‘Zim’s socio-economic rights under threat’, says think-tank

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

A local think-tank has described the current efforts by the government to stabilise the economy as a threat to fundamental socio-economic rights   that should be enjoyed by ordinary citizens.

Speaking at a ‘Socio-Economic Rights Engagement Seminar’  with media practitioners ,held in the capital on Tuesday  ,Labour and Economic Development Research  Institute (LEDRIZ) senior economist Dr Prosper Chitambara said  government’s efforts on macro-economic stability through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme is  leading to violations of  key socio-economic rights .

“The  Transitional Stabilisation Programme being pursued by government in addressing macro-economic stability  means  a cut back in key social services like health, education and social welfare which are essentially critical in arresting poverty ,”revealed Dr Chitambara.

He implored the government to put the citizens at the core of all its initiatives   for it to successfully address the economic malaise prevailing in  this country.

“It has been proven that a pro-poor inclusive and sustainable development that is development for the ‘people by the people’ is ideal when wanting to address the economy,’ asserted LEDRIZ’s senior economist.

A researcher with the think-tank, Clinton Musonza bemoaned how citizens are not holding the government to account when their socio-economic rights are being trampled upon despite them(rights) being granted in the constitution .

“Our worry as an organisation that advocates for socio-economic rights is that most citizens are not aware that  the constitution provides for socio-economic  rights and there is the need to hold the government accountable when these are violated,”said Musonza.

According to Musonza , it is against this odd that his organisation is encouraging citizens participation around socio-economic rights  to ensure  there is transparency and accountability from the government around these fundamentals .

“Socio-economic rights are entitlements but there is need for citizens’ participation for these to be realised.

“The government will only respond if there is active participation from the citizens which may include approaching government institutions that are key in provision of such fundamental rights ,”he added.

The think-tank has penned a book entitled ‘Socio-Economic Rights in Zimbabwe, A Situational  Analysis  1980-2018’, which cites that  the most important socio-economic rights are the following 8; ‘the right to education, health ,food and food security ,decent work ,a living wage, housing ,water and sanitation and a healthy environment .These  are clearly provided for in the bill of rights   and its only housing which is contained in the national objectives of the constitution  which law experts  believe could have been done deliberate so that  the state cannot  be held  liable  if it fails to provide such.