By Moses Matenga
The ruling Zanu PF has failed to deal with Zimbabwe’s multifaceted crisis as the socio-economic situation continues to deteriorate since 2018 elections, a survey has shown.
According to a report on citizens’ perceptions and expectations titled Dancing on the Same Spot by SIVIO Institute, an independent organisation focused on ensuring that citizens are at the centre of processes of economic-political-social and policy change, the socio-economic crisis has worsened with no prospects of a turnaround in the immediate future.
It noted that the opposition MDC Alliance has also failed to deliver on its promises in local authorities they run, but added that the opposition party has continuously shifted the blame on Zanu PF, accusing the governing party of interference.
SIVIO Institute interviewed Zimbabweans between the ages of 18 and 65 and the findings showed that people were “disappointed”.
“In the period leading to the 2018 general elections Zimbabweans were subjected to a frenzy of promises on how different political parties, if elected, would change their circumstance. We have been tracking how the promises made by Zanu PF during the elections have been converted into policy programmes,” the report read.
The nation-wide survey was carried out in November and December 2019.
“The findings suggest a general sense of despondency and disappointment with both local authorities and central government. There is no single area that one can identify as possible cases of best practice. In the meantime, the socio-economic conditions have worsened across the country exacerbated by the poor rains which negatively affected agriculture.
“Politically, the country remains in gridlock since the July 30, 2018 elections. The main opposition party continues to raise the illegitimacy of the current President based on claims that the elections were rigged,” the report further read.
“There continues to be growing country risk factors associated with perceived and real lack of adherence to human rights standards required under both domestic constitutional imperatives and State obligations under international human rights law.
“Repeated scenes of post-election violent reprisals to national protests effectively nullify the potency in the narrative of ‘the new dawn’ as various pockets of the political and civic community have been on the receiving end of brute force from law enforcement agencies since August 1, 2018.”
The report said the violent attacks on protesters in August 2018 and January 2019 by the military also negatively affected the government’s reputation before they had even settled down.
“The failure to account for public resources such as the debacle around the US$3 billion lost through Command Agriculture has also served to fuel thinking that nothing has changed in terms of public accountability. This government still has a lot of work to convince its own citizens and also the international community that they are actually about reforms and turning around the fortunes of the countries,” the report read.
“There is no good news coming out of Zimbabwe at the moment,” the report read, adding that corruption, political instabilit,y among other issues, remain a challenge in the country.
“The bromance between citizens and the ‘new’ leadership in Zanu PF seems to have quickly died down and, in its place, we have returned to high levels of mistrust and a gridlock on how to proceed.
The major parties have defaulted to blame shifting- Zanu PF seems to be shifting all the blame on sanctions. The MDC Alliance is also not taking responsibility for the challenges on delivering the smart cities promise, the mantra has shifted to- ‘it is all because of Zanu meddling’.”
SIVIO Institute added: “There is an old saying, ‘the more things change the more they remain the same’. Despite all this, citizens still expect the messiah (government) to come and rescue them and office holders continue to make promises as if there is an appointed day when all the promises made will, through some form of magic or miraculous act; turn into tangible actions for the benefit of citizens. Yet, the multiple forms of the socio-economic crises continue to deepen, leading others to yearn for the previous era.”
But Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “The capacity of Zanu PF and its progress with regards to the implementation of the imperatives set out in the people’s manifesto of 2018 cannot be evaluated by bogus organisations, but by our people and leadership together.
“The progress that we have registered thus far is unmatched compared to the past. The activities on our roads in terms of dualisation, rehabilitation of industries that had died and the coming in of new ones, the political and economic reforms currently on-going, the Parliament project that is nearing completion, the national dialogue process and the relaxation of some aspects of sanctions shows that indeed, we are on course to fulfil our manifesto.
“We, however, take note of the challenges we have faced along the way, chief among them being sanctions, climate change and a weaponised opposition grouping that has always been desperate to reverse these significant gains by way of bastardising the nation’s image globally through spreading falsehoods.” News Day