Zimbabwe, a nation at crossroads

By Ngoni Chigogo

Own Correspondant

SINCE the introduction of the multi-currency regime in the country in January 2009 on the eve of the ill-fated inclusive government, there was an understandable glimpse of hope among Zimbabweans that the economic trajectory that the nation was taking would rescue the country form a decade long politico-economic quagmire provoked by a myriad of factors ranging from moribund economic policies, political instability, poor relations with multi-lateral landing institutions, economic sanctions, high levels of corruption to mention but  a few.

Sadly the country has fallen back to the abyss, with an unprecedented liquidity crunch biting so hard. The much adored greenback has become elusive whilst the dream of getting a job among the youths has become so distant, leaving them with little choice but to take the great trek down to the incresingly xenophobic South Africa.

The underperformance of the agricultural sector continues to underpin high poverty levels in the country. Not to be out done in this vicious cycle is the health sector which has hit rock bottom with the thought of being sick provoking extreme anxiety.

According to Natpham around 98 percent of drugs circulating in the public hospitals are donor funded, a situation which sends shivers among the indigent masses. Moreover, thousands of trained nurses are failing to secure employment in health institutions despite the fact that our nurse patient ratio which stands at 1 nurse per 15 patients is one of the highest in the world.

As if that is not enough, doctors and medical aid societies are locked in a payment dispute which has left patients in a quandary.

At the burial of the late national hero retired brigadier general Felix Ngwarati Muchemwa, the president made a passionate call for doctors to take into cognisance the difficult macro-economic environment at the moment reminding them of the Hippocratic Oath but the situation remains unchanged.

In the midst of all this, the government has adopted several economic blueprints to remedy the dire situation. On paper ZIMASSET and the 10 point plan are valid but they are quickly turning into a high sounding empty gong due a general lack of will to actively implement the policy, lack of funding as well as widespread corruption among other ills.

Another headache which the authorities face is balancing act of sustaining political correctness and cutting the hugely unsustainable government expenditure propelled by the big civil service wage bill.

A leftist ZANU PF government cannot be seen to be openly embracing such a neo-liberal stance hence the emergence of the ‘‘Chinamasa Dilemma”. In light of all this quicksand, the immediate question that has been lingering for decades on the minds of many is when and how is this suffering going to end?

However, looking at the broader picture one would say there is need for the sagacious reconstruction of Zimbabwe’s body politic, beginning with the strengthening of democratic institutions, complete return to constutionalism, broad based economic empowerment, equitable distribution of natural resources, respect for human rights, and a complete departure from the winner takes all politics which is not compatible with modern day democracy and the geopolitical nature of most African countries punctuated by people of diverse tribal and ethnic groupings who at times succumb to schisms tied on how their societies must be governed.

A case in point can be drawn from the civil wars in Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Cote Di’voire, to mention just a few.Ofcourse this does not mean to say that the aforementioned issue is the sole ingredient of these turmoils as there are a cocktail of factors that comes into play including overt and covert Western interference in African internal affairs.

Coming back to Zimbabwe, it is definitely up to the national leadership both in ruling and opposition circles to say are we still serving or we have become masters over our lords? Are we truly taking the nation to the land of milk and honey as guided by the collective aspirations of the masses? Or we have become a nation of vacuous politics.

Ngoni Chigogo is a political commentator based in Harare

You can get in touch with him on [email protected]

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