WHILE President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking re-election on August 23 this year, his campaign is being overshadowed by unfulfilled promises from the previous poll, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Zimbabwe’s economic trend has been spiraling downwards since Mnangagwa took over from the late Robert Mugabe in the 2017 military coup.
The Mnangagwa-led government has been struggling to live up to most of the promises it made during the 2018 election season, with economic instability and poverty taking root.
In its 2018 manifesto, the government promised to eradicate poverty.
“In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Zanu PF government will implement measures to eradicate poverty and inequalities. Recovering the economy in order to create opportunities and access to basic needs by all citizens. Creating social safety nets, increasing budgetary needs for social welfare. Promoting food and nutrition programmes at schools,” reads the party’s 2013 manifesto.
Despite the promises, the country has been hamstrung by poverty, with skyrocketing inflation blighting livelihoods of already-burdened citizens.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a family of six now requires ZW$1 million a month to survive, up from ZW$611 275 in April, reflecting the depth of the Zimdollar’s crash and resultant price spikes.
Civil servants have been earning below ZW$100 000, excluding the Covid-19 allowance, while over nine million people have been plunged into poverty.
This year, Zimbabwe has been named amongst the world’s poorest nations by Global Finance Magazine. Zimbabwe, which was the most industrialised nation in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa in 1980, is now among the top 20 poorest countries in the world — ranking 17th.
Out of those 20 countries, 17 are from Africa, while three are from the Middle East and two are from the Oceania region in central and south Pacific Ocean respectively.
South Sudan is the poorest country is Africa; Nepal in Asia; Papua New Guinea in Oceania; Haiti in North America; Venezuela in South America and Ukraine in Europe.
In 2018, the government promised to deliver 1.5 million houses, which it said would be delivered during its five-year tenure.
This means the government would produce at least 300 000 houses per-year. However, the government has failed to achieve this, with Local Government deputy minister Daniel Garwe revising the statistics downwards in 2020.
In The Herald newspaper of 29 January 2020, Housing and Social Amenities minister Daniel Garwe was quoted as saying: “The target that we were given by Government is 100 000 per year, but because of other challenges, if we achieve between 20 000 to 30 000 per year we would have done well.”
Health service delivery
The country’s health facilities have largely been ground to a halt by Zimbabwe’s worsening socio-economic crisis which has seen people going to neighbouring countries for treatment, raising an outcry.
Last year, the head of health in South Africa’s Limpopo province, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, took swipes at President Mnangagwa over his leadership and governance failures, particularly in the health sector, which she said were burdening that country’s public hospitals.
She complained that the failure by the Southern African Development Community to tackle the migration crisis in the region is putting pressure on her country’s health system, whose resources are insufficient to cater for undocumented foreigners.
Most of the country’s problems have mainly been caused by incompetence.
This week, the chairperson of Zimbabwe’s parliamentary portfolio committee on Health, Dr Ruth Labode, revealed how radiotherapy cancer treatment machines at Bulawayo’s Mpilo Central Hospital — purchased by the taxpayer for US$2 million — have not functioned for four years because central government has not bought spares worth US$80 000.
In the run up to the 2018 general election, Zanu PF promised more than two million jobs, free primary and secondary education, among others, which it has failed to deliver.
Zanu PF launched its 2018 election campaign manifesto under the theme “Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-Engage, Create Jobs”.
However, working conditions have hit rock bottom which has seen the skilled workforce seeking greener pastures outside the country.
For instance, the nurse aide certificate has become the new gold for Zimbabweans, whose most preferential destination is now the United Kingdom.
As of May 2022, the United Kingdom said it needed 650 to fill 110 192 posts left vacant after the death of frontline health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The shortages included 39 652 nurses and 8 158 medical doctors, according to quarterly data for vacancies published last year by the National Health Services.
Nursing assistants in the UK earn an average of £20 000 per annum (US$26 000), which translates to about US$2 100 per month.
The government has failed to provide electricity, particularly in rural areas, as per its 2018 election promise.
Zimbabwe still reels under massive power cuts that have been ongoing despite synchronisation of Hwange Unit 7 Power Station that has been touted to ramp up power supply.
Some residential areas have been going for over 18 hours without electricity since the fourth quarter of 2022. Zimbabwe’s power crisis has been precipitated mainly by a combination of climate crisis, poor planning and economic mismanagement.
For instance, in March, controversial businessperson Wicknell Chivayo was absolved of wrongdoing following accusations of misappropriating US$5.6 million for the 100 megawatt Gwanda solar project, after the Harare magistrates’ court agreed that there had been an unreasonable delay in the prosecution.
In 2022, Harare City Council penned a US$344 million waste-to-energy deal at Pomona dumpsite projected to add 22MW to the national grid through waste processing.
Under the deal, the coty council is supposed to pay Geogenix BV over US$22 000 a day for the first year and will suffer consequences by way of heavy penalties should it fail to fulfil its side of the bargain.
In the first year, Harare is expected to deliver 550 tonnes a day to Pomona dumpsite and over 200 750 tonnes a year, which translates to US$8 030 000 that will be paid to the Netherlands-based company.
Councillors rejected the deal, accusing Local Government minister July Moyo of forcing it down their throats. The future is also becoming bleak for Zimbabwe’s long-term power prospects — based on coal — as the world is drifting away from the energy source due to its contribution to the climate crisis.