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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
depth: Zimbabwe election manifestos fail to impress business
and Tarisai Mandizha, NewsDay
July 25, 2013
View this article
on the NewsDay website
by different politicians ahead
of the July 31 make-or-break elections have failed to convince
the business community of a better Zimbabwe, indicating a vote of
no confidence in the parties’ manifestos.
point for the country’s business organisations is that another
coalition government is not welcome. As it stands, the business
community has failed to endorse the manifestos of the parties involved
and can only bank on the outcome of the polls.
observers say, has been the biggest crippling factor in the resuscitation
of Zimbabwe’s economy and elections must result in a single
government that will usher in consistency in policy proclamations.
With just six
days before Zimbabwe goes for polls, captains of industry and commerce
seem to be keeping their cards close to their chests. The past few
weeks have seen the country’s main political parties launching
their election manifestos at a time when economic activity has slowed
the indigenisation and economic policy compelling foreign-owned
companies to sell 51% stakes to locals is the key
to stimulating economic growth.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led
MDC, on the other hand, envisages
a $100 billion economy by 2018, anchored by foreign direct investment.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC sees devolution as a catalyst to economic
sector, whose capacity utilisation last year plunged to 44% from
57% amid indications that it would further decline, is confronted
by a myriad of problems.
the economy include subdued foreign direct investment, limited long-term
capital, general uncompetitiveness and a huge energy deficit.
of Zimbabwe Industry president Charles Msipa said Zimbabwe needed
a government with policy clarity and a conducive economic environment.
requires a clear, stable and consistent policy framework and an
environment that addresses our economic opportunities and challenges.
Whether that policy environment is delivered by a coalition or single-party
government is for the electorate to decide,” Msipa said.
show that over 100 companies have closed down during the past year
with Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub, hardest
hit. Zimbabwe’s economy, according to Finance minister Tendai
Biti, contracted by 3% during the first quarter of the year as more
companies continued to face viability problems.
Chamber of Commerce president Davison Norupiri said another coalition
government was not conducive for economic growth in Zimbabwe.
the current situation or the current environment whereby we have
a coalition government, it has been so difficult for the government
to make decisions and pass decisions because of this Government
of National Unity (GNU). People were coming from different backgrounds,
different political parties, and so as a result, some of the decisions
were not tallying,” Norupiri said.
believe that we no longer need anything of this nature. We no longer
need a Government of National Unity, because it takes us as a nation
maybe five or 10 years back. From the time we got into the GNU,
we haven’t moved much in terms of economic development and
as a result, it’s something that is regrettable and I don’t
think any business community will be happy with such a creature
He said the
chamber contended that a one-party government reduces policy inconsistencies
and political intransigence within government. Zimbabwe Energy Council
executive director Panganayi Sithole said Zimbabwe should not have
a coalition government, as this didn’t do much for the development
of power generation in Zimbabwe.
Energy Council is not keen to have another forced coalition. This
coalition managed to stabilise the economy only.
There was no
real growth, and neither new business birthed during the life of
the coalition government,” Sithole said. He said although
the main political players were keen on tackling the energy crisis
affecting the economy, none of the parties was clear on how energy
projects could be financed.
to the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of
Mines of Zimbabwe were not responded to at the time of going to
currently battling with a $10,7 billion debt which has been an albatross
around the neck of the government.
it has plans to add 1 750 megawatts (MW) from the new projects and
1 520MW from the rehabilitated existing power stations, while the
MDC-T promises to bring on board 6 000MW by 2018.
currently has a daily energy demand of 2 200MW, is generating an
average of 1 500MW and importing 150MW daily.
the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Cost of Service Study on
electricity supply which was completed in April this year, Zimbabwe’s
electricity generation is expected to improve in 2017 after the
completion of expansion works at Hwange Thermal Power Station.
the report, the power situation was expected to ease within four
years due to increased capacity at Hwange.
of Zimbabwe Graduate School of Management head Professor Tony
Hawkins recently told delegates attending the IHS Economic Outlook
Conference in South Africa that another coalition government after
the July 31 elections is not good for the economy. The conduct and
outcome of presidential and parliamentary elections within the next
few weeks, Hawkins said, would drive short-term economic performance.
