No respite for 'povo' in 2016

HARARE - It seemingly never rains but pours for long-suffering Zimbabweans, with analysts warning that 2016, which ruptures into life on Friday, will be harder and nastier all round compared to 2015 which was itself described as an “annus horribilis” (horrible year).

Political and economic experts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans next year, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF were set to worsen.

Respected University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masungure said while 2015 was a “nasty year” that many citizens would like to forget, 2016 would be “nastier” as both the political and-socio-economic conditions continued to deteriorate precipitously.

“2016 will probably be worse than what we experienced in the nasty year of 2015, which was bad for most people and which many would like to forget. But all indications are that 2016 will be nastier.

“I honestly don’t see any green shoots of either stability or recovery anywhere. It’s all gloomy and most Zimbabweans are very despondent about their prospects,” Masunungure said.

He also said it was likely that 2016 would be marked by more political instability and mass demonstrations as the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans continued to worsen.

“Of course, one must say Zimbabweans have changed. In the 1990s people used to express themselves easily and openly, but now the appetite for that has diminished.

“I think most Zimbabweans even if they realise that the government has ignored them have constructed their own ways of surviving and the most visible sign of this is the informal sector, which is now a gateway for survival.

“Thus, as long as there is a way out, people will tend to ignore the government’s incompetence because they can live without the state, which then tends to dampen the likelihood of strikes,” Masunungure added.

Another analyst, Shepherd Mntungwa, said 2016 would “definitely see more of the same chaos and hopelessness” that had been witnessed in 2015.

“There is no nice way to describe Zimbabwe’s plight and problems. The country suffers from a serious governance crisis which has obtained for the better part of the past 35 years.

“Unless and until this fatal democracy deficit is mitigated, I’m afraid that there cannot be any good news anywhere, whether politically or economically, and this rot now goes beyond President Mugabe and Zanu PF. This is why 2016 will unavoidably be another horrible year for ordinary Zimbabweans,” he said.

The analysts spoke as the festive season has become a ginormous nightmare for the majority of civil servants as the stone-broke Zanu PF government is failing to pay them not just their promised end-of-year bonuses, but also their December salaries as well.

Under-pressure Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had the unenviable task of announcing on Christmas Day, of all days, that most public servants would only receive their December pay — which was supposed to have been deposited into their accounts before the onset of the holidays — in January.

To make the situation worse desperate State pensioners have been queuing at banks around the country for their money in vain for the past few weeks.

This is also the reason why there are growing fears that violent mass demonstrations could erupt early next year as hard-pressed civil servants and pensioners, who include war veterans, agitate for their money.

As it is, public sector medical doctors, nurses and teachers have already given notice that they plan to go on strike next week if their salaries are not paid by end of day tomorrow — a move that would be catastrophic for the country and poor Zimbabweans in particular.

Amid all this, economic analysts have warned that the cash crunch ravaging the government is likely to worsen in 2016 as the country’s comatose economy continues to deteriorate, resulting in ever-dwindling revenues for the fiscus.

They also bemoaned Mugabe’s “folly” earlier this year when he ill-advisedly quashed plans by Chinamasa to suspend civil servants’ bonuses for two years, given the State’s plummeting revenues.

According to the Finance minister, the current civil service wage bill, which chews up more than 80 percent of government’s revenues, stands at a staggering $260 million a month.  Bonus obligations for civil servants in 2014 stood at $172,6 million — a large part of which was only paid mid this year.

Pensioners who spoke to the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend said they felt betrayed by the government as they were having to spend the festive season with no money.

A retired police force member said his pension was all that stood between his family and starvation as he had no other means to look after himself and his loved ones.

“I can no longer compete with the young people for work. All I do is wait for my meagre pension, which I fully earned and is not charity from the government.

“They should therefore not tell us that the money is not available or that it was used at the Zanu PF conference because this trend of late payments has been going on since May, and is getting worse,” he said.

Meanwhile, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News yesterday that the main opposition party would “enthusiastically” back the thousands of government workers who are threatening to embark on mass action.

“The MDC is a labour-backed political party which has always advocated for the rights of the working class. Naturally, we will enthusiastically support the strike action that has been called by disgruntled civil servants.

“This government has completely and utterly failed the people of Zimbabwe. It should simply resign and save the people from more suffering,’’ Gutu said.

He also accused Zanu PF of being insensitive to the plight of the people — more than 80 percent of whom are unemployed and live in abject poverty.

“The Zanu PF regime doesn’t give a damn about the welfare of ordinary people such as civil servants. This is a regime that has spent more than $100 million in 2015 buying expensive motor vehicles for Cabinet ministers and the top brass of the security services whilst the majority of civil servants can’t be paid their meagre December salaries and bonuses,” Gutu added.

They also bemoaned Mugabe’s “folly” earlier this year when he ill-advisedly quashed plans by Chinamasa to suspend civil servants’ bonuses for two years, given the State’s plummeting revenues.


Comments (19)

I really feel sad for all those families that endured Christmas without money, really is Taboo. This is a clear case of 'spanner in the works'. A train down a hill with no brakes.

