'Zim is in dire straits'

HARARE - With Zimbabwe continuing on its precipitous decline that is widely blamed on President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF — as manifested by rising poverty levels and a stone-broke State that cannot pay its workers — a ruling party bigwig has admitted that the country is “in dire straits”.

The unusual but welcome admission by the Zanu PF stalwart flies in the face of official communiqués by both government and ruling party officials who incredulously continue to claim that all is well in the country despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the senior official said “burying our heads in the sand like ostriches as we are doing” was not helping either the country or the ruling party — adding that it “pained” him to see so many Zimbabweans suffering to the extent that they were doing.

“It is a fact that the economy is in a very bad shape in Zimbabwe, and that the poor are being particularly hard hit. I think part of the way out of this is for all of us to admit that the country is in dire straits so that we can all sit down as Zimbabweans to find the requisite solutions.

“I feel pained to see so many of our people, particularly the poor in towns and rural areas having to make do with so little or nothing, and they have lived like this for so long.

“In fact, many young people who are under 25 years in our country don’t really know a good, normal life. It’s time for us to stop the denial.

“We need to rise above the culture of petty political fights that is now a permanent feature of Zimbabwean life, whether one looks at Zanu PF or the country generally. As Dr Amai (First Lady Grace Mugabe) always says, it’s time to stop all this,” the contrite bigwig said.

The official spoke as analysts warn that Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of total collapse, a situation they say is spawning worsening citizen despondency which could lead to growing opposition to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s 36 years in power.

Most political and economic observers who spoke to the Daily News yesterday also warned that 2016 would in all likelihood be harder all- round compared to 2015, which was itself generally described as an “annus horribilis” (horrible year).

They said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging the post-congress Zanu PF were set to worsen.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chief executive Christopher Mugaga said with all the country’s key economic indicators — including inflation, unemployment and gross domestic product growth — heading in the wrong direction, the only way out was for the government to “quell the crisis of mistrust within the country”.

“Politicians mistrust each other more than ever before while they are the custodians of policy proposals. This therefore leaves a void when it comes to thoroughness in implementation.

“It is also vital to find feasible strategies to look for foreign direct investment without necessarily relying on the carrot approach of relying on incentivising potential investors.

“Let the policy environment be transparent and consistent while relegating populist policy measures to the dustbin. For example, what is the rationale of even considering giving bonuses both to the civil service and the private sectors when all the numbers are pointing southwards?” Mugaga said.

So bad is the economic situation in the country that thousands of companies have closed their doors over the past three years, leaving hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken employees and their families in the lurch.

And the situation is not any better in the agricultural sector, where the country has moved from being the breadbasket of the region to a hopeless and much-derided basket case over the past two decades.

“Zimbabwe is at crossroads with its survival and return to stability, in terms of food security, in serious jeopardy not only due to political influences but also because the climate will exacerbate the economic collapse we are in the midst of,” said Foundations for Farming chief executive Craig Deall.

The respected former commercial farmer said the country, which has been food insecure for the past 15 years, must embrace optimal farming methods to become self-sufficient again.

“It can be argued that wherever we see a famine in the world, it is a direct result of a lack of stewardship on the land. The current environmental degradation and production loss permeates through the whole society and economy,” he said in an opinion piece that was recently published in a Germany publication.

“Zimbabwe is now considered a low-income, food-deficit country, ranked 156 out of 187 developing countries on the Global Hunger Index, which measures progress and failure in the global fight against hunger,” he added.

Indeed, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report, which is compiled by a consortium comprising the government, the United Nations, NGOs and other international organisations, has also noted that rural food insecurity has remained very high in Zimbabwe over the past decade.

This has forced Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira to call on the government to review the mechanisms it has put in place to curb an impending national food crisis, as it emerges that millions of people are facing starvation this year.

Mupfumira yesterday told the Daily News that the government had now realised that the situation was much dire than earlier envisaged.

“I will be presenting the food situation in our next Cabinet meeting because it has since come to our attention that while we have been targeting vulnerable groups such as child-headed families, the elderly and disabled, the number has since increased in the last two months to now include even those outside the vulnerable group bracket,” she said, bemoaning government’s current cash crisis.

