SONA: Will it be the usual rhetoric?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will most likely have a hard time tomorrow as he presents probably a not so good State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Parliament building.

 SONA coincides with the official opening of the second session of the ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

The special address enables the head of state to give a reflection to citizens on the challenges and achievements that have been registered during the year.

President Mnangagwa’s address comes at a time when Zimbabwe has just witnessed astronomical hikes in prices of basic commodities, making life unbearable for many unemployed citizens who are living from hand to mouth.

The month of September appears to not have been a good one for Mnangagwa’s administration, which lost the battle of having former president Robert Mugabe buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Not only did Mnangagwa lose that battle, but he and his top cronies were also not invited to the burial of Mugabe at his rural Zvimba home after the family made a u-turn on the former president being buried at a mausoleum, which had been under construction at the shrine.

In the same month, Zimbabwe attracted widespread international condemnation following the disappearance of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Peter Magombeyi.

Magombeyi, who has since been found, was believed to have been abducted by the state security agents after calling for the ongoing crippling nationwide doctors industrial action.

To add salt to an injury, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, who was in the country last week to assess the human rights situation, gave a damning report.

Now that the background and the context in which the President will present SONA is a difficult one, it remains to be seen, what is going to come out of his address tomorrow.

Ideally, SONAs focus on political, economic and social issues and what the government is doing to address challenges.

“There is nothing to expect from him (President Mnangagwa) and his team,” said Mehluli Majoni, a Bulawayo resident.

“They (ZANU-PF government) have failed to deliver their initial promises. This SONA is a routine government programme which will bring nothing or any change to the suffering Zimbabweans,” he added.

Jacob Mafume, a Harare councillor, said nothing much should be expected from the President tomorrow.

“The President has made many speeches since he grabbed power and none of his statements have been accurate,” he told CITE.

Political analyst, Michael Mdladla Ndiweni he did not expect a departure from the common rhetoric that has characterised previous SONAs.

“It will be the usual rhetoric in reviving the economy and more promises with little action,” said Ndiweni.

“I doubt there will be any surprises; I pray it’s not the routine SONAs. I doubt if there will any admission that wheels are off.”

He added it was high time the powers-that-be took drastic and decisive measures on arresting a plethora of problems bedeviling the country that include corruption, dealing with the health and energy crisis, among other pressing matters.

Another political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, said with the government has become secretive on what is happening in the country, there was no way President Mnangagwa could give an accurate SONA.

“First of all, President Mnangagwa has concealed all the critical information; we don’t know the inflation figures,” said Ngwenya.

“We don’t know how much forex the country holds. We don’t know how much in bond notes is in circulation. We don’t know how many civil servants are employed. So what state of nation can he tell us?”

Ngwenya further queried: “What happened to the Command Agriculture money? How much diamond money was stolen? How many citizens are food-insecure? What is the rate of unemployment?”

He said as long as many questions remained unanswered, there was no way Zimbabweans could have faith in Mnangagwa’s impending address.

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