By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
17 April 2014
As the country celebrates 34 years of independence Zimbabweans have decried the state of the nation saying the economic and political conditions they live in are not those of a free people.
This year’s celebrations come at a time when the country is facing a serious economic crisis, with experts predicting an implosion. The situation has been blamed on mismanagement, poor governance and massive corruption.
ZAPU leader and former freedom fighter Dumiso Dabengwa led the cries saying the objectives of the struggle have not been fulfilled. Speaking during a public discussion forum in Bulawayo, Dabengwa said: ‘You cannot say the ideals of our struggle have been fulfilled when laws such as Public Order and Security Act continue to suppress our people. Our human rights record has been in the spotlight. There is no freedom of expression and association.’
Dabengwa’s comments come amidst reports that ZANU PF officials were forcing people to finance this year’s independence celebrations in many parts of the country. The former home affairs minister also said the levels of corruption in high places show that ‘the people have not been respected.’
Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative leader Max Mkandla also lambasted corruption and economic mismanagement. He said the fact that Zimbabwe has dollarized was an indicator that that there was a ‘leadership crisis’ in the country. He said Zimbabweans cannot say they are truly independent when they are using other nations’ currencies as the medium of exchange.
The former freedom fighter said the ZANU PF leadership should desist from peddling their liberation war credentials in the face of such criticism. He added: ‘Yes they fought the war like us, but we need respect. We cannot continue being treated as their children.’
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition called upon the government to ‘honor its obligation to improve the welfare of the citizens.’ In a statement the organization said it regrets the ‘increasing joblessness’, and inaccessibility of basic services such as water and shelter. The coalition also condemned the inadequate support the government has given to the flood victims in both Tsholotsho and Tokwe-Mukosi.
The sense of gloom in the country is generally shared by all Zimbabweans across the social divide. This week, former finance minister Tendai Biti called for a ‘caretaker’ administration to save the economy, while his colleague Eddie Cross called for a new coalition government. The MDC-T legislators both predict economic implosion if nothing is done to address the situation.
Since the July 31st elections investors have taken billions of dollars out the economy due to the lack of trust in the ZANU PF government policies. Revenue collections have dwindled due to poor economic activity, leaving the government struggling to service the domestic debt. Moreover donors remain un-interested in the country, whose external debt is estimated at $10 billion.
So desperate is the situation that the MDC-T national organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa, said recently that things were better under colonial rule.