'Zanu PF Infighting Derailing SDGs Implementation'

By Sij Ncube

Harare, November 15, 2016 – ZANU PF’S seemingly endless internal wars are affecting the successful attainment of most Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, a civic leader has said.

Top among the goals are aimed towards poverty alleviation, hunger and food security.

There are 17 goals intended to transform the world in next 15 years which Zimbabwe subscribed to in September 2015.

These include lifting standards in health, education, gender equality and women empowerment, water and sanitation.

The second lot of the goals are Energy, Economic Growth, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Inequalities, Cities and Sustainable Consumption and Production while the last lot includes Climate Change, Ocean, Biodiversity, Forestry and desertification, Peace, Justice and Strong institutions, and Partnerships.

According to the United Nations, for the goals to be achieved, stakeholders such as government, the private sector, civil society organisations and the media need to be fully involved.

But delegates to a media workshop organised by a local civil society organisation SightSavers on SDGs and Inclusive Development: Strengthening Media Community in Zimbabwe, heard how the envisaged were under serious threat due to bickering and factional fights in Zanu PF.

It is alleged ministers and other senior bureaucrats in government were frustrating efforts by Civil Society Organisations in dealing with the issue of SDGs at grassroots levels largely due to the factional fights as they feared being linked to factions in the party.

Exacerbating the infighting has been the issue of SGGs financing as the government is technically broke.

“There are suspicions in government as a result of the Zanu PF succession war. The SDGs have been politicised to the extent that no one in government is clear what is going on,” said a representative of CSOs, asking not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

“It is not clear which ministry is running the show. The SGDs issue is supposed to be placed under the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning but part of it is located under the ministry of Finance. So there is a bit of confusion,” he said.

A director in the Ministry of Macro Planning and Investment Promotion, Graciano Nyaguse, who had been scheduled to deliver a paper on the current status of SDGs in Zimbabwe, the financing of SDGs as well as how the media could help complement government efforts in achieving set specific goals failed to turn-up, giving credence to delegatesassertions the government is not serious about sustainable and inclusive development.

Tsitsi Chataika, who teaches development at the University of Zimbabwe and facilitated at the meeting, concurred the current status of SDGs implementation in the country appeared in disarray.

“There is bit of confusion on a number of issues particularly the location of the SDGs in government but at the end of the day it has to be understood that everyone, government, business and civil society need to be involved. SDGs affect everyone,” said Chataika.

The Zimbabwe National Editors Forum bemoaned the lack of collaboration between government, CSOs and the media in articulating the issue of SDGs, urging them to find common understanding.

Delegates identified several factors affecting media and civil society organisations collaboration in the implementation of SDGs, including failure to simplify the goals to the ordinary man.

The tendency by most media houses to concentrate on politics instead of development journalism yet the SDGs cover social, economic and environmental realms also came under discussion. Poverty, corruption, war and conflicts in Zanu PF affected the media and civil society in implementation of SDGs, delegates argued.

The media was urged to publish the activities of CSOs such as awareness raising, education, among other activities as the media, rightly or wrongly, is regarded as a watchdog.

Delegates were unanimous the media should continue regulating the excesses of business, politicians and policymakers towards the realisation of SDGs through exposing corruption for example.