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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Zimbabwean electorate wants new government
to create jobs and ease cash crisis

By Tichaona Chifamba HARARE (Xinhua) -- Provision of jobs remains one of the most critical areas Zimbabweans want addressed after the July 30 elections, with ordinary people also demanding that cash should be readily available at the banks.

Just like in 2013 when they expressed hope that the new government would address economic challenges, provide jobs and spur development, they say the economy remains depressed and needs to be revitalized.

For David Rangwani, who sells mobile phone recharge cards at the intersection of two busy roads in the central business district, the situation that prevailed prior to the 2013 elections still persists.

Rangwani told Xinhua on Monday that he is disappointed by the performance of the current government in creating jobs and providing social services.

“Nothing changed for the better over the last five years,” he said. “The only change was the removal of former President Robert Mugabe from office last November, his replacement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and reduction of police roadblocks.”

“On a scale of zero to 10, I give the government two points up to the time Mugabe left office. Most of the promises the party made, and all our expectations, were not fulfilled,” he said.

As one of its major promises during the 2013 election campaign, the ruling Zanu-PF party had promised to create 2.2 million jobs.

However, not many jobs were created after the elections. On the contrary, thousands lost theirs as companies took advantage of a court ruling allowing them to terminate employment contracts on three months’ notice.

Zanu-PF also pledged a 9 percent GDP growth by 2018, from 4.4 percent then, but the current forecast puts the growth rate at 4.5 percent for the year.

For this year’s elections, with Mnangagwa as its presidential candidate, the ruling party’s central theme is “unite, fight corruption, develop, re-engage, create jobs.”

The party promises to focus on peace and security, freedom and democracy, economic and public sector reforms, domestic and foreign direct investment, job creation, consolidating land ownership and security, beneficiation of raw materials, infrastructure development and industrialization, among others.

Chrispen Marembo, an unemployed youth from Mbare, agreed with Rangwani, saying nothing much had changed since the last elections.

“The only major change is that for once Robert Mugabe is not a presidential candidate in the coming elections.

“Everything else remains the same. There are no jobs, and cash shortages continue to affect a lot of people who are not banked. Many people cannot even pay us for menial jobs such as helping them carry their goods after buying them from the market,” he said.

University graduate Keith Nyamasvisva, 30, who runs a corner store selling electronic gadgets, said he hopes more investors would come into the country after the forthcoming elections.

“We hope after the election there is going to be an overflow of investors from all over the globe. We also hope that there will be an end to the cash crisis and also an end to the informal market,” he said.

Nyamasvisva, who failed to get a job after graduating, also complained at the high rate of unemployment, which has resulted in many people turning to vending.

He added that local authorities should also improve service delivery and rehabilitate the roads that are now riddled with potholes.

Florist Itai Muzunza also spoke on the economy. He said the new government should work hard to end the cash crisis and reopen industries.

“If companies are revived it means jobs will be created. If you look around... you will see that the roads are full of people who are literally doing nothing,” he said. “It is difficult to move around because vendors have clogged the roads and pavements.”

Musician Obert Madziva said the coming-in of a new political order following Mugabe’s ouster had brought hope for a better future among Zimbabweans.

“Mnangagwa has done well in terms of fighting corruption and minimizing police roadblocks. He has also given more freedom to opposition parties which are campaigning freely in once no-go areas,” Madziva said. “Let us hope that the promises he is making now will come to fruition if he wins the elections.”

Zanu-PF faces the challenge of the MDC Alliance, which is fronted by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa and pledges to “make Zimbabwe an inclusive, socially just, prosperous, tolerant, transformative, modern, advanced, efficient and democratic developmental state in which people have equal opportunities to pursue happiness by 2023 -- making Zimbabwe a jewel of Africa.”

Chamisa has also promised employment creation and upgrading of infrastructure if he is elected into office.

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