Another year goes down the drain
THE first year of the second decade of the 21st century has finally drawn to
a close with Zimbabwe again remaining in crisis and difficult to govern. We
expected our leaders to put the country first by forgetting or at least
minimising all their past differences, since we have achieved little or
nothing of significance in the first decade of this millennium to be proud
One doesn’t have to be particularly clever to point out the relatively
obvious, that most Zimbabweans have lost faith in the present coalition
government and we can’t think of a single thing it has done this year which
was well received by the general populace.
The past 12 months were characterised by intrigue, political tension and
subterfuge. At one point, political tension rose to a crescendo and
threatened to snap the precariously thin thread binding the country’s
political protagonists in a shaky coalition government now in its third
The two MDC formations and Zanu PF continued with their daily horse trading
caused by the failure or unwillingness to implement the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), particularly the never-ending drafting of an election
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai added more confusion to the already shaky
ground by declaring that the entire GPA was now outstanding. Violence reared
its ugly head again in 2011 with Zanu PF and MDC-T youths engaging in bloody
battles with each other as they sought to swing the ongoing
constitution-making process to embrace their parties’ ideologies.
A bombshell hit our political landscape when retired former army commander
General Solomon Mujuru was killed in a mysterious fire at his Beatrice
farmhouse. The late liberation war hero and his wife Joice Mujuru were the
chief rivals in Zanu PF to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction.
Although authorities assured the nation that top forensic experts were
investigating the incident, the case seems to have gone cold four months
after Mujuru’s grisly death.
We would not be surprised if the case of the general’s death is ignored in
2011 since President Robert Mugabe has already catapulted election talk and
his presidential candidacy to the centre of the national discourse for 2012.
Election talk has dominated Zimbabwe since the formation of the coalition
government and it’s likely to keep Zimbabwe’s political environment unstable
throughout most of 2012, with potential election-related violence being the
main threat to progress towards rebuilding our battered economy. Most
ordinary Zimbabweans would understandably wish they could forget many of the
days gone by in 2011 because our old and tired politicians have no answers
to the country’s growing ills .
While politicians exchanged insults throughout the year, the country went
through another year supported by a cash economy. Such unpredictable and
unsustainable economics has reduced our national budget to mere tradition
since sector allocations are largely dependent on the state’s general cash
Agricultural production — once the backbone of this economy — was hit hard,
with the resulting supply shortages leading to temporary but significant
increases in some product prices and to headline inflation.
Now that the Kimberley Process has allowed Zimbabwe to export diamonds from
the Marange fields, we wait to see who will manage the expected windfall —
the national treasurer or the Mines department -— since a tug of war already
The governability deterioration and extreme weakness have cascaded to local
councils, which have been further debilitated. Poor implementation capacity
has severely disrupted service delivery. With election talk, our career
politicians have rushed to secure their future while services key to
citizens, such as the provision of clean water and sanitation, health,
education, road infrastructure and social services, among others, suffer.
In most areas, uncollected refuse competes with local landmarks. Rates
continue to rise, with utility bills increasingly skyrocketing in spite of
the eternal load shedding and water cuts.
Politicians’ indifference and man-made disasters have wreaked immense damage
on Zimbabweans, leaving many facing a bleak 2012 where the noise on
elections and succession debate are likely to grow even louder, in the
process drowning out all voices of reason.
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