By Zimbabwe Voice Reporter
THE opposition Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) has urged Government to prioritize allocation of resources to the provision of quality and affordable healthcare as well as basic education.
In a wide-ranging statement in response to President Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament, LEAD president Linda Masarira says infrastructural projects such as the upgrading of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Harare and Bulawayo respectively should be downgraded to lower priority and funds channeled to rail infrastructure.
“Considering that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, we expect commitment by government to prioritize rail rehabilitation and restore NRZ to it’s former glory of a fast, efficient and affordable bulk transporter of goods in Zimbabwe.
“Rail transport has the capacity to lure the much needed forex if the rail regulations are followed according to the book as was before,” Masarira said.
Masarira, a former employee of the NRZ, urged Government to desist from appointing “political or military people into the rail sector who have no understanding whatsoever about the operations of the once economic giant organization in Zimbabwe”.
She said the much publicized expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport “is not a priority at the moment”. The funds should be channeled towarda public health provision.
Said Masarira: “Funds should be injected into the health sector to ensure quality healthcare for all Zimbabweans as enshrined in section 77 of the constitution of Zimbabwe.
“For a country with nearly a quarter of the population suffering from chronic diseases priority should be allocation of funds to acquire state of the art machinery for public hospitals like CT scans, radiotherapy machines for cancer patients, dialysis machines, etc for all the referral public hospitals in Zimbabwe.
“Commitment by Government of Zimbawe should be on ensuring affordable quality healthcare in all public health facilities and sufficient stock of drugs and essential medical supplies.
“Instead of expanding airports funds should be used to upgrade schools and investing in quality education of all students regardless of background or class in society.”
Meanwhile, another opposition leader, MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora, said the President’s address had shortcomings as it failed to talk about electoral reforms ahead of the 2023 elections.
“He did not speak on issues of corruption. Zimbabwe is losing about US$3 billion per year because of illicit financial flows,” Mwonzora said.
“We did not hear that in his address. We want the Zimbabwean government to make sure that all law enforcement organs and other organs that are tasked to fight corruption do so. We did not hear about electoral reforms.”
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance legislators snubbed President Mnangagwa’s address.