New year, same old problems

HARARE - Although it is a brand new year, we are still in the same predicament and all the past year’s problems have reappeared.

It is indeed sad that after hopping from one crisis to another, clinging on to hope whenever backed against the wall, Zimbabweans will likely be haunted by the same old problems that have characterised the country for over a decade now.

A momentary and illusionary hiatus brought by the inclusive government between 2009 and 2013 has now been swept away by the tide of time and harsh realities and we fear that 2016 will be worse than all the years since that disputed election three years ago.

Civil servants are disillusioned, people are hungry and there is no end in sight for crisis-weary Zimbabweans, yet in his wisdom or lack of it our president, who will be 92 in a few weeks’ time, finds time to holiday and relax far from the madding crowds.

Our leader since independence, President Robert Mugabe, has shown beyond any doubt that he does not care a hoot about the people he is supposed to serve.

Mugabe, the man who has been in power for the past 36 years, is currently holidaying in the Far East — far from the potholes of Zimbabwe and its dark towns with comatose industries.

The economy is in free-fall and unemployment is unofficially at over 90 percent. More industries are likely to close and with the “unfriendly” indigenisation regulations still in place, it is very unlikely that the landlocked nation will emerge from the self-induced crisis it finds itself in.

Water is now a luxury that many families in cities live without.

After a festive season, which civil servants endured without their salaries, Zimbabwe now face bigger problems.

Just like last year, factionalism is still haunting the ruling party, and since it’s January broke parents have to deal with school fees and those with money in their bank accounts face the spectre of finding the banks empty because of a liquidity crunch that the Zanu PF-led government is failing to contain.

We implore the country’s leadership to show some respect for the peace-loving people of our nation, which they have reduced to a basket case.

But where do we go when the captain is away? Who will direct policy and offer leadership?

Yesterday police beat up peaceful demonstrators, mainly rural teachers who were demanding payment of their 2015 annual bonuses.

Democratic societies must allow citizens to freely express themselves.

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