Skiing uphill – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Skiing uphill – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: Skiing uphill – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th September 2018

Some commentators have been scornful of new finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s twitter resort to crowdfunding to help deal with the cholera epidemic. They are surely wrong to be so dismissive so early.

Ncube is a man of some pedigree and is apparently not even a member of Zanu PF. He has left his home in Switzerland to try to ski uphill in Zimbabwe. Quite a task.

As a comparative outsider, he faces an enormous challenge dealing with the vested interests embedded after 38 years of piratical government. Where do you start, given a bankrupt, corrupt, dilapidated economy?

As people have pointed out, you don’t start by dishing out luxury cars to legislators or hiring a private plane to curry favour with the Mugabes. But Ncube was not responsible for this. He hasn’t even had a chance yet to explore the minibar in his office.

Ncube has a doctorate in mathematical finance. This is important as it suggests he can add up – an ability not seen in a Zimbabwean finance minister since the days of Tendai Biti.

The Vigil believes we should reserve judgment on Ncube until we see whether he can persuade the government to make the unpalatable reforms essential if the economy is to be turned around.

Reports that China has rejected Zimbabwe’s request for a $2 billion bailout, apparently because it doesn’t believe the money will be repaid, underline the need for reforms. But, as they have repeatedly shown, the Zanu PF elite care only about their own pockets.

So perhaps a crowdfunding begging bowl is the only option left to Zimbabwe.

Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Jonathan Kariwo, Marian Machekanyanga, Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva and Peter Sidindi. Thanks also to Patricia, Marian and Nyarai for looking after the front table.

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