Zimbabwe energy wasted on Mugabe saga

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Zimbabwe energy wasted on Mugabe saga 05 January 2015

AS 2000 dawned I was at an event where the subject of Zimbabwe came up. Many people in the discussion were adamant that President Robert Mugabe would be out of power within a few years. Then, they said, Zimbabwe would re-emerge as an economic power – Mugabe’s removal was seen as a necessary condition for economic revival, writes Dianna Games in BDLive.

At the time the economy was in trouble. Zimbabwe’s currency had plunged as a result of huge unbudgeted payouts to war veterans and it was burning money it did not have to prop up the president in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The year 2000 was seen as a watershed year. For the first time since 1980 the population voted against a Zanu-PF plan – the new constitution – in a referendum at about the same time that a new political opposition emerged, which nearly won the election that year.

It seemed just possible then that Mugabe was on shaky ground.

But 15 years later he is still at the helm and the economy is still in trouble. Meaningful change looks unlikely. Zanu-PF is without a realistic plan for the economy, devoting much of its time to recycling unpopular political lackeys into key positions and fighting over declining spoils.

A feature in a Zimbabwean newspaper last week, titled “2014: The year business would want to forget”, outlined the sombre state of a nation that found little to celebrate over the holidays as the nation continued to struggle with limited investment and revenues, job losses, state spending scandals, liquidity issues and high external debt.

Zanu-PF’s annual conference last month provided an opportunity to chart a way forward for the embattled economy. Instead, the ruling party chose to focus its energies on the country’s longest-running soap opera – the battle to succeed Mugabe, despite the fact that he is going nowhere.

The 2015 national budget did not inspire confidence. The finance minister has few options, burdened by political pressure to maintain high recurrent spending of scarce resources, with a huge 76% of revenues going to public service salaries. He admitted that the growth target for last year, halved to 3.1% from 6% during the year, looked unachievable, given the challenges.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says deindustrialisation is reaching “catastrophic” levels, with average capacity utilisation in industry down to 36%. More than 600 companies have closed their gates in less than two years.

A survey conducted by the confederation last year said 47% of executives canvassed predicted a recession in the year ahead. Multilateral lenders are steering clear of Zimbabwe until it finds a way to pay off its large – and mounting – external debt. Investors remain wary, concerned mostly by a lack of policy certainty.

Many still believe Mugabe’s removal will be the trigger for economic revival. But newly sworn-in first vice-president, a former defence minister and one of the most feared and hated men in Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, does not inspire confidence. Things could get a lot worse.

Mnangagwa’s ascent to the second-highest office in the land highlights again that political expediency is what drives the government of Zimbabwe, not the economy, not the interests of investors and certainly not the interests of the people.

Games is CEO of African business advisory, Africa @ Work.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    tendai 6 years ago

    who becomes president if Mugabe and Munangagwa were to both die at the same time ?

  • comment-avatar
    tendai 6 years ago

    Who becomes president if Mugabe and Munangagwa were to both die or were to be incapacitated at the same time?

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    Swagman 6 years ago

    I hope the airplane he rides back
    faces the same end at the Air Asia
    one that broke up at 38,000 feet!

  • comment-avatar
    Parangeta 6 years ago

    I hope the airplane he rides back
    faces the same end at the Air Asia
    one that broke up at 38,000 feet!

  • comment-avatar
    tonyme 6 years ago

    The real problem is that ZANU takes itself as a more important entity than Zimbabwe. All energy from the beginning has been spent on perpetuating ZANU’s grip on power rather than opening door to accommodate enough resources to sustain national needs. Zimbabwe is rich with all kinds of resources including manpower.
    Unfortunately all resources have been decimated or destroyed due poor custodians being put in place to manage where they have no expertise. If one visits Zimbabwe today, one would see thousands of individuals struggling to make an honest living. People are selling everything in sight. There unfortunately is no help from the government as over 600 factories have closed recently. Money is being stolen left and right and the culprits are not being punished. Fraud at the highest level seems to be condoned and yet little guys get canned for stealing a can of soup.Wake up Zimbabwe leaders.

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    Petal 6 years ago

    It is not rocket science- the Ordinary people know the thieving scumbags at the top do not give a stuff about anyone except for themselves their families etc. There are floods and the geriatric is no where to be seen because he is stuffing his face and living it up in Singapore with his family -if these floods affected those at the top watch how fast the response would be