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Zanu-PF government robes citizens

by Sakhile Sibanda
09 Feb 2017 at 10:26hrs | Views
DUMISO DABENGWA'S ZAPU wishes to express its sympathy to the suffering motorists on the Zimbabwean roads. Motorists pay heavily in repair costs for damages to their vehicles caused by pot-holed roads and lack of general road maintenance. There is now acceptance of serious dangerous driving characterized by motorists zigzagging on the roads to avoid potholes.

Now the government has unleashed another form of misery on the suffering motorists. The Traffic Police have been given targets for the purpose of raising revenue in the form of fines from motorists. Unless there is rainy heavy storm, road blocks crop up every few kilometers. A motorist is likely to go through, on average, four road blocks a day in towns and cities. For example, motorists are fined for not having a fire extinguisher in their vehicle or for not having the right type of fire extinguisher. The absurdity of it all is that most motorists do not even know how to use the very fire extinguisher they are required to carry. This is equivalent to acting without, firstly, engaging the brain. Surely, this senseless over policing of motorists is far from an inviting image to our country which should be striving to attract visitors and tourists.

The truth is, Zimbabwe as a country is bankrupt. There is no money in the public pursued and the ZANU PF government is trying, to keep itself afloat. It is a matter of time before the hot air balloon bursts. We have recently learnt from the Parliamentary Committee on Public Service and Social Welfare reports that the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) will not have sufficient funds to pay government pensioners because the government is not remitting the deducted pension subscriptions to the pension fund. In addition to the above the government is said to be failing to pass on the contributions to Premier Service Medical Aid Society making it hard for contributors to access medical treatment. This is enough evidence to support the assertion that the ZANU FP government is robbing the citizens.

As a party, ZAPU understands the suffering that is being inflicted by ZANU PF government to Zimbabwean citizens. Zapu has had the experience of being robbed by the same government in the 1980s when Zanu PF confiscated Zapu properties under the false pretext that ZAPU was planning to overthrow the Mugabe government. Ex-liberation combatants had pooled together their demobilization allowances to purchase properties and machinery as future investment for themselves and their families. Up to now no compensation has been forthcoming. Sadly, their enterprising efforts together with their spirits were quashed and most of them have died as paupers and their children are destitute.

To retain the support of the civil servants Mugabe is clinging on to this unattainable promise of paying them yearly bonuses as an extra month salary. The government knows there is no money in the public purse to pay bonuses. Why on earth does the government play a game of hide and seek with the civil servants. Zapu believes in being honest with the people so that, together with the people, it can develop realistic policies. Instead of dancing around this mission impossible deal, Zapu will take a decisive step and fuse the bonuses into the twelve months' salary payments and scrap the bonus system altogether. Normally, bonuses are paid for outstanding performance. The public should have a right to determine when public service delivery is outstanding. Even the civil servants, themselves, are intelligent enough to know that. Another nonsensical dimension to this issue is the proposal by this government to pay civil servants bonuses by giving them stands. Where on earth will the government get suitable land to give to all these civil servants? Is this government establishing a precedent whereby stands are giving in lieu of financial remunerations? When they find there is no money for pensioners will they offer them stands? They have tried to buy youth's loyalty to ZANU PF by offering them stands. This is unrealistic given that the youths are unemployed. This is another way of fueling corruption in the allocation and long-term ownership of those stands.

One wonders why we as Zimbabweans continue to vote in such a government. Yes, it has made people depend on government handouts and patronage to survive. Like chickens who spend all day foraging for food and coming running when they see someone with a basket of chicken feed, the citizens of our nation are controlled by very powerful centralized machinery which runs from the president down to the village head or kraal head. To survive people are compelled to show allegiance to Zanu or have connections in high places. It is therefore not surprising to see the manifestation of chicken-like behavior in ourselves.

So, what is the alternative to this road to ruin? ZAPU advocates for transferring centralized power to the people in their own localities by devolving government powers and responsibilities to five provinces which ZAPU considers to be economically viable to sustain meaningful devolution of power. However, as a way forward ZAPU vision will build on the provision of the 2013 National Constitution Section 264 which serves as a significant step in the right direction. ZAPU wishes to point out that it does not agree with caveat which provides for bureaucratic determination of which province or authority is competent enough to be given devolved powers as this could be abused by central government. Every province should have the right to running their own affairs and given the necessary assistance to e

ZAPU supports all the objectives as set out in Section 264 (2) as these are based on the recognition of the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to develop both the natural and human resources that bring benefit to the local population. Therefore, ZAPU expects the government of the day to show commitment to the transfer of responsibilities and resources from the national government to establish a sound financial base for each provincial and metropolitan council and local authority and this to be reflected in the budgetary allocations. ZAPU believes that the participation of local people in making decisions affecting them enhances democracy and accountability, act as a check on state abuses, and engenders a sense of ownership of the state by all citizens. The government has proclaimed that it is unable to implement this constitutional provision due to resource constraints. ZAPU will vigorously push for the full implementation of devolution of power and will support communities who want to further their own development.

Sakhile Sibanda is ZAPU National Secretary for Policy and Strategy.

Source - Sakhile Sibanda