You're clueless, Zanu PF told

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s government is coming under increasing pressure from Zimbabweans from all walks of life to revive the country’s dying economy, amid a biting liquidity crunch and fast-emptying Treasury coffers spawned by a poverty of sound policies, corruption and official ineptitude.

And faced with this dire reality and an increasingly restless electorate, Mugabe’s critics say the long-ruling nonagenarian is having to resort to globe-trotting, begging and signing “obscure” memoranda of understanding with various countries in a desperate effort to secure funds to mitigate the situation and implement his economic blueprint, ZimAsset.

Since Zanu PF’s disputed election victory in 2013, the party’s leadership has spent most of its time engaging in deadly factional and succession wars which culminated in the summary expulsion of Vice President Joice Mujuru late last year from both the government and ruling party, together with several other bigwigs.

Despite the country’s dire economic crisis, which has seen hundreds of companies shutting down and tens of thousands of people losing their jobs in the past two years alone, Zanu PF promised to generate at least two million jobs in the build-up to the 2013 elections.

So bad is the economic situation in the country that both Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya and beleaguered Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa have readily and openly admitted to the crisis, with the latter going on to state that the government urgently needed to cut the number of civil servants and the unsustainable civil service wage bill.

To worsen the situation, both foreign and domestic investors are not coming to the party blaming the cocktail of policy inconsistencies and failure to protect property rights — despite the country boasting vast natural resources including the second-largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa, the largest alluvial diamond reserves in the world and significant gold, chrome and coal deposits — as the main reasons for the investment boycott.

Economic experts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was becoming increasingly evident that the country’s Zanu PF-led government was clueless about turning around the fortunes of the economy, projected by the International Monetary Fund to decline further this year due to declining metal prices and poor policies.

Renowned economist John Robertson said the situation was getting desperate as Zimbabwe urgently needed money to keep the wheels of government ticking and clear mounting debts to international creditors.

He said government remained “incompetent” to revive the moribund economy as the majority of the country’s leadership was more interested in political expediency rather than pragmatic bread and butter issues.

“Unless government implements austerity measures and addresses policy discord, uncertainty will continue to haunt the economy. To restore Zimbabwe’s position on a positive economic growth path, investment is needed and this calls first for investor confidence and security,” Robertson said.

He added that before confidence could be restored, security issues needed to be addressed, including civil rights, property rights, the rule of law and the adoption by politicians of policies designed to assist and encourage investors rather than to regulate and control them.

“Over the years, these securities have been systematically removed. Bad policies are indeed damaging the economy which has now been left in tatters. I foresee negative economic growth of minus five percent by end of year,” Robertson said.

He also noted ruefully that the government could no longer continue to rely on already over-burdened individuals and companies for revenue.

“What needs to be done is to articulate economic policies that attract foreign investment and create an enabling environment for business,” he said.

He said while the government would have to rely on external budgetary support, it was unfortunate that Zimbabwe had significant reputational risk emanating from its failure to address its debt overhang of over $10 billion.

“As a country, we need to deal with issues to restore investor confidence. Right now we have few friendly countries who can lend us money without thinking twice about the risk of not getting it back. Even China has set conditions that we cannot even meet unless we demonstrate our sincerity through austerity measures,” Robertson said.

Harare-based analyst, Issis Mwale, said the government did not have an idea how the country should be run, saying the “ill-informed leadership” was running both the economy and nation at large down.

“It is sad. Just look at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, last year they threatened to arrest those who did not take advantage of the amnesty, a period they had granted to negotiate with defaulters. A blitz was promised, but instead they have extended the deadline.

“This only goes on to show the amount of pressure Gershem Pasi (Zimra commissioner general) is under as he needs to meet targets. In any case, he already missed the first quarter target, but expenditure keeps on mounting and he is getting anxious,” Mwale said.

She added that the discord surrounding the issue of civil servants’ bonuses, where Mugabe publicly and ill-advisedly humiliated Chinamasa, was a recent glaring example of how incompetent the State machine was.

“Chinamasa announced the bonus cuts because he wanted to appease the International Monetary Fund so that Zimbabwe would pass the Staff Monitored Programme with flying colours. He is the man on the ground and had a better understanding of the dynamics at play.

“After this, his boss went on and blasted the move at the independence commemorations saying he had not consulted anyone. This shows that there is no co-ordination within government,” Mwale said.

Under its Staff Monitored Programme, the IMF has recommended that Zimbabwe must cut its civil service, and Chinamasa — through his infamous bonus announcement — wanted to meet this recommendation.

