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CSOs Raise Their Voices In Fighting Inequality In Zimbabwe

By Shingirai Vambe

With poverty levels rising to unprecedented level in Zimbabwe, a total of 7.9 million Zimbabweans are now living in extreme poverty, under the food poverty line of US $29.80 for each person a month, Fight Inequality Alliance-Zimbabwe (FIA) reveals.

FIA spokesperson, Janet Zhou said the reason they are fighting inequality by addressing deep-rooted tax induced inequality is central to securing the constitutional promise of a dignified, just and peaceful life for all Zimbabweans as enshrined in section 3 of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

FIA Zim spokesperson, Janet Zhou

After many years Zimbabwe recorded a shocking figure of more than 10 billion of foreign currency deposits, when the country is struggling with wages of both the public and private sector employees failing to fend for their families due to low salaries and high taxation.

Zhou said the rich and political elites and wealth corporations registered an incredible rise in wealth and assets. Most of this wealth and assets is part of the massive transfer of wealth from the public sphere in to the private hands through primitive means of accumulation including unjust policies and corruption that enable corporates, the rich and political elites to hide their wealth and avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda Moyo earlier told delegates in Victoria Falls that it was going down to the private sector, as more corrupt activities are found being done in the private sector.

ZACC reports, it used almost $33 million last year in fight corruption but no tangible results have been seen to account for the losses and help in developing the life of people in Zimbabwe and the intensive lifestyle audit that the commission had promised in 2020 has not materialist yet due to the insulation of tax injustice by few oligarch and kleptocrats.

In a statement read by Zhou, FIA said the ill-gotten wealth of individuals intersects with efforts to dismantle legal and democratic safeguards resulting in an elite class immune from prosecution and arrests.

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) said in as much as they appreciate efforts by government to come up with policies and strategies in addressing inequalities, we continue to call for full implementation of equality strategies so that the remain up to date in addressing the inequality challenges that 7.9 million people of Zimbabwe are facing.

However the call has shown high discrepancy levels in the lives of many with informal traders also regarded as the private sector, together with vendors not equally accessing same opportunities to wealth.

Samuel Wadzai, Executive Director, Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation said this is a collective voice following an engagement with communities from the lowest levels.

“We see the barbaric nature of local authorizes the way that they treat informal traders, the demolition that we continue to see is a clear manifestations of the unwillingness of the authorities to correct all the ills that we see in the informal economy. This is a deliberate way to create avenues for corruption and further enriching the already rich people,” Wadzai said.

He added that for the past five years people want an inclusive manner to deal with challenges the informal economy has faced. These demolitions are not people centered, no shades, no ablution facilities, but health hazards which pose a threat to an informal economy.

Since time immemorial Harare among many towns has destroyed vendors’ sheds, with the increasing number of formal traders the already available facilities no longer function as required.

The Parliamentary committee on gender and that of small to medium enterprises moved around the country and submission where that, informal trader are always up in arms with their respective local authorities, in provision of proper shelter, ablution facilities and water.

Gutu Legislator, Pupurai Togarepi earlier told parliament and the minister of finance that vendors and informal trader’s lives were at risk of harsh weather condition throughout the year, and proposed that the minister gets enough funding for the provision of proper shelter.

The inequality gap has not spared people with disabilities as they also feel segregated and left behind many other developmental programs including allocation of residential stands, funds and other amenities. Henry Kane of this Ability Hub Zimbabwe told Post On Sunday that their ministry has neglected them.

“There is need to tax the rich and assist a rural person in Chipinge or any rural set up to remove this myth that poverty and disability are twins. The social welfare is catering for the old, the disabled, vulnerable, and are the allocated funds enough for everyone.

He added, everyone including those who got lines from the social welfare is being taxed, it is funny that even government tax its own ministers, unfortunately, there isn’t tax literacy in Zimbabwe and the only tax they know and feel is the 2%,” he said.

Zhou said the inequality is a virus that has certainly killed more Zimbabweans than the Covid -19, some died because they could not get essential medical care in public hospital when they needed it while the elites seek quality health abroad