Senators on Thursday said the country is in crisis and the economy is collapsing with no hope of resuscitatibg it under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
At a time civil society, students and other stakeholders are plotting a 9 May shutdown, senators said the situation needs immediate resolution.
Senators who bemoaned the economic crisis include Zanu-PF’s Angeline Tongogara, Chief Mtshane Khumalo and the MDC-T’s Piniel Denga.
“I am equally concerned just like all other speakers that have spoken before me and I totally agree with them that the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing,” MDC-T senator Morgen Komichi (pictured) told the Senate.
“Life is unbearable in Zimbabwe at the moment. Our currency is losing value like a falling airplane nose diving into an ocean and it appears as if there is no solution in the very near future.”
He said the situation was reminiscence of the 2007-2008 crisis that saw the economy collapsing under the weight of hyperinflation.
“We are actually going towards that situation once more,” Komichi said.
“Three years ago, we sat in this Parliament over a budget which was ZW$5.4 billion. The following year we then passed a budget of ZW$64 billion and this previous year we went through a budget that was almost ZW$1 trillion. The rate at which our budget is going up has no relationship to the economic growth and development. This only signifies that we are in a conflictual state.
“We are in a war which is not physical as such, but there is a serious conflict taking place in Zimbabwe, a conflict that requires our attention as Zimbabweans.
“These are the basic requirements of any human being and this is the responsibility of the government to make sure that people live comfortably, but the economic challenge or crisis in Zimbabwe at the moment is sliding out of control,” the MDC-T national chairperson said.
He said the government has lost control of the economy and instability is a possibility.
“It is true, I was just reading an article today that the country is about to face serious instability. The country is about to face uprisings, demonstrations because of hunger. The moment the people of any country suffer, they tend to go into the street,” he said in apparent reference to the planned Monday shutdown.
Zanu-PF senator Eleven Kambizi also conceded that the economic crisis needs immediate solutions.
“The economic situation that is prevailing in this country is both funny and unique. All things being equal, the people of Zimbabwe and their economy should be showing a trajectory that is going up but instead the opposite is happening and I am not too sure why.”
His statements come despite consistent denials of a crisis by the government, particularly Finance minister Mthuli Ncube who claims the country is on the right track economically.
“Zimbabwe has all the resources in abundance, be it minerals or agriculture. Why then are citizens of this country suffering? Why then is the economy on a downward trajectory? That is the biggest question this House must focus on,” Kambizi said.
“Secondly, there is the issue of political power. We have some citizens in this country who are obsessed by power to an extent that they wish citizens of this country to suffer so that by the end of the day, they think using their stomachs.”
Kambizi also blamed corruption on the economic crisis in the country.
“The greatest enemy is corruption, corruption, corruption, corruption. Many a time we have had investors who have shown interest to come and invest in this country, but they come in and get out, running away from corruption.”
The public has been calling on the government to bring back commuter omnibuses, end currency chaos and reduce the cost of living.
The shutdown is also meant to force the government to reduce tertiary education fees, capacitate hospitals, and increase salaries as well as pensions.
Activists have warned that further action will be taken if the government does not act.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson Peter Mutasa said of the planned shutdown: “lf on Monday 9 May, 2022, you suffer in a transport queue the government won’t be the problem, you will be the problem. Use your constitutional rights and protest quietly. Stay at home, send a message to government.”
South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane said the world is watching and does not expect the heavy-handedness of state security agencies.
“The world will be watching when #ShutdownZimbabwe happens. There is no room for suppression of the rights of the people including the right to protest. There should be no obstruction of the people, Mnangagwa,” Maimane said.
“There should be no arrests and intimidation of activists. South Africa has paid a heavy price for the oppression in Zimbabwe. We will not ignore brutality and oppression. We cannot repeat the mistakes of 2002 and 2008. We cannot support dictatorship anymore. It is costing us dearly, it is costing the whole of Sadc.”
Mnangagwa is faced with a serious economic crisis, including hyperinflation and an unstable currency he blames on sot-called saboteurs.
The Zanu-PF leader is afraid his detractors both within and outside the party will use his failure to address the economic crisis against him, particularly in view of the ruling party’s elective congress scheduled for later this year.