UDC has been monitoring the deteriorating economic and political situation in Zimbabwe. It notes that the Zimbabwean economy remains very fragile and extremely difficult for ordinary people to make ends meet.
The lack of cash, shortage of food items and opportunities to earn a living for the majority of the population remains a very serious concern for UDC. Clearly, the general elections in August 2018 have not brought much economic relief that the people of Zimbabwe had hoped for and have been yearning for in many years.
The return of the ZANU PF to government has not brought much difference in terms of job creation, improved wages and improvement in business opportunities in the country. This, for us at UDC has raised the key question of whether the same Party which has overseen the deteriorating economy for close to forty years and has done so through wrong policies, programmes and corruption acts, can realistically be expected to turn that same economy around. We do not believe this is possible.
The Mwanangagwa government has been in Office for close to six months since August 2018. By now any serious economic reforms should have yielded better results. But there are very little signs of such positive change. Instead, the country is on the edge of economic collapse. Under these circumstances, the exorbitant increase in fuel prices by the Government last week without consultation with key stakeholders was both irresponsible and unfortunate.
The decision to increase fuel prices four-folds was an act of panic and a sign of a government which has lost touch with the conditions of the suffering masses of the people of that country. The call for boycott of the decision to increase the price of fuel by among others; the workers, farmers and ordinary citizens was justified and has our full support as the UDC.
It is regrettable and criminal for the Government of President Mwanangagwa to have responded to these peaceful demonstrations with brutal force that has led to loss of innocent lives. As UDC we call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to exercise patience and recognize that the worsening economic situation and the government’s failure to stop it is the main course of the growing frustration among the population. The country has become deeply divided politically and economically as the people see the leaders identified with wealth and riches in a situation where the majority of them cannot even manage a reasonable one meal per day.
We therefore call upon the government to stop violence on innocent people and exercise caution and understanding to the situation on the ground. We call upon the government to reverse the decision to increase fuel prices four-folds. Any necessary increase should be reasonable and affordable and should not have the paralyzing effects on the already ailing economy and standard of living of the population. We further call on the Government of ZANU PF to recognize that elections are not democracy.
Democracy means popular participation in key decisions that have potential effects on majority of the population. Such decisions should have been preceded by extensive consultations with other political parties, workers’ unions and the business community. Democracy is all about working with others to address national issues. It is not about demonstrating your electoral prowess and means of force on the people that elected you.
Finally, as UDC we call upon the SADC leadership to act decisively to help create conditions for peace and stability in Zimbabwe. We further call on the Western governments to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe and support all constructive and genuine reform programmes in the country.
Cde Moeti Mohwasa
UDC Head of Communications