one hand and party programs/assets/business/functions and those of senior govt and party officials on the other. Bona's wedding is a case in point.

Rook - 14 March 2014

Is it possible to put govt under judicial management.?

Tsikamutanda - 14 March 2014

The following threat to national security will be service delivery protests. We are fed up with non-delivery of services by this government and its agencies. Incompetent and corrupt public officials must be dealt with decisively and without delay. Mr. President, please act!

Tony - 14 March 2014

sanction brothers and sisters, sanctions.

see - 14 March 2014

the gwisai way is the way to go.

s - 14 March 2014

Mr Mugabe and his team are busy plotting how to rig the 2018 elections. They don't care a damn about poor service delivery, the economy and sewage in Mbare or Mpopoma. Their reticulation system in Borrowdale is an advanced septic tank type. The septic tanks are emptied by waste removal companies who in turn offload the contents into the already overloaded sewer system in the "locations". When it comes to electricity they have industrial generators, solar panels and water heaters. They don't even know that there is load shedding in all the cities including the capital. They have boreholes and water is pumped into "king" size tanks enough to water a tomato field. They don't know that in the locations we spend days without water and when it comes it is stinky with this rotten egg smell. When you boil it froth forms on top. Their roads are well maintained and so are their cars. They don't know that 90% of roads in the "locations" are potholes be it in Sakubva, Chinotimba, Pumula, Kuwadzana or Mkoba. At night their houses and farm size yards are well lit and so are their streets. They don't know that our relatives are being mugged every night by thieves as there are no lights, and the summer grass is very tall. They have bank accounts in Washington and do not know that there is shortage of cash in the country. Their children are students at Oxford and Cambridge. They do not know there is crisis in our education including at ZIMSEC and UZ where students are buying certificates. Their doctors are in Singapore, India and Malaysia. They don't know the dilapidated state of our hospitals. So why would they CARE?

mosquito - 14 March 2014

The way these guys are looting seems like they KNOW SOMETHING which the rest of us don't know and they aren't telling us.

Johno - 14 March 2014

Borehole submersible pumps galore. pumps, motors and control boxes. don`t be charged more by contractors. call 0714 247 097 email

pumps - 14 March 2014

hey kusi kufa ndekupi uprise is urgently needed in ths country.m aware its destructive bt no other option force thm out.look thy r nw intimidating parliamentarians wo r xposing thr evil deeds.even voting z nw wasting of tym n resources in zimbabwe.nxttym wn tsvangson cal for final push we must support him.wn gwisai nok @ yo door for an egypt style usadududze.its high tym we fiercly demonstrate against ths maladministration, evil government.ths tym around thy r nt going 2withstand the heat.haa nxaaa

rmhtoronto - 14 March 2014

Robert Mugabe and his regime have all failed Zimbabwe, this is called barbarism to the born. Ma Doctor ne ma Professor in his regime are just academics, driven by pen and paper, no practical solutions coming from them, kana innovation havana. I bet PWC that audited SABC in SA will do the same for the Zim Regime, the findings will be same, Inability to show REASONING, CRTICAL THINKING PATTERNS and forged academic records. If you think of it, people like Chinotimba are actually representing some constituency in Parliament, saka pane chinobuda here munyika sure? Is able to articulate development information properly to the house? Mwari pindirai, vanhu vaya vatanga!!

Mariot - 14 March 2014

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mariyeti mpala - 14 March 2014


mariyeti mpala - 14 March 2014

this is what we truly deserve after being fooled for over 30 years that things will change ndizvozvo ka bhora mugedhi pamberi nemusangano

protestor - 14 March 2014

This reporter need to be arrested for misleading the whole world. These pictures were taken ages ago on the worst scenario at that time. The situation on the ground is no where near this and I speak from the rural where I can even access this story on the internet

Shebba - 14 March 2014

Children were learning under trees during GNU, Residents in towns&cities faced water problems,blackouts were there,liquidity crunch was there....No on ever called on Tsvangirayi to "act now' or even on Mugabe wacho during GNU.... Now ZANU yotonga and Tsvangirayi&his backers who want back into Gvt want to suggest a crisis to justify yet another GNU...Things are bad but hapana crisis which could justify another GNU....What could Tsvangirayi&MDC have done in the 6 months ZANU has been in power to arrest all these issues??????????????? Their MP's in parliament are asking for backdated allowance increases&vehicles

wezhira wezhara - 15 March 2014

A country of cowards deserve what is shown on this paper. How can someone force you to vote for him or else if you don't he will kill you and you by such cheap threats by voting for him? Amagwala azahlala esidla uthuvi kuze kube ngaphakade. Sure next time must not scumb to threats by zanu and vote for it insteady all of us must not vote for zanu if zanu try to do what they did in 2008 then defend ourselves and our votes god help those who try to help themselves

Dibulaanyika - 15 March 2014

You see it is fools like this so called Wezhi wezhara that are killing our country idiot wezhira zanu has been in power for 34 years not 6months eiish this is stupidity at its best . When Morgan can in a united gvt hospitals had collapsed ,shops were empty ,schools were not functioning the list is endless even what we have now are the leftovers of Morgan very soon they will be finished . Remember you can rig elections but not economy Tshesa mpaaa!!!!!

Dibulaanyika - 15 March 2014

President Mugabe is the mastermind how is he going to act.He can't.He is part and parcel of this crew.Please don't tell me he doesn't know what his guys are doing, he knows.

Roland Dube - 15 March 2014

I am an old white Zimbabwean of 78 years old and I remember Ian Smith saying that he was comitteds to maintaining responsible government. Removing all the racial comments could you say that he was right except for one thing blacks had no political freedom. He also claimed that Mugabe did well at independence because he was living off the fat of Rhodesia. Apart from a Chinese built stadium what else has he built. In 34 years what new dams and power stations has he built. ON one occasion he took a delegation of 80 people to New York when he attend the UN general assembly. Imagine the forex required to do that. Of course, he is not to blame -ZANU PF are never responsible and they have been in charge for 34 years!

vortex - 16 March 2014

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ID SHUNOM - 17 March 2014

I think zimbos deserve to suffer, until they learn to put behind patriotism,party politics and selfishness this will continue further and further..

dzvened - 18 March 2014

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