“The challenge is that I am operating without a budget, I need money to get everyone taken care of because it is a fact that we require more food than we had initially gathered from the first crop assessment we did. People who are not vulnerable are also facing starvation,” she said.

In the meantime, other crucial areas such as the country’s health delivery system are also under severe strain, with all government hospitals currently facing a critical shortage of drugs and specialist skills.

As a result, most patients are dying needlessly or being forced to sacrifice everything to access expensive private healthcare.

Comments (10)

Kunzima. Things are bad in the country madoda. Cry the beloved country.

Khumalo - 21 January 2016

I used to argue with my fellow workers at a certain company fifteen years ago (takadziya mushana pa Break time) that things in Zim can only get worse. Why ? Because I was already convinced the culture of corruption, plundering and pillaging,looting resources as well as nepotism born of and condoned by Zanu-PF government was conducive to ultimately destroy Zimbabwe. Now its like the norm that in Zimbabwe you have to buy-out somebody to do his duty for which he is employed. All those born after 1980 think there exist no other way in life to do business other than being connected to so and so. The waste sin (and unforgivable) the Zanu-PF government has done to my country is that they destroyed all good business ethics in our society - irretrievably. They is no pride Mugabe can boast of if he is to be honest with himself. He failed us dismally. That is the legacy which he will leave us when he departs.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 21 January 2016

Can't a good engineer provide a nice wheel chair to shuttle our ancient dear "dear leader" home so he can start writing how he wrecked the once vibrant economy of Zimbabwe

Mabhengeza - 21 January 2016

Zimbabweans only have themselves to blame. You cheered when Mugabe threw the whites off the land and are now dealing with the predicted consequences. I have no sympathy for you.

NJT755 - 21 January 2016

kkkkkkk you can rig elections but you can never rig the economy kkkkkkk kuchera kwese haa The fool now is exposed by 2018 every thing will be completely finished . Morgan said lets come togethewr and fix the economy for the sake of our country but what did he get only insult from these idiots .Now its too late .Civil workers will be lucky if they get paid in next two months bcoz where will the govt get the money to do so . Then will see if police men will have energy to beat up unhappy mobs doing demos in streets .We want to see if police men will go to work to work for mahala kkkkkkkk hey things are gradually perfecting themselves The best idea for Mugabe is to commit suicide before shiite happens kkkkkkkkk yaa jimbabwe!!!!!!

Diibulaanyika - 21 January 2016

morgan is not on about fixing the economy but fixing his pocket. that is the reason he will not allow someone to takeover from him even after his mandate expired in 2014. he tasted power and will never let go. he is same fanana na president mugabe. handiende types. mogiza is even worse. he plays handiende successfully without the help of the army what more when he has their backing? come 2018 lets make him bite the dust and give the votes to mai dr mujuru. the moderate politician.

zvirozviyedzwa - 21 January 2016

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Thomas Hushe - 22 January 2016

@zvirozviyedzwa Mai Mujuru a moderate politician? You got to be smoking something buddy! She has been on watch whilst heinous acts were perpetrated by ZANU on the zimbo for nigh on 34yrs. And you want her to stay in power? Enough said.

Dunlop Munjanja - 22 January 2016

I cannot change you bro/sis. you cannot change me either. mrs mujuru is a respected person not only in africa but the world over. tsvangison used to command the same respect until his episodes of michato. his handiende attitudes caused him to loose western sympathizers. lets just agree to disagree on this one. i am for people first. viva mujuru.

zvirozviyedzwa - 22 January 2016

Well Mujuru is respected by fools and idiots and his boot lickers of course .Why would a sane person respect Mujuru for after 34 years in govt helping Mugabe creating shiite in the country . . Maybe some people respect her for being a lover of a commander in some bushes in Moza .while other people were in the war front .But for confused people like those Mangoma followers would just follow anything like that dog called mugodoyi in isiNdebele in including Mujuru who has no political party and has never said herself that she will contest the 2018 elections .How do you say so and so is a good leader when she plundered our economy and including the death of NARA

Diibulaanyika - 22 January 2016

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