Bureaucracy is Killing Zimbabwe

Bureaucracy is Killing Zimbabwe
Published: 20 January 2012 (2587 Views)
Bualwayo: In May 2011, Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance came to Bulawayo amid prom and splash and launched the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF). The $40 Million was supposed to be injected into Bulawayo's disappearing industry to reverse the de-industrialisation that has seen 20,000 or so lose their jobs in recent times.

ZUPA was especially excited given that our mandate is to ensure that millions of Zimbabweans get jobs. The ZUPA leadership in Bulawayo joined the Bulawayo businesses in looking north, hoping that this time since independence delivery may come via Harare Road.

We are however increasingly concerned that it is now 2012 and counting but the promised $40 Million DiMAF is still but just a promise. In the meantime, more people in Bulawayo have lost their jobs, more companies have closed shop and more people have plunged into poverty due to the delay in delivering what is already there.

The delay in delivery is symptomatic of the story of Zimbabwe. Just to get anything done from getting a death or birth certificate in Zimbabwe takes for ever and requires a visit to many different offices, usually to see mwana waningi who will press the right buttons for an unofficial token.

Recently, the Bulawayo city council decided to clamp down on our members who in their view make a living by engaging in informal business "in the backyard." ZUPA would want to see more businesses open so that our members can gain employment but it takes months and costly registration with at least four departments for anyone to start a business in Zimbabwe. Then there are all sort of applications, newspaper advertisements and notices one has to do for the local government. For an ordinary citizen, this is too much. Bureaucracy is killing Zimbabwe.

Those with money and no patience will choose to go to those countries where corporation tax is low, property rights are guaranteed and registration is easy and straightforward. Foreign or domestic investment will not come and the economy will not grow in a way that creates jobs. Bureaucracy is killing Zimbabwe.

ZUPA is sad to note reports that families have had electricity disconnected from their homes; new mothers are said to have been detained in hospital for failure to pay maternity fees and families including children and vulnerable elderly have been evicted from their homes by the council.

What is painful is the knowledge that for new mothers, there are reports that there is $100 million facility they could access, the poor council tenants could be eligible for funding through the Ministry of Labour and Social Services but bureaucracy is standing in the way. Bureau is killing our great country.

The Government of Zimbabwe runs with more ministries than the nation in economic problems requires. The result is that there is far too much overlap and confusion creating bottlenecks and bureaucracy. An issue has to be referred to a number of ministries rather than one that has to deal with it. In most cases, members of ZUPA, the unemployed citizens of Zimbabwe find themselves either being victims due to lack of delivery or delay in delivery. The very nature of bureaucracy triggers desperate measures in people waiting for delivery. Desperation results in backdoor deals and promotes corruption at all sort of levels.

We have seen this as ZUPA during our current campaign to ensure that all children of unemployed Zimbabweans have access to the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). Thousands of parents in rural areas and even urban areas have found themselves closed out by "local leadership, and headmasters who tell them about closed doors and that the rules are made "at the head offices."

Our interaction with the responsible ministries directly has proved most of the "rules" and myths to be untrue and unnecessary bottlenecks. Children who should otherwise be in school and have their school fees paid for through BEAM are therefore denied access through bureaucracy and corruption.

Every time there is a report about corruption or crime or backdoor deal, the people that suffer the most are ZUPA members, the unemployed and poor. Even the “new” ministers run ministries and councils are not spared in this.

Just this week, the Bulawayo City Council has been reported to have locked out families out of Jabulani flats for non-payment of rent while ZESA staff has had the heart of a lion in disconnecting electricity from most of Mabutweni.

In a week when the GNU has forced the nation to be "in this together" with them due to the nation not having enough money to create jobs, support industry or pay striking civil servants a decent living wage, it is impossible to understand why ZESA, schools and the councils cannot feel for the poor members of ZUPA. The other question is why the members of Parliament and Councillors are not at the scene to advocate and find solutions for their constituents. After all, MPs have demonstrated efficacy by securing their $15,000 allowances in addition to their monthly pay.

We call upon the elected representatives of the various constituencies to join hands with ZUPA and unlock the assistance that is available for the people.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Services has been allocated money that must be given to the poor and vulnerable. $85 Million was pledged by donor nations on the 27th September 2011. The bureaucratic walls that block access to this funding must be broken down and fast.

This week, Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo was reported to be detaining some new mothers against their will until they "paid" maternity fees. If this is true, then one wonders why the promised $100 Million raised by Deputy Prime Minister's office for that very purpose is not unlocked to assist these unemployed mothers. If the money is there, in some account somewhere, a delay in transparent utilisation may invoke access through the underground.

In most of the rural areas, drought is looming leaving many needing some handouts. Our members need these urgently. We call upon the Government department in charge of distribution to work with us to ensure speedy and inclusive non-partisan distribution.

In Harare, our members have seen the cost of living escalate with landlords increasing rent many fold. Any effort to engage in informal flea market has been crushed by the police and the city fathers not allocating enough vending licenses and stalls.

Our members need houses and will do anything to get decent accommodation. It would be unfortunate if the allegation that the Ministry of Housing has allocated houses corruptly to even children. This would, in our eyes be a result of a system that needs accountability yesterday.

So we invite the Government and members of Parliament to join our campaign to cut red tap and allow ordinary citizens to have access to those that make decisions on their lives. We hope one day, Zimbabwe would have a system where ordinary citizens can have access to information that would allow them to make decisions and access help without needing to pay a bribe.

ZUPA Mpilo mothers may have had their maternity fees paid for through the mercy of the fund set up for that purpose by the Deputy Prime Minister's office.

Every parent throughout the country who cannot afford school fees may have had access to BEAM for their child without being blocked by schools.

Jabulani and Willovale II residents may have had time to make the right decision and get help without falling victims of rules and the law.

The striking civil servants may at last meet someone with real power who can solve their problems once and for all.

Thousands could have had their jobs saved if the $40 Million DiMAF for Bulawayo had been released early.

It is the duty of the Prime Minister's office to ensure that Government functions efficiently and effectively. We hope the office will consider the mattering views of the majority.


- ZUPA

Tags: Bureaucracy,
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