via Pressure mounts on Mugabe – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba 30 MARCH 2014
As the economy continues to slide downwards towards collapse, President Robert Mugabe has come under immense pressure to reshuffle and change his Cabinet especially in key economic ministries.
With government delaying in paying its workers, who include the security forces, political analysts say the 90-year-old leader must swiftly act before the country plunges into further turmoil.
Analysts warned yesterday that if Mugabe keeps his “clueless Cabinet”, the country is unlikely to emerge from its present social and economic quagmire.
After touring former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono’s Donnington Farm on Thursday, Mugabe left observers believing that he could reshuffle the Cabinet when he said there were some within Zanu PF, who feared losing their jobs to the ex-central bank chief.
Crisis Coalition chairperson Dewa Mavhinga, said it is inevitable that Mugabe will reshuffle his Cabinet, as a response to the worsening economic woes that have seen unprecedented company closures, the resultant unemployment and a virtual collapse of key sectors such as health and education.
“Since the formation of the Zanu PF government last year, Mugabe has been under pressure to deliver.
“He is under pressure to have a functional economy. And the situation has just worsened and he can no longer afford to ignore the pressing challenges,” said Mavhinga.
Thus far, the response from Mugabe’s ministers has followed a now familiar and tiring script, praising the much-hyped economic blueprint, ZimAsset, which has failed to kick-start the moribund economy, and the sanctions-being-the-cause mantra.
The government’s policy framework document, covering the period between 2014 and 2018, ambitiously seeks to grow the economy by 6,1 percent this year, 7,3 percent growth next year, create value of $7,3 billion from the indigenisation of 1 138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy, and unlock as much as $2 trillion in the economy.
Mavhinga, however said a “cut and paste” approach is not the solution to the deepening economic woes.
“The solution is not in a mere Cabinet reshuffle, there is need for government to walk the talk. Pressure is not only coming from the public but from the reality,” he said.
Attempts by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in seeking internationally the much-needed bailout funds have successively hit a brickwall.
When Chinamasa travelled to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) early this month, he came back empty-handed while the Chinese have also ruled out bailing out the country.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that Mugabe, in power since 1980, also needs reshuffling himself.
“The reshuffle will not assist the situation. What is needed is a national political reshuffle of the whole governance system,” said Ruhanya.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) manufacturing survey, local industries are currently operating at below 40 percent of capacity utilisation, while the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says more than 9 000 people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the year following the closure of 75 companies, despite Zanu PF promising to create 2,2 million jobs in its manifesto.
Civil servants, who make the bulk of the country’s formally-employed staff, continue to earn meagre salaries and worse still government recently postponed their pay dates — signalling the biting liquidity crunch.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said notwithstanding the present challenges, Mugabe is unlikely to buckle to public pressure.
“I don’t see him moving that way. He is a stubborn character and even under difficult times, he has not yielded to public demands. I don’t see a reshuffle of Cabinet happening anytime soon before the elective congress,” said Masunungure.
The respected analyst said unless if some ministers, implicated in shocking corruption scandals currently rocking the country are arrested — as charged by Mugabe — a Cabinet reshuffle is just “idle speculation”.
While the country is endowed with rich natural resources such as diamonds, corruption is flourishing in the landlocked nation and the general discourse is Mugabe should act now.
Reason Wafawarova, an Australia-based political commentator, said Mugabe would not succumb to media speculation.
“He has dealt with media speculation for many years, and it would be simplistic for us to conclude that the speculation in itself could amount to pressure on the part of the president.
“Having said that, we must also consider the possibility that the speculation itself might be based on realistic events happening in the power corridors, and if we were to take that for a fact, then what we would be talking about is leaked information, which would in a sense amount to some form of pressure,” said Wafawarova.