Fault not with ministers only, but Mugabe as well

ZANU PF youth league leader, Kudzanai Chipanga on Saturday made an important call that President Robert Mugabe must fire all his economic cluster ministers because they were not doing enough, as the economy continues to tank.

Source: Fault not with ministers only, but Mugabe as well – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 28, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Chipanga’s main gripe is that the said ministers were pre-occupied with politicking, rather than doing their jobs and were responsible for the poor state of the economy.

For the record, there are four economic cluster ministers: Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion led by Obert Mpofu, who has been conspicuous by his silence; Policy Co-ordination and Promotion of Socio-economic Ventures, led by Simon Khaya Moyo, who has been bedridden for almost a year; Industry and Commerce, spearheaded by Mike Bimha, who despite being a busybody, has seen things worsening during his tenure; and the Finance and Economic Development ministry, headed by Patrick Chinamasa.

The economy is in a tailspin and there is no way the quartet can justify holding on to their ministerial jobs.

However, the real worry, and this is what Chipanga must understand, is that the fault lies with his boss, Mugabe, more than with these ministers.

For example, Chinamasa suggested the suspension of the payment of bonuses and the slashing of allowances, but Mugabe will have none of it, choosing to take a populist decision even against overwhelming evidence that this would not work.

The government struggled to pay 2015 bonuses and with a worsening economic situation, paying the 13th cheque in 2016 was always going to be more difficult under the circumstances.

Mugabe’s decisions, in the past, have brought untold damage to the economy, as he chooses to act on emotion and populism, rather than economic sense.

Never mind the propaganda, the indigenisation policy and the land reform programme were not driven by a desire to right past wrongs, but were vindictive and were meant to punish a racial group, which the President felt betrayed by.

The economic consequences were never at the topmost of Mugabe’s mind when these were implemented and the effect of those two policies is being felt by Zimbabweans.

So, every minister can resign or be fired, but the buck starts and stops with Mugabe, who holds a strong grip on every facet of the economy.

In the past, when confronted with economic logic, he has hit back, saying that bookish economics that has no place in Zimbabwe.

The President has been warned and advised several times about some of the decisions he has taken, but he has not heeded that advice and continued on a populistic path.

The fault, Chipanga, lies not with the ministers, but rather with the President.