An analyst with Invictus Capital told the Daily News that with the country’s famous policy inconsistencies, it would be difficult to attract cheap loans from international financial institutions.

“There is no shortage of capital in the world, there is plenty of it. But it wants to go where it can achieve the highest returns for the level of risk that is taken. I think indigenisation is one major area that is restricting the availability of capital,” he said.

    Comments (13)

    As long as Robert Mugabe remains the president of this state, no one should ever expect any Damascene type of economic transformation. A paradigm shift headed by a new dynamic leadership sensitive to the needs of the 21st century - not fossilized relics from the pre-Cambrian era - culminating in a total metamorphosis of the system is called for.

    Analyst - 29 April 2015

    I remember during the last election time a young man was interviewed by one jounalist. The young man said ," Tamirira Zim-Asset yatapromisiwa na President." Imagine what it means promising kids something you can not deliver. Pakupedzesira ndirikuona nyika ichimbadzuriswa nezwimwe zwimadhara zwisati zwatisiya.

    Chorosi - 29 April 2015

    The problem is that Socialism and Centralization of power is a mental cancer since it is the enemy of private freedom and wealth creation. The problem therefor starts with the people who don't understand this and not with Mugabe itself since Mugabe is only a creation of these peoples wishes in state authority which he also uses for himself. But the meaning of a good state is not to intervene in small business affairs all the time but to protect ordinary people and middle class income earners from being sucked and enslaved by multinational corporations such as the IMF, Coca Cola, Mc Donalds, SAB, Econet and to ensure that Monopoly Capitalism is not overtaking state rule. Black empowerment is only a gimmick and means nothing for anyone since big business owns the printing presses and no borders can stop them, hence the suffer is only for the majority which feels the pain of inflation and deflation, it is not helpful for any black poor personnor is it helpful for any poor white fellow, it is only meant to enslave both, but this mist people don't want to lesson, they are all just trapped in stupid nationalism.

    Emperor - 30 April 2015

    Mugabe never at any point run the country except to protect his seat ill gotten after killing and maiming the real comrades, Sithole, Joshua Nkomo, Nikita Mangena, Chitepo, Morris nyagumbo and Tongo. When he took over in 1980, the economy was just booming not because of him, but because of natural momentum set by Smith and the then government of those days. Now all has stopped, and people are asking what next. Mugabe knows nothing about government business except travelling and shouting at all he imagine are against him.Propaganda does not bring food on the table. Mugabe MUST GO NOW.

    ananian - 30 April 2015

    You can write these negative pieces until cows come home but that will not change the fortunes of your beloved MDC-T. It is advisable for the two writers to work full time in the MDC-T information department at Harvest House rather than pretending to be objective journalists!

    godfrey gudo - 30 April 2015

    The real promise was to destroy 2million jobs not create. kkkk. from which base can 2million jobs be created by these clueless liars

    kiwama - 30 April 2015

    We have been let down by our ignorant rural folks before. They are the ones who voted for poverty. Now we know the opposition is too weak to go there. We are going there ourselves. On you can submit a cell number of the person you want us to reach out to. You can also suggest. A message you want to be spread to thousands of our relatives who know less than you do

    Gari - 30 April 2015

    Resilience and patriotism gentlemen is what we need. We have kick started ZimAsset, we have signed MOUs and mega deals with influential countries China, Russia, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, North Korea, Iran, Algeria, we have just concluded a massive regional industrialisation mega plan as SADC, we have been entrusted with running the affairs of SADC and EU and soon we will be signing more MOUs and mega deals with Brazil, Mongolia, Singapore, South Sudan and many other progressive countries the world over. We have incited xenophobia in South Africa so that our talented children can come back home to develop their country. We have cleaned up our revolutionary party and got rid of gamatoxes. We are almost there fellow country people. We now have look East and look South policies. Vision vision and vision!!!

    Garikayi - 30 April 2015

    Thank you for telling us that Zanu PF is clueless. Now, okay tell is who's got the clues and shade some light on the nature of the clues. Waiting....

    binya - 3 May 2015

    People like godfrey think this is about mdc-t. It is about Zimbabwe and Zimabweans period. It is not a negative article but it is what it actually is.!

    obama4ever - 4 May 2015

    @godfrey gudo , i think you are a brainwashed Zanoid.

    Big Meech Larry Hoover - 4 May 2015

    Clueless indeed and very tired.

    paddington muchemei - 6 May 2015

    Clueless indeed and very tired.

    paddington muchemei - 6 May 2015

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