Mixed expectations on Zimbabwe’s future as Mugabe re- elected president

Zimbabwean analysts have expressed mixed views on the future, especially economic future, of the country following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe and his party into power.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African Nation Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu- PF) party also secured two-thirds of the seats in the parliament, giving it the power to amend the constitution without the support of other parties.

Nhamo Mhiripiri, a media studies lecturer with the Midlands State University, told Xinhua on Saturday that Mugabe and his party’s victory in the July 31 elections will give Zimbabwe stability and certainty to move forward.

“There will be more stability, less bickering and a pursuance of polices that will be easy to deliver,” he said.

He said Zimbabweans had decided to give the revolutionary party another chance to deliver, following poor performance by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party during the time it was in the inclusive government.

“For now that’s what Zimbabweans need. If Zanu-PF messes up again, Zimbabweans will vote wisely and so the party has to deliver on its promises,” Mhiripiri added.

He said Zanu-PF’s promise to economically empower Zimbabweans through greater control of natural resources was deliverable, compared to MDC-T’s promise to build the economy and create jobs through external assistance.

Zimbabwe’s economy has gone through a roller-coaster past from one of Africa’s most prosperous countries to a near collapse economy. The economy began to recover in 2009 after the government dumped the hyperinflation-crashed Zimbabwe dollar and adopted the U.S. dollar as currency. Mining and agriculture sectors are also booming.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into a coalition government after the disputed polls in 2008. Both claimed credit for the economic recovery and criticized the other’s strategies to boost development.

Zanu-PF has been pushing for local employment through “indigenization” drive, while MDC-T is more in favor of attracting foreign investments by opening up wide.

“The MDC-T’s plan to get investment from countries that have let us down during the time of the inclusive government is not realistic. They went to the West with a begging bowl, asking for assistance and investment, but this was not forthcoming,” Mhiripiri said.

However, outgoing Education Minister David Coltart said Zanu-PF will face a mammoth task to rebuild the economy because its win was not legitimate.

“It will be very difficult for them to govern the country. Zanu- PF has the challenge of attracting domestic and international investment. It has to resuscitate business confidence and I think it will be a big battle for them to achieve that,” Coltart said.

Tsvangirai has described the elections as a “huge farce” that did not reflect the will of the people. He said the elections were marred with irregularities that affect the legitimacy of its outcome.

Coltart, who lost to a member of Tsvangirai’s party in the July 31 parliamentary elections, said Zimbabwe would find it difficult to attract foreign capital if Zanu-PF insisted on its policy to transfer foreign ownership of companies to black Zimbabweans.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a member of Mugabe’s party, said on Friday that his party will push ahead with the indigenization program to ensure the country’s resources “are exploited by Zimbabweans for the benefit of our people.”

“We want to enhance participation of locals in industry from the current levels (51 percent) to 100 percent. We want to have an economy that is Zimbabwean,” he said.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe’s economy was currently a British economy as major banks were British-owned.

Under the program that started in 2010, foreign-owned mining companies have given up stakes to locals and the banking sector is next in line.

Local governance advocacy group, the Harare Residents’ Trust said it wanted quality services delivered from the Harare City Council (HRT).

“To the HRT, the issues have not changed. Residents want clean water, effective representation by elected officials, accountable leadership and transparency in the utilization of public resources, and more engagement among the citizens and their elected representatives and service providers,” the group said.

via http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=157625