Opposition parties and civic groups have described President Mugabe’s 29 minute speech delivered at the State of the Nation Address as a damp squid and largely ignored burning issues affecting the country.
President who delivered his second edition of the state of the nation but failed to address critical issues including the cash crisis, corruption and civil servants bonuses, key issues that have crippled the once vibrant economy and impacting negatively on the livelihoods of ordinary citizens.
Obert Gutu, Spokesperson of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai said President Mugabe’s state of the nation address was bereft of details on concrete measures and policies to resuscitate the comatose economy.
“Instead of addressing critical issues such as the grinding poverty that is afflicting at least 75% of the Zimbabwean population in both rural and urban areas, rampant unemployment particularly amongst the youth and the financial disaster that has been caused by the unwise and cruel decision to introduce bond notes into the financial market, Mugabe’s SONA was bereft of details on concrete and sustainable measures and policies to resuscitate the comatose economy.
“As the MDC we reiterate what we have always been saying all along: Mugabe is the problem and not part of the solution. His advanced age and apparently frail health distinctly single him out as one of Zimbabwe’s biggest if not the biggest national security threat
“The old man should do the nation a huge favor by announcing his immediate retirement from office. With Mugabe continuing at the helm, Zimbabwe is now like a jumbo jet that is on high altitude but on auto pilot and quickly running out of fuel. The only inevitable result is a horrendous crash with fatal consequences” said Gutu.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said it will be a miracle for Mugabe to improve the country’s economic status.
“First of all to assume that Mugabe knows what he is reading is an act of faith,” he said.
Meanwhile, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, (CiZC) has released a statement denouncing President Mugabe’s speech saying his sentiments on improving ease of doing business and promoting foreign investment were mere political rhetoric.
“Currently, the Zimbabwean economy is in tatters and is characterized by a serious liquidity crunch and unemployment as a result of company closures. Corruption has also taken its toll on the national economy and the government has proved its lack of will to ensure that high level corruption by political elites is stopped.
“Yet President Mugabe, in his State of the Nation Address chose to ignore these pertinent issues affecting the Zimbabwean economy and impacting negatively on the livelihoods of ordinary citizens,” reads part of the statement.
Writing on her Facebook Page, Human Rights defender and a Pro democracy activist, Fadzai Mahere said, “With all due respect, that speech by the President purporting to be an address on the state of the nation was a joke from start to finish. It was neither engaging nor did it provide a review of the condition that Zimbabwe is in at this particular time. Most critical issues including the cash crisis, the unlawful introduction of bond notes, the failed public health system, the dead economy, rampant unemployment and violence by the police – to mention just a few were not addressed at all. It feels as though this country is in free fall.
“Surely, we deserve better? In typical Zimbabwean fashion, our only response appears to be to laugh as if this is somehow funny or something to joke about. This is not a joke. This is not an experiment. This is not a game. It is a whole nation where people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. Do our self-respect and national pride count for nothing at all?
Fadzayi MahereJacob MafumeMovement for Democratic ChangeObert GutuPeople's Democratic Party