By Harare Correspondent
Harare – Inconsistencies in Government policies have stifled economic growth of the country with constitution and framework documents used only when addressing the media to both amplify and suppress public outcries.
Evidenced recently from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s response, citizens are silently moving along with adjustments made by institutions falling under the Ministry and the Government has not been able to follow through on what it had passed as a Statutory Instrument. There is no implementation of policies as prescribed by both constitutional and legislative frameworks.
While Zimbabwe faces a number of challenges, citizens made a public outcry over the steep increase of school levies which was and is still beyond the reach of many, several press briefings and stakeholders’ meetings were held.
Professor Amon Murwira, Minister Kirsty Coventry, then acting Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, and Mrs Thabela, Permanent Secretary in that ministry, responded to the public outcry by urging parents and guardians to report schools which defied this particular government policy.
Schools have turned a deaf ear on the call while some are still adjusting and calling in Annual General Meetings to consult parents on the review of school fees.
Contacted for comment, one Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education official, Mr Patrick Zumbo, told Post on Sunday that the ministry’s position was very clear that all adjustments by school authorities are supposed to go through the Ministry and minutes of the meeting should accompany the fees application. He said the proposed figures should not go beyond 20%.
‘’We have had several engagements with all relevant stakeholders and the Government policy is unambiguous as it says there will be no increase of fees except for levies. Once school authorities have sat down with parents they have to submit their minutes to the ministry. Then, we approve or turn down the proposal,’’ Zumbo said.
His response came against the backdrop of a school in Makoni district which had reviewed its fees a fortnight ago by more than 100% and it had already asked for top up but the ministry did not do anything to such a school which showed callousness and disregard for laid down procedures.
Most sectors of the economy are collapsing and the remaining workers are given a pittance as remuneration. The education sector is not spared as well. One cannot afford to take one’s child to school or hospital while schools cannot run without adequate supplies and this imbalance has caused a lot of deaths and school drop outs.
Norton Member of Parliament Hon Themba Mliswa (Independent) said these statements are political grandstanding being made across all ministries and they destroy the future of the generations to come.
‘’I think government must be seen to be implementing its policies. They cannot stop the increase of fees when they talk about free education. Government should intervene in giving schools money to cover the gap because institutions are suffering; parents are equally suffering and government cannot pay teachers,’’ he said.
‘’In Norton, I know schools which have abnormal teacher –pupil ratio (1-60-70). How can a teacher cope under such circumstances? How do we expect them to produce good results? This is a result of policy inconsistencies,’’ Mliswa said.
He further highlighted the Ministry of Finance’s policies: ‘’no investor would want to come and invest where there is no policy consistency and that causes inflation which then drives Indians and Chinese not to deposit their monies in banks.’’
MDC Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Kucaca Phulu, said these policy inconsistencies may cause hardships to the general populace and lack of credibility to the governance of Zimbabwe.
Efforts to reach the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda to comment on this matter where fruitless, he was to comment on the impact and perception the nation has on government policies.