2014 Will BeTougher Than 2013:Makoni

Harare, January 4, 2014 – Opposition leader Simba Makoni has scoffed at claims by Patrick Chinamasa, the new Finance minister, that his spending plan ushers in the birth of a new economy, and the death of the old economy.

The Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) leader said for the largest majority of Zimbabweans, life will remain as difficult in 2014, as it was in 2013; if not worse.

A former Finance minister in President Robert Mugabe’s government, Makoni said in spite of all the rhetoric about the $4,1 billion 2014 national budget being “policy driven”, there were “no rational, viable, coherent policies that can guide citizens, especially players in the economy, to plan for the future with clarity and confidence.”

Chinamasa announced that informal traders, small scale miners and small scale farmers will be the anchor of the new economy.

“This new economy is characterised by market stalls in every open space in the urban areas, and small, crammed and darkly lit shops; selling vegetables, trinkets, used clothes and other wares,” Makoni said in a New Year message taking a dig at the December 19 delayed budget.

“The country is one big supermarket for products from other countries.

“Power and water supplies are worse than they were twelve months ago.

“Two national referral hospitals were reported to have run for weeks without piped water. In the last quarter of 2013, headlines screamed warnings of typhoid and other disease outbreaks; signalling further collapse of health and sanitation services.”

Makoni, former executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), said corruption remains endemic in all spheres of life.

“We hear loud declarations of `zero tolerance’ of it, by the highest public officer, and a coterie of others in high offices,” Makoni said.

“In spite of threats of tough action against its perpetrators, nothing is being done to demonstrate the zero tolerance.

“On the contrary, everything that’s done shows maximum tolerance, if not active encouragement, of corruption.”

Severe food shortages continue in almost all parts of the country, he said.

“Whilst acknowledging the food crisis, and making statements that `no Zimbabwean will die of hunger’, the government has yet to unveil concrete plans to save lives,” Makkoni said.

“Worse still, there are no plans to revive agricultural production, from the current season, into the future.”

He said the industrial sector continued to bleed, with a growing number of companies ceasing operations.

“As with agriculture, there are no plans to arrest the haemorrhage, let alone restore growth,” he said.

Job losses in the formal sectors of the economy continue unabated. Makoni said even though they claim a “resounding victory”, Zanu PF and its government were completely at a loss over how to take the people of Zimbabwe out of poverty, fear and insecurity.

“Into 2014, we shall continue our efforts to work with those in government, and others in politics, business, the professions and civil society; to find ways to alleviate the many hardships confronting the people every day,” Makoni said.

“In this regard, we commend and thank players in civil society, and the international community, for their sterling efforts to stem the humanitarian crises caused by food shortages, HIV/Aids and other diseases, domestic and gender-based violence, crime and corruption, and state ineptitude and heartlessness.”

He said he would strive to invigorate Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) into the “a party of choice” in order to “generate hope among the people, that they can create a better future for themselves.

We remain convinced that our vision, values and principles form a solid foundation for the economic, social, cultural and moral recovery of our nation, and future progress for all our people,” he said.

“We are committed to creating a grand coalition of like-minded citizens, to lead our country out of crisis.”

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