By Obert Masaraure Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesperson
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition applauds citizens for sending a loud and clear message to the government following the continued deterioration of socio-economic conditions in the country.
We applaud these seemingly small but effective efforts by students, teachers and the general citizenry towards the #ShutDownZimbabwe Campaign.
This campaign should not in any way be misconstrued as an illegal campaign or an act of banditry as the government and the ruling party, Zanu PF would want to portray.
#ShutDownZimbabwe is a legitimate Campaign by citizens who have grown weary of the lies and propaganda of the Zanu PF coup junta who continue to paint a picture of economic prosperity when the conditions of citizens continue to deteriorate by the day.
To be clear, #ShutDownZimbabwe was a call to action against the mis-governance of the country by the coup junta; epitomized by among other things:
· The unilateral and unjustified rise in the cost of tertiary education, as clearly spelt out by the students under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).
· The continued impoverishment of civil servants by a government that does not want to pay a living wage, and continues to play truant in negotiating with its own workers.
· The monopoly over public transport by a clearly out of depth Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) which has failed especially the urban commuters. The state of the transport sector across the country is a cause for concern, despite the fact that the sector is a key driver of the economy.
· The continued interference of the coup junta’s ‘runners’ like July Moyo in the affairs of local councils which has all but crippled service delivery. July Moyo and the coup junta hope that citizens will lay the blame on their political opponents, but Zimbabweans are smarter than this kindergarten propaganda and political games.
· The capture of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) by the coup junta, in the hope of facilitating elections with pre-determined outcomes. ZEC has already been exposed by various citizens’ groups and it is clear that the 2023 elections must not be managed by ZEC in its current form.
· The continued corruption by government and Zanu PF officials, which has remained an albatross on the national economy. This economy will not be revived under such a corrupt government.
· The continued theft of the produce of farmers, who toil under strenuous economic conditions to produce maize and tobacco among many other crops, only to be swindled of their produce by government and Zanu PF-aligned makoronyera and dodgy private enterprises.
· Threats by Zanu PF surrogates such as Taurai Kandishaya against citizens who have questioned the mis-governance of the economy and the country. Such illegal threats have been ignored by a partisan police force.
While not surprising, we have noted with concern that the coup junta does have resources to carry out police parades in armoured vehicles as a way of instilling fear in citizens. Across the country, police and army trucks were seen patrolling the streets of major cities. At almost all tertiary institutions, the police were heavily deployed to ensure that indeed, the #ShutDownZimbabwe would be a success.
We applaud the junta government for scoring this own-goal, in favour of the citizens.
We have also taken note of the mid-night address by the head of the junta government on Saturday 7 May, where a raft of hastily thought, inadequate and inconsistent measures to remedy the economy were announced. We reiterate that these are inadequate to stem the rot in the economy.
We still contend that all we are witnessing are but symptoms of a far-reaching crisis of governance across three facets:
1. The crisis of governance as state-society relations
2. The crisis of governance as economic relations
3. The crisis of governance as public service delivery
We again reiterate that without genuine reforms across all three facets, the country will continue towards a path of underdevelopment. No amount of propaganda can paint a counter picture to the challenges that citizens of Zimbabwe face on a daily basis.
The economy may be prospering for only the few elites who derive profits from state tenders and corruption riddled deals facilitated by the coup junta.
We note with concern the fact that the government continues with its ruthlessness by unleashing armed forces against citizens seeking to hold the government to account.
As the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we shall continue to mobilise genuinely patriotic Zimbabweans to ensure that the government engages citizens for genuine reforms towards more inclusive governance. Patriotism is not the preserve of Zanu PF and is a birthright for all of us.
The deployment of armed forces proves the panicky mode on the part of the government but we remain unshaken and we shall continue with our resolve for a democratic and economically developed Zimbabwe.
We urge Zimbabweans to coalesce and unite for the common good.