BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZIMBABWE is witnessing heavy militarisation of businesses through the emergence of opaque security sector-run companies since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power in 2017, with the country now migrating towards full-blown dictatorship, the Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CiCZ) said yesterday.
The 17-page CiCZ barometer report launched yesterday tracked Mnangagwa’s performance since 2017 using key governance indicators such as participation of the citizenry in governance issues and accountability.
The human rights organisation adjudged his rule, since he took over from the late former President Robert Mugabe, as characterised by regression and increased reliance on crude military authoritarianism.
The report titled Plus a Change, The Second Republic’s Governance Performance Since 2017 maintains that Mnangagwa’s scorecard on governance, rule of law and human rights, among others was worse than that of Mugabe.
“Governance and economic relations issues in Zimbabwe have generally attracted negative rating for more than two decades. Based on key business and economic indicators useful for assessing the strength of the economy, the Second Republic scorecard has never been different from its predecessor,” the report read in part.
But Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha dismissed the report, describing it as mischievous.
“We don’t operate as an army. We have a Cabinet that meets every Tuesday and announces the decisions to the Press in a transparent manner. The decisions are not coming from the army. I don’t agree entirely with that report,” Bimha said.
Mnangagwa’s basket of promises after assuming office include fighting corruption, observance of human rights, upholding the rule of law, opening up democratic space, improving the ease of doing business and re-engaging the international community.
But critics have accused Mnangagwa of lacking political will to implement far-reaching reforms.
The report said relations between civilians and the military had also not been good.
“The issue of civil-military relations continues to haunt the Zimbabwean society and remains one key unresolved question. The Second Republic views the military as an integral institution in preserving national interests, including business relations with the State.
“At the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis lies a nationalistic military business and political class that has been growing its tentacles to all sectors of society since 2000. The military continued to have business interests in various opaque companies ranging from diamond and gold mining, farming, tourism, and fuel industries after November 2017,” the report said.
“In league with Zanu PF, the military had used these connections to establish monopolies in key sectors of the economy and exploit the public.”
The military in Zimbabwe is reportedly engaged in different business ventures such as diamond and gold mining, farming, tourism, among other industries. However, the operations and revenue accrued from these enterprises remain clouded in secrecy.