Slow democratic reform and economic under-performance in Zimbabwe should concern SADC
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition congratulates South Africa for holding a peaceful, free and fair election on the 7th of May 2014. We commend the peace and stability subsisting in the country after the election.
We commend the South African government for playing a facilitation role during the lifespan of the government of national unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe and the subsequent gains made. Through this facilitation, we note the positive developments realised during the GNU era, especially the conclusion of the Constitution-making process, stabilization of the economy and the relative peace that prevailed during and after the July 31 election.
We are, however, deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe post-July 31 2013, characterized by the problems emerging:
- Delay in the full implementation of the Constitution
- Economic decline
- Deteriorating service delivery
- Policy inconsistencies
The delay in the full implementation of the Constitution has affected the reform agenda and the entrenchment of democratic principles. The failure to realign laws with the new Constitution has resulted in the violation of the charter, over a year since its adoption.
We note with concern the delays in setting up the independent Commissions supporting democracy in particular the Gender and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commissions.
Although the Constitution, guarantees socio - economic rights there are challenges in the protection, promotion and fulfillment of these rights which are violated on a daily basis. Rights to clean and safe water, electricity, access to health and education continue to be violated through government’s inability to have these rights accessible to everyone. The right to freedom from arbitrary evictions, forced evictions still occur without adherence to the relevant standards set.
The failure by the government of Zimbabwe to send out a clear message on its economic policies and the resultant policy inconsistencies, for example the indigenization and economic empowerment policy, has heavily affected investor confidence and access to funds from international funding institutions.
The economy is now underperforming with a heavily distressed fiscus and the government struggling to pay its employees. On average, ten (10) companies are closing every month, with those remaining operating below capacity. Rampant corruption in both the public and private enterprise has seriously affected economic performance and the government’s failure to decisively deal with corruption has affected innocent citizens.
We are concerned that the economic rebound experienced since 2009 has slowed down as growth declined from 11.4% in 2010 and 11.9% in 2011 to 10.6% in 2012 and a projected 3.4% in 2014 against a Medium-Term Plan (2011-15) target of 7.1%. The World Bank recently cut Zimbabwe’s economic growth rate forecasts to just 2% on mounting evidence of weak foreign direct investment, liquidity constraints and lack of policy clarity.
In the past week alone, nine hundred (900) cases of diarrhea were reported in the high-density suburb of Mabvuku in Harare, pointing to the government’s failure to arrest waterborne diseases.
Several areas continue to go without running water. Power outages have been on the increase as the country’s debt-laden power utility fails to adequately supply electricity to the people, industry, commerce and agriculture.
Noting the deteriorating situation above, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition makes the following recommendations:
- SADC member states must continue to push and apply pressure on Zimbabwe to pursue democratic reforms;
- SADC must demand policy clarity on the Zimbabwe economy;
- SADC and the International community must assist in the resuscitation of multiple donor trust funds targeting the economy and social service delivery in Zimbabwe;
- The international community must develop a principles and milestone based mechanism for re-engaging the Zimbabwe government;
- The government of Zimbabwe must fully implement the Constitution, focus on realignment of laws and support key democratic institutions provided for in the new Constitution;
- The South African government must consider a second phase of the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP) targeting migrant Zimbabweans.
Issued by: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
1. Dewa Mavhinga, Chairperson, Mobile: 002773 521 1813
2. Mfundo Mlilo, Spokesperson, Mobile: 00263 772 127 397
3. Joy Mabenge, Acting National Coordinator, Mobile: 0027 83 389 2370