By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Tourism minister Walter Mzembi says Zimbabweans are now worse off under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called ‘new dispensation’ than they were under late former leader Robert Mugabe.
He said this in a statement to mark Zimbabwe’s 40 years of independence.
The now opposition People’s Party (PP) leader also slammed government’s ‘copy and paste’ response strategies to Covid-19.
Although free from white colonial rule since 1980, Mzembi said, Zimbabwe was now a military state and “an enterprising slavery nation where 90% of our people fend for themselves in the informal sector presided over by a new master”.
Said the former Zanu PF lawmaker, “Even more paradoxical is how people, hardly three years down the line find conditions under Mugabe much better than they are now under his successor who has run the country under a laughable and largely dismissed brand payoff line of a ‘New Dispensation’ which ironically turned out to be a ‘New Deception’.
“What passed for Independence in 1980 has been a mirage of deferred dreams and aspirations by our people who were the rear guard of material, logistical, moral and reconnaissance support to the guerrillas during our war of liberation fought from the early 1960s to the end of 1979.”
Mzembi slammed Mnangagwa for failing to unite Zimbabweans at a time in which world foes have closed ranks to forge a united front against coronavirus.
He added, “Zimbabwe pretends to be in a lockdown copying and pasting responses from other countries but continues to breach international best practice and this is evident from State House right down to the village.
“We simply do not have the humility as a people anymore to submit to expert knowledge let alone to each other.
“Added to this is a lockdown that ignored safety nets for the vulnerable who have now surpassed 50% of our population.
“For them it’s a choice between dying of Hunger or Covid-19.
“A national forage for basics like MEALIE MEAL has disrupted all we have been taught about social distancing, fortunately God has been merciful and our infection rates have been minimal.”
The South African based politician did not have kind words for the current government for allegedly presiding over a land reform programme that has “unfortunately created a new black bourgeois class of multiple farm owners who for the past twenty years have hardly paid any meaningful taxes nor lease rentals for their 99 year leases.”
“They have also been so unproductive, they have failed to stock the strategic grain reserve which repeatedly is being serviced by some of the most extortionate regional cereal grain procurement prices from countries in the region and abroad.”
He continued, “Where are we 40 years down the line as a country?
“Politically, we have been bankrupted by the November 2017 coup which contrary to expectations reversed our democratic gains, upset constitutionalism and statecraft and firmly established a Military State.”
Mzembi was forced to skip the country 2018 when the current government opened corruption allegations against former Mugabe allies in what was believed to be politically targeted prosecutions.