Oh, it’s the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. As usual, the President will deliver a new year’s speech to his flock, like the biblical Moses during the journey from Egypt.
Moses had rescued the Israelites from the Pharaoh’s chains. The only difference is alas, this is an imaginary Moses who in reality is at the centre of whatever Zimbabwean grievances are. The difference is the same.
Covid-19 ruled the roost in 2020 and a lot of plans changed if it can be used as an excuse.
However, Zimbabweans are like little children who despite circumstances still expect their promises delivered. Not that it came as a surprise, but the whole year was nothing much ado.
As we wait for New Year’s Eve to hear what the government has in stock for 2021, besides prayers, lets reflect a bit on what we were promised in 2020. As the President likes to mention, “We cannot live in the past, but we can only learn from it.”
Overall, the government projected 2020 as a year of economic growth, high productivity and violence free.
Reflecting from the violence that had erupted in previous years to August 2018, the President had to assure people that 2020 was going to be a different year.
Of course, it was a new year, saved by less events that were ongoing during the lockdown.
However, the security forces continued to use force as a major tool to thwart protests such as the planned July 31 protest which saw scores of people being arrested.
We can talk of individual such Tawanda Muchehiwa who were abducted and tortured. We don’t have time to further explore the alleged abduction of three MDC Members who were also tortured because we will have to highlight other issues.
The President promised the nation that the welfare of civil servants will continue to be reviewed qualitatively in 2020.
That was good news, only that it lacked the practical side like any other nicely packed strategy.
This resulted in stalled progress mainly in the health and education sectors as government workers went on industrial strike for the better half of the year.
Teachers were the worst affected and surely had to light torches searching for welfare in the dark cave. The head of state even gloated about how they won’t be pushed to address teacher’s grievances. What was the solution…threaten with expulsion. Makes sense!
In his previous new year’s message, the President also made reference to the journey to entrench the democratic culture which was to be accelerated and laws to be aligned to the constitution.
Surprisingly, the President wants to amend the constitution itself and even went on with consultations during the lockdown.
Of democracy, the nation cannot stomach how a journalist like Hopewell Chin’ono would be arrested for exposing corruption while Jacob Ngarivhume was also arrested for for practicing his democratic right to demonstrate, among many others.
Covid-19 therefore became a major tool to stifle freedoms and rights.
Productivity in the country remains low as there is literally no job creation to talk about save for those who got political tasks through elective processes as recently witnessed during the Zanu PF DCC elections and yes, the COVID coup by our dear leader Thokhozani Khupe. Ooops, or should we be talking of the supposed violent take over by Douglas ‘Dougie’ Mwonzora now?
Economic growth rather continued to be thwarted by indiscipline in government as corruption remained on the rise. They even looted Covid-19 funds and had the nerve to arrest whistle-blowers.
The country was literally burning and cried for help through a solo social media campaign dubbed #ZimbabweLivesMatter. The authorities also downplayed this cry for help as political gimmick meant to sabotage the regime. Really?
Therefore, using ripple-cum-view assessment of 2020 we can say the government has scored way less than expected with the Covid-19 pandemic considered.
We wait to see the successes anticipated in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 strategy amid the fact that no measurable results were published for the abolished Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) just like any other yesteryear policies as Zim-Asset, Indeginisation and even ESAP.
But Zimbabwean citizens too have a bigger role to play if we are to achieve social accountability in the country.
2021 going forward citizens must make sure they actively participate in issues to do with decision making as it directly impacts on their wellbeing.
Government officials must be held to account so as to enforce the culture of accountability, transparency and good governance.
Human rights and democracy are for citizens to fight for as most regimes see this as a direct threat to their existence.
Zimbabweans must always remember that that government is there to serve and execute duties in line with the country’s’ and citizens’ interests.
Public resources management should be a bigger issue in 2021 and access to information is critical if anyone is going to make any informed decision today or in the future.
We are waiting for New Year’s Eve; the President better be looking forward to it too!
The authorities must work towards regaining the trust from citizens so as to create a united front which will be useful in tackling the problems currently bewildering Zimbabwe.