Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says Zimbabweans should not expect “anything meaningful” to come out of President Robert Mugabe’s state of the nation address (Sona) scheduled for Tuesday.
In a statement sent to News24, the MDC said Mugabe, 91, won’t proffer any sustainable solutions to the country’s economic and political crisis.
“It would be unwise for the poverty-stricken and politically downtrodden people of Zimbabwe to expect anything meaningful and workable to come out of Mugabe’s Sona,” the statement reads.
Tuesday’s Sona will be Mugabe’s first since 2007, when the Zimbabwe dollar crashed to record lows while inflation figures shot through the roof, according to News Day.
His address this week comes amid pressure for his government to halt the country’s economic crisis which continues to spiral out of control.
The veteran leader’s administration is expected to turn around the economy and stop the current job cuts, which have seen at least 20 000 workers losing their livelihoods in the past few weeks.
‘We are dealing with a tired and sickly old man’
The country’s latest wave of job losses came as a result of a Supreme Court ruling on July 17 that gave employers the leeway to terminate job contracts by giving employees just three months’ notice.
Mugabe’s government has, however, since started the process of rectifying the law, with a bill passed in parliament last week that made it harder for employers to fire workers. Mugabe was expected to sign the bill into law soon.
Many are expecting Mugabe’s address to focus on issues like the economy, labour issues and the political situation. The MDC, however, maintained the nation should not expect too much from his speech.
“We are dealing with a tired and sickly old man who has clearly seen better days in his political life. As such the nation should expect the same old, tired, and recycled story of [the] so called regime change agents working in cahoots with Western imperialists in order to force the collapse of the Zanu-PF government,” the statement said.
Liquidity problems and foreign investment
The MDC said since Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party won the country’s disputed elections in 2013, the country’s economic fortunes continue to deteriorate.
“Since [then] … no less than 150 000 workers have since lost their jobs as several companies and industries continue to close down, downsize or simply terminate employment contracts of thousands of desperate workers.”
Zimbabwean company closures have intensified over the past years owing to liquidity problems, and foreign investment has virtually dried up amid Mugabe’s controversial indigenisation programme.
The MDC claimed Mugabe’s government was “completely unable to lead Zimbabwe out of the prevailing economic decay and financial doldrums”.