The US Embassy, the MDC Alliance and other detractors were left with egg on the face when their narrative that Zimbabwe’s economic challenges are caused by corruption and not sanctions were proved wrong recently.
This development came to the fore when Ghana-based research organisation, Afrobarometer released a report of a survey it conducted in Zimbabwe on the reasons for the socio-economic challenges that the country is facing. The survey, which was conducted in conjunction with the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), was released on 29 October 2021.
The US embassy and the opposition were stunned by the respondents’ views on various issues bedevilling the country.
While the sponsors of the survey sought to exonerate sanctions by sacrificing Government’s management of the economy, the respondents viewed the latter as a fourth priority out of 10. This demonstrated that the embassy and the opposition do not have an appreciation of ordinary people’s anxieties and concerns, seriously jeopardising their regime change agenda, which has dismally failed since year 2000.
“Among the many problems that have plagued Zimbabwe, management of the economy ranks fourth among citizens’ priorities for Government action. In addition, the economic issue of unemployment tops the list...and the cash crisis ranks at No. 9,” read part of the report.
Corruption, which the detractors have been touting as the main cause of the country’s challenges since 2019, was ranked a distant seven out of 10 on the respondents’ priorities for Government to work on. This proved that the US and its local partners’ claim that corruption is the main reason for the country’s challenges is woefully out of sync with the views of Zimbabweans on the ground.
The survey proved that Government’s ongoing infrastructural development projects, which include dams, roads and power stations, are in line with the people’s needs and priorities. The respondents to the survey placed infrastructural development at second priority after unemployment. The priorities in order of importance were unemployment, infrastructural development, education, management of the economy, water supply, health, corruption, food shortages, cash crisis and rates and taxes.
The survey was carried out in April this year, but the report was withheld until the end of October. A source within opposition circles, who opted for anonymity for fear of reprisals, told this publication that the report was set to be released on 24 October as part of the US Embassy’s initiatives against the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day. This decision was, however, rescinded after realising that the survey had failed to give prominence to the corruption narrative as intended.