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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
100 days of turmoil
Takudzwa Munyaka, Mail and Guardian (SA)
November 29, 2013
Saturday marks 100 days
since President Robert Mugabe's colourful inauguration,
but there is little to celebrate as he struggles to lift the economy
out of the doldrums and analysts say the odds are stacked against
Buoyed by the large turnout
to see him take the oath for his seventh consecutive term in office,
Mugabe did not disappoint in his acceptance speech, outlining the
gigantic task he faced in turning around Zimbabwe's economic fortunes
and promising to deliver all his electoral promises.
who cast his vote on
July 31 created my victory and thus made a portion of my presidency.
He or she did not cast
that precious vote in vain, did not repose it in us without expectations
of a good, deserved return," said Mugabe. Similar promises
were made to the unemployed youth, businesspersons, even farmers.
The economic decline
was Zanu-PF's stumbling block when it lost its parliamentary majority
to the opposition Movement for Democratic change. Now, having secured
a victory and 100 days down the road, analysts say Mugabe and his
government are back in the same place - facing a mammoth economic
Zimbabwe continues to
face a serious liquidity crunch, which has affected most companies,
forcing closures or retrenchments. Between September and October,
nine companies went into liquidation, and 12 were placed under judicial
management, joining dozens of others that have collapsed this year
in the manufacturing sector continues to dip, and is now hovering
at about 39%, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
Zimbabwe's formal banking
sector alone lost $1-billion just before and after the July 31 elections.
This also contributed
immensely to the liquidity crunch. Reports of banks turning away
clients because they cannot meet cash withdrawals, though isolated,
do not inspire confidence. The government is also struggling to
services, with water and electricity shortages still the order of
the day. Last week, a Human Rights Watch report
said Harare was at risk of a cholera outbreak.
100 days have been mostly about policy formulation, but we now want
to see implementation. It is positive that [the government] has
developed a new economic programme [the Zimbabwe
Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset)],
and is consulting the private sector on its implementation and on
the budget instead of being dictatorial," said economic analyst
Dr Eric Bloch.
Zim Asset is the government's
ambitious programme to grow the economy by 3.4% this year, and 6.1%
in 2014, with the ultimate target of achieving 9.9% growth by 2018.
Also on a positive note,
Bloch said there had been an easing of tensions between Harare and
some Western countries. Several Western ambassadors had told the
government they wanted to normalise relations with Zimbabwe, and
the European Union had lifted sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Commission and its subsidiaries, opening up the European market
for the country's diamonds.
The European Union's
head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, recently told
the Mail & Guardian that new Indigenisation Minister Francis
Nhema was sending the correct signals to would-be investors, pointing
out that European investors were keen to invest in Zimbabwe, although
most were still waiting to see the direction the government would
Another economic analyst,
John Robertson, believes that, despite coming up with Zim Asset
and making some positive statements, the government's plans remain
a wish list that will be almost impossible to realise, given the
challenges facing the nation.
"We don't want to
hear promises, we want to see movement. We want to see the government
getting rid of all policies which are stifling growth. It doesn't
help, for example, that the new indigenisation minister will apply
the policy more gently; it can be applied more harshly anytime.
If the policy is bad, it should be removed."
The liquidity crisis
remained a serious challenge and would militate against efforts
by the government to turn the economy around. The country should
urgently put in place policies that would attract investment, he
"The major casualty
of these policies is the unemployed. About 300 000 people will leave
schools when they close next week, and they will be looking for
jobs. Between 20 000 to 30 000 people graduated this year, and they
are all looking for jobs in a shrinking economy, Robertson said."
general of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, Japhet Moyo, said there had been a
sharp increase in retrenchment over the past three months.
"The ZCTU has noted
unprecedented high levels of retrenchment of up to 150 per week
over three months and, in the past two weeks of November, the figure
has risen to almost 300 a week, a sign that the economy is reaching
a dead end."
Dr Godfrey Kanyenze,
from the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe,
said the government's decision to continue with a populist, consumptive
framework would render useless efforts to turn around the economy.
He said the decision
to write off electricity debts soon after winning elections would
prove costly in the long run to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority, which was already struggling to provide enough power
to domestic and industrial users.
also promised public servants poverty datum line- related salaries,
yet it has not managed to boost its revenue. As we heard from the
finance minister, diamond revenue is still not finding its way to
the treasury, while the mining sector, which has been contributing
about 65.2% of our export revenue, has been affected by weak commodity
"The Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority has also missed its revenue collection target, so the
revenue side is not increasing, while expenditure continues to rise.
So far, the government has not shown the capacity to deliver on
its promises, or the ability to live within its means, so the first
100 days have not done much to give people confidence."
There is also concern
that Mugabe cannot pay full attention to economic issues as he is
preoccupied with mediating internal battles over his succession.
In Mugabe's absence last
week, two factions took their fight public in a mudslinging battle.
Mugabe had to call off provincial party elections amid allegations
of vote rigging.
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