THE 2016 national budget statement that was presented by Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, in Parliament on November 26, 2015 paints a very gloomy and depressing picture of the state of our economy.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting to discuss his budget statement the following day in Harare. Chinamasa himself confessed that he was embarrassed to present a paltry US$4 billion for a country that is so richly endowed with natural and human resources such as Zimbabwe.
The MDC is not exaggerating when it boldly states that the Zimbabwean economy is in comatose mode in the intensive care unit. All well-meaning and patriotic Zimbabweans have to bite the bullet and acknowledge the sad reality that our beloved country is on the precipice. We are in a real deep socio-economic and political mess.
It is a national embarrassment to note that the 2016 Zimbabwe national budget is smaller than the annual budget of the city of Durban in neighbouring South Africa. Durban is the third largest city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The 2016 Zimbabwe annual budget is also significantly smaller than the annual budget of the Pick & Pay group of supermarkets in South Africa. To all intents and purposes, therefore, Zimbabwe now qualifies to be officially referred to as a failed state.
Our national economy only grew by a miserable 1,5% in 2015, making it arguably the fastest shrinking economy in the fifteen member SADC region. As the country is literally burning, the Zanu PF regime remains clueless and visionless.
The regime is caught up in endless factional fighting that has placed the country virtually on auto pilot as the competing and antagonistic factions in Zanu PF are working overtime trying to outdo and out manoeuvre each other. The perilous state of both the physical and mental health of the nonagenarian President Robert Mugabe is not making matters any better for the toiling and poverty stricken masses of Zimbabwe.
Without a fundamental and holistic leadership change in Zimbabwe, the economy will not improve and will, in fact, get even worse in the new year. Corruption has since been institutionalised in both the public and private sectors in Zimbabwe. The scourge of corruption is so deep-rooted that it can only be overturned with the complete overhaul of the present kleptocratic regime that is running the country.Advertisement
Nothing short of a complete and thorough regime overhaul will cure the insipid and rampant corruption that has become a way of life in Zimbabwe. Chinese President Xi Jinping will be making a 48 hour stop-over in Harare on December 1, 2015 en route to a FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) conference that will be held in South Africa later in the week. This so-called historic state visit is in actual fact, a public relations exercise that will not bring any meaningful and tangible benefits to the tottering economy of Zimbabwe.
The Chinese are hugely unimpressed by the unresolved succession crisis in Zanu PF. When President Robert Mugabe paid a state visit to Beijing in August 2014, he was advised, in no uncertain terms, that China will not be able to commit real big money and meaningful investment to Zimbabwe until and unless Robert Mugabe clearly ironed out the succession debacle in his deeply divided and beleaguered political party, Zanu PF.
As the largest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe, the MDC calls upon the Zanu PF regime to appreciate that the end game is nigh. Robert Mugabe is in the sunset of his long political career and, as such, all stakeholders should put their heads together and urgently work on resolving the deteriorating socio-economic crisis that is bedevilling our motherland.
As a way forward, the MDC calls for the immediate resignation of Robert Mugabe as the President of the country because he is clearly no longer fit for purpose. We also call upon the prompt actualisation of the various electoral reforms that are fully set out in the WReNe ‘’Without Reforms, No Elections’’ document before fresh and legitimate free and fair elections can be held in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean economy has been a major casualty of the lack of political legitimacy of the Zanu PF regime. The people of Zimbabwe are entitled to be governed by a legitimate and popularly elected government. They don’t deserve to be under the tutelage of an illegitimate and corrupt regime that stole elections on July 31, 2013.
Obert Gutu is national spokesman for the MDC-T party.