Zapu slams ‘clueless’ govt over punitive taxes, economic decay

Opposition demands back farms seized by state during Gukurahundi conflict

By Tapiwa Svondo

The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) has voiced its concerns over the current state of the country’s economy and further urged a reversal to what the opposition party perceives as burdensome taxes foisted on the poor majority by the Zanu PF-led government.

Addressing a media conference called by the party in Harare Friday, Zapu president Michael Sibangilizwe Nkomo accused government of neglecting citizens.

He likened the current administration’s tough policies to those imposed by the predecessor Rhodesian regime.

“Fellow citizens, our economy has been run down by the clueless Zanu PF-led government.

“Apart from molesting our democracy and trampling on our rights, they have gone a step further to tax us dry in order to fund their lavish lifestyles.

“While our children have become economic refugees across the world, those of us who are still at home are now being taxed for our shelter.

“They have essentially reincarnated the Rhodesian regime. Incredibly, they are taxing the vulnerable and the disabled,” Nkomo said.

The opposition leader called on government to reverse the taxes and adopt sound economic policies that prioritise the welfare of the majority.

“We call upon the government to reverse these intolerable taxes and stick to sound economic policies,” he said.

“As Zapu, we believe that our economic decay took a turn for the worse when the ruling party embarked on a chaotic and largely violent agrarian reform programme in the year 2000.”

Nkomo, son to late former Vice President and liberation icon Joshua Nkomo, also voiced his concerns over the seizure of party properties by government during the Gukurahundi conflict early years of the country’s independence.

“Our alternative approach to the land question, had we been the government of the day, would have been a scientific and reconciliatory land reform programme,” he said.

“Zapu would not have chased away white commercial farmers but would have fostered an integration system of adding black farmers along the agricultural value chain.

“The question of loss of life and property for commercial farmers which led to Zimbabwe’s current pariah status would not have happened.

“In fact, Zapu and Zpra bought many farms and were already producing when Gukurahundi started.

“Just like the white farmers, Zapu lost its farms and still needs them back,” he said.

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