Zimbabwe at the Precipice-42 years after independence. A deepening Crisis, What is to be done?
18 April 2022
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, CiZC, joins Zimbabweans from all walks of life and progressive forces from across the globe in commemorating the independence of Zimbabwe from the grip of colonial rule.
On the 18th of April 1980 the Union Jack was lowered marking an end to the racist, fascist rule of the right wing settler regime. Independence came after a protracted armed struggle, executed at the cost of many lives, and the sweat, tears and blood of citizens in reclaiming back their country, their land. The world celebrated the bold push back against imperialism and expected Zimbabwe to March towards an egalitarian society under a democratic progressive developmental state.
This was the promise of independence, at independence.
42 years on after the cherished independence, Zimbabwe has significantly regressed back to fascism and has become a puppet of imperialist forces. The right wing tendencies of the current government continue to negate the Liberation agenda; the government has metamorphosized into an increasingly authoritarian polity, adopted a ruinous neo liberal economic agenda and embarked on massive looting of national resources.
The CiZC envisions a democratic and economically developed Zimbabwe, a vision which is in sync with the Liberation agenda of establishing a democratic progressive developmental state. The Coalition has therefore become the natural vehicle for accelerating the completion of the Liberation struggle. CiZC notes that reactionary forces have taken over the reigns of power and are derailing the Liberation Project. To that end the Coalition has identified 3 crisis points which have to be addressed as we complete the liberation project. These crisis points are clear deficits in the governance architecture of the reactionaries controlling state power, the identified parameters are as follows;
1. State-Society relations
Those who fought the Liberation struggle envisioned a democratic Zimbabwe in which those who govern would have an enduring social contract with the governed. Unfortunately, under the current government of reactionary elements, the social contract has collapsed. There is a serious legitimacy crisis for the incumbent government which came to power through fraudulent means.
The current government has gone on an offensive closing democratic space through enacting retrogressive laws to serve their parochial interests of power preservation. Such laws include the Patriotic Bill, Public Voluntary Organisations Bill and Maintenance of Public Order Act (MOPA) among others. These laws are from the handbook of the colonial regime.
State institutions which are supposed to serve the people and protect our democracy have been captured and turned into vehicles for advancing the interests of the ruling elites. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission mandated with running elections has become seriously compromised and clearly unable to administer a credible election. This is captured in our latest report on the March 26 by-elections, ‘Sowing the seeds of legitimacy…’ Without credible elections, the legitimacy question will always linger and this has become a nagging albatross and key impediment to Zimbabwe enjoying its place in the league of nations, and being able to turn around its economy
with the support of the international community. Without international support, the dream of turning back the fortunes of this country, remains a fleeting illusion, to be perpetually pursued, but never to be attained.
2. Economic Relations
The current government is stripping Zimbabwe of its assets and handing them to imperialist interests including from rogue governments. Zimbabwe’s fertile lands, mineral wealth and natural energy reserves are being handed over to foreign multinationals in exchange of a few pieces of silver, which unfortunately do not reach the ordinary masses.
National assets including the oil pipeline, Fidelity gold refinery section and other key economic assets are being corruptly handed over to private players, who are mainly cronies of the ruling elites. National wealth is being created but is not shared being shared equally.
The reactionary forces have dumped state planning and are now working hard to please the Bretton Woods institutions in the desperate bid to secure more disastrous credit lines. Under the leadership of the current Minister of Finance, Economic growth is viewed in terms of ‘manipulated figures’, with complete disregard for the welfare of the people – a shameless ‘faceless economic growth model’ – premised on extreme exploitation of workers and the general masses.
The economy remains dualised with the majority of the people remaining on the margins while a few politically connected have joined the likes of Billy Rautanbach at the center. There are no employment opportunities and our young people are living in very desperate economic situations. With no economic opportunities for many, a lot of young people desperately leave the country in droves, risking very adverse conditions in foreign lands.
3. Public service delivery
CiZC is concerned by the collapse of the healthcare system; unavailability of cancer machines, increased maternal mortality and massive brain drain being some of the key highlights. The Education system has also collapsed with over 1 million learners dropping out of school since 2020. Water and sanitation remains a challenge with suburbs like Chitungwiza receiving just 14 mega litres of water in a fortnight out of a required 42 Mega litres per day. The housing crisis is worsening and millions of citizens are on waiting lists for housing. ZANU PF activists have become land barons setting up illegal settlements, blighted with health hazards and poor service delivery.
The collapse of social services has increased the burden of unpaid care work for women and made life unbearable for those living with different forms of disability.
The current government has reneged on social service delivery and placed the burden on individual citizens. Privatisation is now flourishing, denying the poor majority access to social services. Only the rich can now access education, drink clean water and enjoyment of other social services.
What is to be done?
It is clear that the gains of our liberation struggle are under attack from a small group of individuals within the ruling class, who have set up the state for the enjoyment of a few politically connected cronies. They also consort with dodgy international characters in pilfering the resources of the state, to the detriment of our national development.
Putting an end to this requires a collective push to bring all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to the table, and begin to dialogue, for no one actor, or just two, can extricate this country from the deep throes that have come to characterize the current crisis in the country.
The realization must be that liberation and independence was not concluded and won on 18 April 1980. Liberation remains work in progress. The gains of the Liberation struggle are being reversed by reactionaries, from Robert Mugabe and those who came to power through the November 2017 coup. It is incumbent upon the Citizens to complete the liberation struggle. The CiZC pledges to lead the fight of delivering a democratic progressive developmental Zimbabwe.
The Coalition views dialogue as a practical tool in unlocking the political logjam that has choked economic and social development for more than two decades now. Dialogue must not be about political actors alone, but must encompass a broad range of citizens’ interests, wide as they are.
The CiZC will work with other progressive movements to mobilise the masses of our people under the, Restore Zimbabwe Campaign, REZICA to push for reforms in our governance architecture across the three parameters highlighted above.
The Coalition will also mobilise progressive forces across the globe to support a clear settlement of the governance deficits and authoritarian practices of the current government that threaten the liberation goal of a socially just Zimbabwe. These deficits are apparent, deepening and will affect a number of generations in years to come – a silent ‘genocide’ of our moral fabric as a society is in motion right now.
The Coalition will also continue rallying all citizens to reflect on the economic crisis and collectively craft a method of realising inclusive economic growth that genuinely leaves no one behind.
42 years after independence, so many have been left behind and on the margins of the
economy, in a very resource rich country. CiZC will continue to support and amplify the voices of citizens who are demand state funded social services. This is what our constitution says, demands.
For many, it is ‘not yet Uhuru’!
Long live Zimbabwe! Amandla!!!
Crisis in Zimbabwe Spokesperson