Harare residents, Patrick Mazarura and Danmore Matombo wake up everyday to fill potholes on state roads in Zimbabwe’s capital as a way of eking out a living.
The two men flag vehicles that ply the road and ask the drivers for money.
They are just but a fraction of unemployed people in the Southern African nation.
When you look at the last 36 years you are going to see a lot more negatives than positives to our national independence.
Zimbabwe’s statistics office pegs the country’s unemployment rate at 11.3 percent. Economic analysts however, put it at more than 80 percent.
Nevertheless, Matombo and Mazarura hope for a better future especially as the country marked 36 years of independence on Monday.
“For the 36 years of independence, my wish is for industries to reopen so that we can get employment,” said Matombo.
Veteran leader Robert Mugabe who led the independence day celebrations, vowed to revive the manufacturing sector of the country once known as Africa’s food basket, to create new jobs.
Zimbabwe is trying to emerge from years of international isolation, that led to the plummeting of its growth.
Analysts say the country’s leaders face a tough task of reaching out to a population that seems to have lost hope in the government.
“When you look at the last 36 years, you are going to see a lot more negatives than positives to our national independence. The negative being centred on the plummeting economy which has failed to serve the needs of its people,” said Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst.
“We have allegations of human rights violations and the issue of people leaving the country, young people looking for greener pastures outside our borders. So those are the negatives of the last 36 years and will be reflected in conversations you have with ordinary Zimbabweans,” he added.
According to the African Development Bank, Zimbabwe will experience a marginal growth this year from the 1.1 per cent recorded in 2015.
AfDB says there is a need to continue the implementation of structural reforms to improve the business environment in order to achieve a sustainable current account balance, reform public enterprises and make growth more inclusive.