Umvukwesi - 30 December 2015

Thought the obvious, biggest issue to make 2016 a horrible year is the impending drought...but this is of not course not exciting to our politicians cum "analysts" cum "journalists"

Tengenenge - 30 December 2015

We are a shameless bunch of Zimbos,Pastor Phillip Mugadza is languishing in prison,yet he was fighting for the pain of every Zimbabwean.Lets spare a dollar and raise the $500 bail for him.#fundmugadzasbail#

jerenyenje - 30 December 2015

it is our fault mazimba. we sing praises of these politicians who in turn treat us inhumanly. we sang so much about the good of the dear leader for 35yrs. until now many people think that he should continue even though he is visibly tired and old. on the other hand, tsvangirai is also destitute of ideas yet many sing praises of him. politicians treat us in the way they read our response to them. its our problem square mazimba. when we stop idolizing these guys then they take us seriously. as of now, we have to lick our wounds in shame,

zvirozviyedzwa - 30 December 2015

tax clearance certificates 2016, tax computations, company registration, cr14, annual returns, all your company secretarial work.077 2 560 195

Blessing - 30 December 2015

Zviroziedza ur hatred for Save is strong please if u hate Bob like that Zim would be a better country as for ur love for chimisa can we have that young man as a leader right now u must be joking right he is a potential leader in future that l don't deny let Save bring us back to democracy

moses - 30 December 2015

Tengenenge you sound like a typical zanu pf apologist blaming drought for everything.

Murambatsvina - 30 December 2015

As much as I dont get a proper sleep when I think about Mugabe zvirozviedzwa seems to be like me when he thinks about Tsvangirai. But the thing is zvirozviedzwa has very wrong and stupid reasons. Why can't u think about what happened when Tsvangirai was a premier? Everything started going smoothly. Again think of what happened when elections were stolen in 2013 to take Tsvangirai out of the government...... all problems started again. Are u don't see where the problem is? Someone bewitched u zvirozviedwa. And it should be Mugabe. Akakudyisa madhodhi ake hauchina njere. Hauchina nyadzi kuswerowawata zvisina musoro. Come it's time u don't comment on daily news and go to herald. U act here like u hate both Tsvangirai and Mugabe..... are they really the same? I wish we could one day meet in the street face to face..... u make me sick

dembo - 30 December 2015

Munonyanyo supporter mapolitical parties kunge mateams ebhora.

mujubheki - 30 December 2015

Its time povo did something. The povo has been too compliant. What do you expect from a 92 year old hands off president? Why is it no other country in the world has a president in his 90s - you think they also don't have 90 year olds. Its because povo in those countries do not want to be taken for a ride by sleeping leaders.

Inyika - 30 December 2015

anaZvirozviedzwa maagents eZaNU PF trying to tarnish Tsvangirai even in unrelated articles...the guy sounds bitter.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 31 December 2015

This failure to pay our hard working citizens their well deserved salaries can be attributed to one thing only: FAILED LEADERSHIP. So incompetent and corrupt is the Mugabe regime, something so obvious to everyone but the ruling elite that it was predictable years ago that everyone but the elite would end up miserable and suffering.. China repeatedly sets a good example as to how to deal with corruption and corrupt officials but I somehow doubt whether this would ever happen here as corruption has become a way of life and too deeply ingrained in the system thanks to Robert Mugabe. If, on the other hand, we were to follow China's example in dealing with corruption and corrupt officials I very much doubt whether we would have any Government or leadership left as they would all either be in jail or executed? Let us all pray for change in 2016.

Face Facts - 31 December 2015

@Face Facts you are so right with your analysis. It isn't just the Mugabe regime who are corrupt: Tsavangirai, Mujuru and her Gamatox team are all the same. Big changes are needed - remove all the old faces from the political scene and bring in new ones. Hopefully our students being educated in China will possess the knowledge and be able to show us the way and in so doing remove all the old and rotting debris that clogs our path to progress and freedom. Wishing all the readers a good and happy New Year.

Sensible - 31 December 2015

Jerenyenji is right. All it would take is a dollar from 500 families to bail that pastor out. it is a disgrace that he sits in prison when the true criminals are running free. God will not be mocked. He sees and knows all. MT has never ruled Zimbabwe and so how can we blame him for all and sundry. He has made mistakes and needs to take serious cognisance of those

TruthBTold - 31 December 2015

Jerenyenji is right. All it would take is a dollar from 500 families to bail that pastor out. it is a disgrace that he sits in prison when the true criminals are running free. God will not be mocked. He sees and knows all. MT has never ruled Zimbabwe and so how can we blame him for all and sundry. He has made mistakes and needs to take serious cognisance of those

TruthBTold - 31 December 2015

tatamba nhamo pamusha nekuda kweku funga kuti without ngana we have nowhere to go. ve zanu vanoti they cannot function as a party without mugabe. mdc t yotiwo they cannot exist without tsvangirai. ndizvo zvakuvadza nyika yedu. pfungwa dzekufunga kuti no one is like mugabe ndidzo dzaworesa nyika. ukowo mdc inoti no one is like tsvangirai. abva aita mangange.

zvirozviyedzwa - 31 December 2015

guys think like @sensible. there are many people out there who can lead this country proper. ende tichidya tichiguta manesi nema dokota vachienda kumabasa.

zvirozviyedzwa - 31 December 2015

Is it good to live lavish life when the rest of the nation starve? Pure shocking from the goblin

shuto - 1 January 2016

@senseble still thinks that China can produce something for other countries. U are just like the zanu pple. How many years now since the look east policy? What results do we have? Those guys think for themselves only

dembo - 2 January 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.