Coordinator’s Note: Zimbabwe's National Budget..."We cant breathe"
By Blessing Vava (Regional Director)
The month of November saw the Zimbabwean government presenting its 2021 national budget and also the launching of the country’s National Development Strategy (NDS1), outlining the country's five-year economic plans. NDS1 replaces the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), launched in 2018 to run for two years. What is intriguing is that the two documents are anchored on free-market /neoliberal economic policies which will continue to squeeze the poor through, for instance, the proposed tax regime. We bring to you Vol 6, Issue 8 of the Crisis in Zimbabwe flagship publication, the Zimbabwe Briefing. In this edition, we zoom our focus on these two documents and their effect on the citizenry.
As we bring you this last edition for 2020, we are grateful to the contributors on this platform who kept the readers nourished by the cutting edge analysis on the different topics that we tackled this year. The Zimbabwe Briefing has continued to provoke and guide debate with cutting edge analysis on critical and topical topics as informed by the current Zimbabwe geopolitics.
In 2020, we tackled different topics cutting across all spheres of society, the proposed constitutional amendment number 2, Operation Restore Legacy, a reflection on the 40 years of independence, the Pan African Agenda, Covid19 to mention just a few.
March 2020, special edition focusing on International Women’s Day. The edition pressed that socioeconomic development cannot be fully achieved without the active involvement of women at the decision-making level in all society.
August 2020, a special edition unpacked the hero status concept, selection of national heroes, and understanding what it takes to be a hero, why does one political party choose who is a hero, what is the role of citizens, parliament in selecting our heroes? The papers concluded that it must not be a prerogative of ZANU PF as a ruling party to solely confer hero status and that in order to untangle the liberation movement and military psyche and capture there needs to be an all-inclusive approach to the conferment of hero status.
Another interesting edition was the focus on a national dialogue on the Zim “crisis.” In this edition, the Coalition also welcomed efforts by president Cyril Ramaphosa in appointing a special envoy comprised of Sydney Mufamadi and Baleka Mbete as the South African government attempts to intervene in an unfolding crisis. The Coalition expressed its view that any dialogue process must involve all stakeholders. Relegating dialogue to political parties risks producing an elite pact that is in dissonance with the citizen’s interests.
The papers in this edition argued that such efforts to exclude other stakeholders are not in any way an attempt to sanitise ZANU PF factional fights but the beginning of a genuine roadmap to involve Zimbabweans from across societal cleavages (political, religious, civic, business and labour) to engage in collective dialogue on the fundamental challenges facing the country and fashion a shared vision that moves the country towards democratization and away from the twin crises of poor governance and illegitimacy.
October 2020 edition picked up the mediation issue based on louder calls for SADC to take an initiative in solving Zimbabwe's jigsaw political puzzle. The calls as stated were motivated by the 2008 SADC facilitation initiative when South Africa through president Mbeki organised SADC to step in Zimbabwe and eventually initiated a dialogue process that resulted in a Government of National Unity with both the ruling ZANU PF party and the two opposition MDC parties.
Through the papers presented in this edition, it was suggested that key to transformation or mediation in Zimbabwe is the demilitarisation of government and state institutions, the military should stick to their mandate of defending the country against foreign threats and not be part of the day to day running of government business. Finally, there should be a united effort of SADC and Zimbabwe's neighbouring countries to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis. The regional body SADC should take a leading role in the mediation.
HAPPY READING & WE WISH YOU SAFE HOLIDAYS