HARARE – When President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced his Cabinet in September last year — following his hotly-disputed July 30 poll victory — there was generally wide approval from Zimbabweans.
The reasons for that approval were that Mnangagwa had finally cut loose long time loyalists of former president Robert Mugabe who had become synonymous with his nonperforming government and that in his choices, the new Zanu PF leader had included young blood such as such Industry minister Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndlovu.
Apart from Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Ndlovu was and is still seen as the vital cog in the economic recovery machine, particularly when one considers the enthusiasm and hope associated with such age.
Ndlovu, who is a holder of Master’s degree in Finance and Investment, turns 39 this November.
The youthful minister has sadly been displaying worrying and disconcerting tendencies in the current economic crisis by making threats against struggling companies.
Ndlovu has been warning businesses against increasing prices which, in the eyes of government are not justified, yet the prevailing economic situation has left them with no other option except passing costs to equally suffering consumers of their goods.
There are many reasons why threats of withdrawal of operating licences are damaging to both the government and general populace.
Threats of withdrawal of operating licences, which have been made against the background of a mega economic crisis driven by acute shortages of foreign currency that is badly required by these companies increasing prices of their goods, militate against Mnangagwa’s promises of breaking with Mugabe’s past and portend more shortages.
Crucially, they put question marks on the ability of the youthful minister to have a solid relationship with business which should be anchored on trust and confidence.
A perusal of the minister’s resume should ordinarily, at least on paper, project an official who is well grounded in finance and the economy in general. It is a surprise that he is pursuing command economics when clearly market forces and liberalisation should be left to determine the course.
The current economic crisis needs government to have the right attitude so that whatever plans or policies it has, will have meaningful impact on the economy.
More importantly, government needs to bin war time tendencies that were more synonymous with Mugabe and his useless minions, so that its policies can find resonance with the long suffering ordinary Zimbabweans. This is no longer an era of command economics!