Zimbabwe is collapsing, life is unbearable says Komichi
Seasoned politician Morgen Komichi says the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing and regressing to the 2007 and 2008 situation where life became unbearable for the citizens.
According to Senator Komichi, even though the country has educated ministers, some of whom have links internationally, nothing is changing.
He said Zimbabwe is in a serious war that requires everyone’s attention.
Below is the full text of what Senator Komichi said during the Senator during debate on the measures to resuscitate the economy.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you so much, Hon. President. Let me also take this opportunity to thank Hon. Alice Dube for raising such a vital motion.
I am equally concerned just like all other speakers that have spoken before me and I totally agree with them that the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing. Life is unbearable in Zimbabwe at the moment. Our currency is losing value like a falling airplane, nose-diving into an ocean and it appears as if there is no solution in the very near future. It reminds us of what we went through in 2007 and 2008 when Zimbabwean people were earning more than three million dollars on their payslips. We are actually going towards that situation once more.
I agree that the Government is trying its best and I agree that Zimbabwe has got one of the best ministers in terms of education, experience, and international links (Hon. Mthuli) but things are not getting any better. Being a country that has gone through very difficult economic challenges before, we should at least by this time, have a way to resolve our issues, but still, nothing is coming forthwith.
Three years ago, we sat in this Parliament over a budget that was $5.4 billion. The following year we then passed a budget of $64 billion and this previous year we went through a budget that was almost $1 trillion. The rate at which our budget is going up has no relationship to economic growth and development. This only signifies that we are in a conflictual state. We are in a war that is not physical as such, but there is a serious conflict taking place in Zimbabwe, a conflict that requires our attention as Zimbabweans.
If you look at the exchange rate at the moment, it is now increasing on a daily basis. Yesterday it was at 1: 400, today it is at 1:420 at the black market which is the real money that affects the ordinary person. The $155 which is manned by the RBZ does not help us, we do not benefit out of that. Only businesspeople could at least claim some benefit but us, as ordinary Zimbabwean people do not benefit from the $155 Zimbabwean dollars to United States dollar bank exchange rate. The one that affects us on a daily basis, that affects the cost of living, that prices our goods on a daily basis is the $450 that is currently running on the black market.
At the moment, you cannot buy bread, you cannot buy fuel to put in your car. It is very difficult to get cooking oil at the moment, it is very expensive. To make things worse, the salaries that we all earn here, what the civil servants earn here, and any other person it is rated according to the $450 exchange rate. If you quote the salaries that we are getting today, it is around $30 000. The majority of our people in Zimbabwe are getting $30 000 and $30 000 vis-a-vis the $450 rate; is nothing.
The cost of goods in the shops, bread is almost $400, cooking oil almost $1800 and the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) has gone very high. At the moment, the PDL is around $75 000 to $90 000. How many people in Zimbabwe are earning $90 000? School fees have gone up. The schools that were charging $3000 the last term are now charging $10 000. Schools that were charging $6 000 last year are now charging $90 000 today. Boarding schools are now completely out of range but we know most of our children do go to boarding schools.
These are the basic requirements of any human being and this is the responsibility of the Government to make sure that people live comfortably, but the economic challenge or crisis in Zimbabwe at the moment is sliding out of control. The Government has lost control over the economy of this country because the Government cannot take the pace or set the agenda. The agenda is being set by external people, external forces, the people in the street, the people in the diaspora, and people that are in other countries that I will mention in the future. They decide on our fate and this is quite terrible.
It is true I was just reading an article today that the country is about to face serious instability. The country is about to face uprisings, and demonstrations because of hunger. The moment the people of any country suffer, they tend to go into the street. I read somewhere in an article last week when the Malawian people were actually marching on the street to go and present a petition somewhere at a Government office. Why is that happening? You can see; the question is, what is the problem? The problem is not all that we are talking about from my point of view. The problem is us as Zimbabweans and as Africans.
I bleed when I look at the geographical economic strength of the world. Africa is the richest continent on earth but we are the poorest. Zimbabwe is one of the richest countries in the world but today we are crying about our economy and our currency, our Reserve Bank, and we are fighting amongst ourselves. We are pointing fingers at each other, the question is why? Why is it that Africa is what it is today?
The challenge is that Africans have failed to be innovative. Africans have gone to school; it has professors and doctors, only to parrot the education that they have gone to school to get. No African has been revolutionary in its approach to the system of governance. There is a man whom we will celebrate after some years, the late R. G. Mugabe. He was determined to take the bull by its horns and waged a revolution on our land.
