By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, December 07, 2016 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Tuesday delivered his state of nation address but was criticised by many for failure to touch on some of the most critical issues currently affecting the nation.
Zimbabwe faces a cash crisis that has seen locals spend long hours in bank queues quite often to withdraw amounts as little as $50 per day.
Salary payments for government’s workforce remain erratic and up to this period of the year civil servants have been left guessing as to when they can receive their 2016 bonuses.
Many also expected their leader to give a more comprehensive account of the country’s economic situation and how the Zanu PF led administration was going to tackle the challenges.
But President Mugabe came in the line of fire from opponents and ordinary Zimbabweans for skirting around the issues in a 28 minute speech.
“Mugabe did one thing NOTHING,” said political analyst and Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya in a Facebook post.
“Mugabe said nothing about the state of the economy ie bond notes, struggling masses, civil servants salaries etc. It was just a public appearance!”
Harare journalist, Andrew Kunambura was more scathing.
“I now understand why there was no anticipation at all towards the so-called State of the nation address by Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe today (Tuesday). It was the emptiest and most aimless speech I ever heard in my thirty plus years of life.
“Even the popular villager Chidembo in my rural place who is famous for entertaining grave diggers at village funerals with his vain jokes fares much better than this charade,” he said.
Economist and politician Vince Musewe said Mugabe’s speech showed his government was no longer able to achieve its goals.
“Zimbabwe economy has collapsed and cash shortages are a clear indication that we are no longer able to generate the resources we need to function normally,” he said.
“When a whole President ignores this it points to two things. It’s either he is ignorant of realities on the ground or has ceased to care. I suspect it’s both.
“This means that our country no longer has President and that we must cease to expect any meaningful solutions to our problems coming from there.”
Mugabe, in his address, said his government has done a lot of improvement in the health sector despite the hospitals in the country failing to offer basic services to patients.
The Zimbabwean leader also noted that the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which put tight controls on the importation of certain products, was already yielding results.
He also touched on government’s Command Agriculture scheme which has seen government sponsor a number of local farmers to produce given quantities of the staple maize in efforts to avert a recurrence of massive hunger experienced in 2016.
Mugabe also praised Zimbabweans for remaining peaceful in the face of continued suffering and, equally mentioning the country’s security forces for maintaining security in a country where citizens blame their government for their dire economic state.