A NEW wave of emigration has hit Zimbabwe following the country’s disputed 23 August general elections amid worsening economic hardships, a development that has coincided with the United Kingdom opening its borders to unprecedented levels due to rising demand for labour in Britain.
Most people in Zimbabwe have virtually passed a vote of no confidence in the so-called Second Republic which is widely accused of stealing the 2023 polls from main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and his Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).
Following the dubious victory of Mnagangwa’s Zanu PF last year, the CCC has been thrown into turmoil after the self-imposed secretary-general of the main opposition party, one Sengezo Tshabangu, formed an unholy alliance with the ruling party.
The infamous Tshabangu, who has become some kind of a hate figure among opposition supporters, has recalled a number of elected CCC officials and boosted Zanu PF’s stranglehold on power.
His acts have rendered Parliament useless through subverting the will of the people in affected constituencies.
Given this scenario, disillusioned Zimbabweans have lost all hope and are opting to leave the country in search for a better life for themselves and their families.
Just as the New Year set in, the already hard-pressed Zimbabweans are now finding the going tough and reeling under deepening poverty exacerbated by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s national budget whose effects are beginning to show.
Prices of basics such as bread, meat and transport have all gone up, with the Zimbabwe dollar falling against the US dollar.
Sadder still, the political turmoil persists with no end in sight.
But the worst is yet to come as the 2023-24 farming season is largely prone to drought largely due to climate change.
Keen to probe why many professionals, including nurses and teachers, are leaving the country for overseas jobs, The NewsHawks noted through interviews that both the political and economic situation are driving people out of Zimbabwe.
It also emerged that those eager to leave the country but have not done so were only prevented from doing so by different technicalities.
An official with the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association said there has been a decrease in the number of nurses leaving the county due to a delay in the issuing of some documents.
“Nurses had not been issued verification or letters of good sending which are signed by the nursing council,” the official said. “What normally happens is that when a nurse wants to work as a nurse in another country, they need those letters of good standing from their country’s nursing councils which will be to the council of the country to which they are going.”
“So, if one does not have those letters, it means they are unable to practice nursing,” the official added.
Asked why their members could not access the letters, the official said it was politically motivated.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s Trade Union president Dominic Manyangadze confirmed there were between 15 to 20 members who left for greener pastures per month during last year.
“These members left for the United Kingdom or South Africa where they would join the revenue authorities there or at least change jobs. We have 3 000 members at present and surprisingly those who are leaving include those in leadership posts,” Manyangadze said.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said on average there were about 10 to 15 members a month who left the country.
“We have a membership of 37 000 and most people that are leaving are not happy with teaching anymore,” Ndlovu said. “Just look at the remuneration and conditions of service. And the number of members who are leaving is between 100 to 250 last year and of these the majority are males indicating that they are the bread winners.”
While the government is painting a bright picture of a growing economy, the situation is quite different on the ground as the going is getting tougher for most Zimbabweans.
Ncube last year proposed to more than double revenue collection in the 2023/24 budget to 53.9 trillion Zimbabwe dollars to fund expenditure that is expected to grow by a similar margin.
The government is trying to fund its revenue bill through the introduction of more aggressive taxes on corporates, micro and small enterprises, as well as the wealthy.