When will Zim hold elections?

HARARE - We are worried by the fact that our politicians have chosen to play cat and mouse games with the nation over when the country will hold harmonised elections to replace the current coalition arrangement.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, who have since 2009 been demanding early elections, now seem to be dragging their feet as it emerges that the party is not ready for elections anytime soon owing to nagging factionalism.

But the country cannot surely be held to ransom by a political party that is struggling to put its house in order, causing unnecessary uncertainty that is a threat to building investor confidence that the country’s economy badly needs.

We, therefore, demand that Mugabe comes clean on the election dates because continued uncertainty surrounding the issue of dates is certainly not good for business and the economy at large.

After years of hyperinflation and economic stagnation, Zimbabwe recorded an incredible growth of over 9,5 percent in 2009.

But now, it has regressed to well below five percent, amid indications that the figures might be even lower this year due to the uncertainty surrounding elections.

Traditionally, Zimbabwe’s elections have been violent, scaring away investors and effectively grounding business to a halt, hence the need for Mugabe to be crystal clear.

Continued procrastination in announcing the election dates worsens the situation as investors further tighten their purses while business cannot plan.

It is also public knowledge that the country’s economy, which grew significantly in the first two years after the adoption of the multi-currency system, began to burn out in 2011 when Mugabe threatened to unilaterally call for elections.

One would therefore have expected Zanu PF’s quest for an early election — as if it is the magic wand to Zimbabwe’s plethora of socio-economic trials — might result in them implementing all the outstanding reforms, but sadly that is not the case.

We are now approaching the second half of 2013 and final election dates are yet to be announced, leaving foreign investors to take a-wait-and-see approach until the political environment stabilises.

We suggest therefore that we follow the dictates of the new Constitution regarding dates for the holding of elections to calm the nerves of investors and even local business.

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