Lawmakers in Zimbabwe have made a controversial call for families not to embrace birth control measures but to have at least eight children because a bigger population will encourage economic growth and investment.
This motion by the lawmakers follows insinuations that Zimbabwe’s small population of just 14 million is the reason it can’t attract foreign investment.
Mike Musaka, a Senator from the ruling party who proposed the motion, says foreign investors are only likely to open factories in nations with a lot of people.
The Senators called for the Zimbabwe government to promote large families and get NGOs that have been pushing for birth control to instead ‘promote family growth.
The lawmakers said it was worrying and suggested that people should have a minimum of eight children and be supported by Government to sustain their families. Already, many Zimbabweans on social media don’t agree with the call.
For a country with such deplorable standards of living, Zimbabweans have oftentimes been accused of being weak citizens who desert their own country to encumber other people’s countries.
Meanwhile, emergency services in Zimbabwe’s public hospitals are grinding to a halt as nurses and doctors are on strike in an indefinite protest over pay and conditions. The nurses’ main demand is that the government honours its commitment to pay out their 2016 bonuses.
Many nurses have reportedly stayed away from the main hospitals in Harare and nearby Chitungwiza. Zimbabwe’s medical professionals are said to be some of the worst paid in the region and their salaries are often paid late.
According to statistics, levels of poverty in Zimbabwe have persisted over the last decade, with about 63 percent of Zimbabwe households deemed poor and 16 percent categorized as extremely poor.
The country’s data reveals that incidences of poverty in Zimbabwe are multifaceted and occur in various dimensions, including income levels, health, education and employment.
Gold, platinum, chrome and diamonds account for most Zimbabwean exports despite all its problems. Once a prosperous city, Harare retains a veneer of modernity, although basic services deteriorate.
On the other hand, Zimbabweans also await the fate of their government’s surrogate money called bond notes, which since December circulate alongside the U.S. dollar in $2 and now $5 denominations. The Zimbabwean dollar — destroyed by hyperinflation — was abandoned in 2008, but not before the central bank printed a Z$50 trillion note!
Adopting the U.S. dollar as its unofficial currency brought stability but created new problems. Unable to issue U.S. dollars and running a trade deficit, Zimbabwe ran out of money. The cash squeeze is what prompted the authorities to issue the bond notes, which they say are backed by a loan from a bank in Cairo.
Zimbabweans distrust the bond notes and they already trade at a 15% discount. Except for a red bond note banner at the top the surrogate notes are identical to the discredited Zimbabwe dollar.
Lenders like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank say they can’t provide loans to Zimbabwe until outstanding arrears are cleared and a clear market-based reform plan is put in place.