Rights commission blasts govt officials on policy inconsistencies

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has raised concern on the policy inconsistencies from government officials on the ongoing economic crisis.

In a hard hitting statement, ZHRC said it was disturbing to note the discord and contradictions made by those in positions of authority over the economic situation that has had ripple effects on the pricing structure of basic commodities and services.

“One government official states that the bond notes and the United States dollar are at par in terms of value while another official disputes this position thereby sending conflicting signals in the market,” said the commission.

“Similarly, one communication says bond notes will be phased out soon and another says bond notes are here to stay. Policy inconsistencies have therefore led to uncertainties and the consequent speculative behaviour”.

ZHRC said it was baffling how government had encouraged people to embrace electronic payment platforms due to the cash crisis but went on to levy a two percent tax on the same transactions.

“It is disturbing to note the erosion of hard earned incomes, savings and pensions due to currency distortions and general uncertainties within the money market. This has caused untold suffering to fixed income earners like workers and pensioners,” noted the commission.

The human rights body said such skewed priorities were to blame for the scarce national resources.

“For example, basic essentials like health supplies are underfunded while government uses foreign currency to fund some privileged few who learn at foreign universities pursuing degree programmes offered at local universities. Token and selective prosecution of perpetrators of economic crimes and corruption that are bleeding the economy and leading to untold suffering among ordinary citizens,” ZHRC listed.

The above issues, ZHRC said have led to violation of several rights manifesting through:

“Rising inflation that has negatively affected productivity and eroded real incomes, shortage or most goods and services in the country, in particular the shortages of essential medicines which has a direct impact on the right to life, emergence of the ‘black market’ selling products at extortionate prices, shutting down of some business leading to loss of employment outbreak of medieval diseases such as typhoid and cholera.”

ZHRC urged the country’s leadership to take urgent steps, to rescue the situation as well as protect the value of savings, incomes and pensions.

“Leaders must also be exemplary and reduce their on extravagance and not make the poor in society bear the bigger brunt and consequences of their policies and decisions,” said the commission.

“In particular it is important to develop pro-poor policies including the setting up effective social safety nets to make sure access to basic goods and services by all. Section 13 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe implores the state and all institutions of government to make sure equitable development. Further Section 13 (2) requires government to involve the people in the formulation and implementation of development plans and programmes that affect them.”

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