Cape Town – A year after Zimbabwe held its elections, thousands continue to live under dire situations as the country’s unemployment crisis persists.
This is despite promises made by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party during the campaign period that his government would create more than two million jobs.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, overwhelmingly won the 31 July 2013 vote, extending his decades' rule.
His main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, however, denounced the poll as a "huge fraud".
Recent media reports have indicated many in the southern African country continue to wallow in poverty, with Nehandaradio.com saying "Zimbabwe has literally been reduced to a country of vendors" as everyone – from professionals to unemployed youths - "is trying to sell something to survive".
Reports indicate that Zimbabwe's unemployment rate is at over 80% although the government puts it at 11% arguing that most people are now employed in the informal sector.
As The Standard reported early this year, many graduates from Zimbabwe's tertiary institutions have lost hope of ever getting formal employment, as the economy continues to shrink.
Companies are either downsizing or closing down, sending thousands of workers out of employment, thus making it virtually impossible for school leavers to get jobs.
Take a look at what has seemingly turned out to be the daily life for most Zimbabweans.
Vendors sell sweets and mobile phone recharge cards in central Harare. The majority of Zimbabweans are self employed due to high unemployment rate. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)
A woman holds a basket with onions on a bus in Mbare, Harare. Mbare is the major trading place in Zimbabwe for fruits and vegetables. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)
A woman carries a basket with tomatoes in Mabare, Harare. (Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, AP)
Women and children go about their everyday chores in Mbare, Harare. (Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, AP).
A woman waits by her car for clients to buy clothes in central Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP).
Mugabe's opponents have been in the news criticising him for failing to deliver on the promises he made.
NewZimbabwe.com quoted former finance minister Tendai Biti as saying Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party must admit they have failed and hand over the task of reversing the economic slide to a team of competent technocrats.
Biti slammed Mugabe's administration for turning Zimbabweans into vendors, most of whom he said were selling mobile phone airtime.
Mugabe, however, maintains that sanctions, which were first levied in 2002 by the European Union and the United Sates, were hampering the country's recovery from an economic meltdown in 2008.
The EU and the US accuse Mugabe's regime of repeated human rights abuses and denials of basic freedoms.