Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the new National Development Strategy is ‘the magic wand to steer the economy on a growth trajectory and stabilise the exchange rate’.
At a post-cabinet briefing Mutsvangwa acknowledged that the last plan launched by the Mnangagwa government, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, had failed but said the new one would ensure the achievement of a prosperous upper-middle-income society by 2030.
It envisaged growth averaging 5% a year, with a sustainable fiscal deficit of 1.2% of GDP, exchange rate stability and single-digit inflation based on doing away with ‘unmitigated and unbudgeted subsidies’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/05/govt-admits-policy-failures/.)
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti will not be convinced by the wave of a magic wand. Taking part in an online review of a report on private and state cartels in the region, he said ‘Zimbabwe faces the biggest existential crisis as a country because we are now run by bandits and thugs’.
He said reports of corruption in Zimbabwe only ‘scratched the surface’. It had become worse since the military coup in 2017. ‘For all intents and purposes, we have become a fully-fledged kleptocratic state’.
Biti estimated that 82 cents from every dollar collected as tax in Zimbabwe goes on corruption. ‘Corruption is cancer. It is the major cause of Zimbabwe’s fragility and instability’.
He continued: ‘the impact of corruption is more than the pauperisation of Zimbabwe. It is more than the under-development of Zimbabwe, it is also the de-democratisation of Zimbabwe.’
Mark Heywood, editor of Maverick Citizen, said: ‘The personal wealth of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is estimated at $500 million, yet the per capita income of a Zimbabwean is in the region of $900. Zimbabwe is a country rich in resources, but it is poor in terms of what it has been subjected to in terms of very sophisticated and sustained corruption’.
Maverick Citizen recently published a report on cartels contributed to by Zimbabwean academics and published in South Africa anonymously as they feared reprisals by the Zimbabwean government. The online review was hosted by the Mail and Guardian (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimbabwe-faces-an-existential-crisis-like-never-before-says-former-finance-minister-tendai-biti/).
Last word goes to Zimbabwean social justice activist Farai Maguwu: ‘the greatest challenge of this generation is to fight corruption and everybody has a role to play, especially the media, as research such as the cartel report is required to fight corruption. It is time for ethical leadership to emerge.’ (See: https://mg.co.za/special-reports/2021-05-27-exploring-the-role-of-illicit-financial-flows-in-zimbabwes-political-economy/.)
- With widespread poverty in Zimbabwe, there has been criticism of the government for spending money on a ten-foot statue of Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana, a nineteenth century spirit medium and anti-colonial figurehead. Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said it was a disgrace to squander money on the Harare statue when hospitals were in an state of collapse. ‘Doctors and nurses at Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo are having to carry sick patients or the dead using staircases, because elevators are not working! This is why we are saying building multimillion dollar statues when hospitals are not working is illogical!’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/26/anger-in-zimbabwe-at-nehanda-statue-amid-collapsing-economy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other).
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719295156338. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Margaret Munenge, Grace Munyanyi and Dudzai Mukondorongwe who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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