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.