We are the only country that has repossessed its own land in Africa and the world over. That was revolutionary, whatever happened is something else but on the issue of land, we own our land. We are rich in that aspect and we hope other African countries can also do the same.
My plea to Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa is to lead a new revolution of setting up an African Government system that is different from what we are having. My argument is we are failing to run our economies because we are using a borrowed governance system.
Today we are in this Parliament using whose system? Next year we are going to elections, using whose system? Do we know it? Africa needs to develop a governance system that has an African culture, African identity, and African history. At the moment, we are not using that.
The Western governance system makes us like schoolchildren. There are people outside this continent who will say you have gone to elections in 2023, have you passed; you are marked and given marks. I know the marks that we will get next year, it will be three out of ten – failed.
Why is it that their economies are surviving using the same governance system? It is because the governance system they are using is cultured according to their Western world; they know it because they developed it on their own. For instance, the Eastern world as well, they have their own governance system which they developed and they understand; look at their economies, they are developing. Zimbabweans or Africans are using a borrowed governance system yet we are failing.
Elections alone are not a solution, it actually divide our system Honourable President, the moment we
go for elections, a certain Western power would take one side and the other Eastern power will take another side and a friction is created in Africa or in Zimbabwe. Throughout the next coming five years, people are not going to develop their economy but they will be fighting over power agenda. Should we always fight for power or be on each other’s neck at the expense of the people’s lives? We cannot do that. We have to think outside the box, be innovative, revolutionary and introduce a new system for African governance so that no one will mark you like a school kid and no one will follow you to say you failed there. We must manage ourselves as Africans.
The moment we develop our own system that is not going to be marked by the East or Western world, we will be able to focus on post-election agenda and it must be an economic agenda, not a perpetual fight for power.
I want to call upon Zimbabweans to consider a simple solution, which is to dialogue among themselves. Let us call for an all-stakeholders’ conference and invite every key person in the country, invite the ruling party, ZANU PF, all opposition political parties, church leaders, traditional leaders, business leaders and labour unions.
Let us prescribe a new system of governance, which should not be related to the West or East but related to the African culture and the system of governance that has got a Zimbabwean identity, culture and history of living together and co-existing. Let us go to elections and elect a President, after that the President must invite the competitors who would have reached a threshold and form a Government of national unity. If we do that, the West will not be able to grab and abuse you and the East will not be able to do that too.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, I hear you Hon. Sen. Komichi, but there is a requirement for you to stick to the motion which we are debating. There is now a tendency for speakers to broaden it and turn it into politics. I think Hon. Sen. Dube’s motion was very clear.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President. I had actually reached a point where I was proffering a solution. What I thought the solution is, is what I am talking about now. Hon. President, I strongly believe that Zimbabweans must unite.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I agree with you.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: If we unite, all these things will not be there. If we unite and agree on the way forward as Zimbabweans, we will be able to deal with all issues that are affecting us. One of the issues that is affecting our economy at the moment, which has put the economy to nose-dive into this motion is the sanctions. Sanctions need to be dealt with and they cannot be dealt with by one person. We have tried that and it has not worked.
Through national dialogue, the people will be able to put that item of sanctions as an agenda and agree on the way forward. People will be able to go and reach out to countries that have imposed sanctions on us and ask them to remove them collectively. One person cannot achieve that, we have tried that. The solution I am prescribing here is that we should be able to use, it is a very plausible solution. We must unite in every political party that we have. There must be unity in the ruling party and in the opposition parties so that we put together our heads and resolve this matter. The issue of corruption, I agree with you but it is the result of economic decay. At the moment, everyone is so poor and everyone is so corrupt. It is like asking a fish that is in a dam not to drink water. It will have to drink water because it is there, so corruption levels are so high because everyone is corrupt.
There are very few people in Zimbabwe now who are not corrupt. Corruption is as a result of an economic decay, and corruption is as a result of the sanctions that have been imposed on us. It is very difficult to deal with corruption because the person that you send to go and arrest will also be corrupted. So, we need a holistic solution, and holistic approach to this, and it needs brave men and brave women to take up the revolution to make sure that we introduce a new African governance system, a Zimbabwean African governance system. I plead with the country President to take that bull by the horns and push forward, and call all of us to agree on the way forward to save our own country. I thank you.