He said three elections may emerge out of what many say would be
watershed polls. Below are excerpts from his presentation:
- Worst case
- Another coalition
- Months of
political wrangling over new coalition agreement
- Policy uncertainty
- Most investors
- not all - foreign and local, sit on their hands
lending and development agencies limit engagement
- Economy stagnates,
poverty and unemployment worsen and social unrest mounts
case - Another five years of Zanu-PF
Short-term uncertainty over:
reaction and responses, and who succeeds President Robert Mugabe
faction fighting intensifies
paralysed - exchanging current uncertainty for a different type
push hard for indigenisation, more State ownership and limited
engagement with donors and Bretton Woods institutions
- Focus on
“Look East” policy - China, Russia, India
case - MDC-T wins overall majority
economic policy rationality - extreme economic policies diluted
- Closer engagement
with international community at all levels
- Focus on
strengthening institutions especially rule of law, free media
- Focus on
foreign capital, especially for infrastructure but also foreign
direct investment generally
- Focus on
job creation and poverty reduction
track record since 2009 - blamed (partly rightly) on dysfunctional
lacks credibility - perceived as indecisive and prone to policy
- No reversal
of land reform nor indigenisation - omelettes (land) cannot be
- No political,
popular support for efforts to revert to past agricultural models,
meaning change will be evolutionary.
- Strong popular
support for sensibly-managed indigenisation.
In a country
with no opinion polling and a possibility - some would say certainty
- of intimidation and vote-rigging - no sane person, let alone economist,
would dream of trying to call the outcome. For what it is worth,
the conventional wisdom is that it will come down to the turnout.
A low turnout
favours Zanu-PF and a high one, especially if the MDC-T can get
the youth vote out - favours Morgan Tsvangirai.
- As an economist,
I cannot imagine how voters who lived through hyperinflation and
the 10-year Mugabe meltdown could give his party yet another chance,
especially given the uncertainty surrounding the succession.
the MDC-T’s disappointing track record, the election is
theirs to win, always remembering that they may not be allowed
to do so if the dark arts of vote-rigging and intimidation prevail.
Outright MDC-T victory sets the stage for annual growth in the
region of 6% yearly.
biggest loser - MMC Capital
Research, a local brokerage and advisory firm, in its recently released
quarterly market review says Zimbabwe requires consistent policies
to grow the economy. The country boasts of the second largest platinum
reserves and a high literacy rate, but remains one of the poorest
in the world. Below are excerpts from the report.
risks on the rise
economy’s three-year strong growth run is slowly losing steam
as liquidity challenges experienced in the first half of the year
choked most of the economic growth engines.
put GDP growth rate at 5% which was being rumoured to be revised
downwards by Treasury as downside risks heightened. We are of the
opinion that the projection was a bit optimistic given constraints
such as the liquidity crunch and low foreign direct investments
because of political uncertainty as well as indigenisation fears.
We, however, expect a positive growth of 3,5% which will still be
100bps above the World Bank’s 2,5% projection
an albatross around the economy’s neck
heightened in the quarter amid chaos in the constitution-making
process and conflicting calls on the elections. Although political
grandstanding remained prevalent, there seemed to be a genuine realisation
by political leaders that political dithering would not benefit
The GNU agreed
to hold elections on July 31 in the third-quarter though the dates
were contested, hence investors were given clarity as to what would
take place and when.
was the biggest loser though in all the bickering that took place
as capital avoided the real sectors of the economy and chose the
more liquid investments which are short term in nature. Foreign
portfolio flows were positive though below the previous three years’
a capital-dehydrated economy
The path to
elections resulted in populist policies being given prominence,
chief among which was the indigenisation policy. In the quarter
under review, the banking sector was the biggest loser as threats
to indigenise the sector’s biggest players left the economy
in a compromised position as credit supply was depressed.
budgeting struggling to live up to its name
In dealing with
the macroeconomic instability, Zimbabwe adopted a cash budgeting
system to manage prevailing revenue uncertainty. Revenue volatility
has remained relatively high, while government expenditure remained
skewed towards consumptive programmes.
is still the biggest casualty as the government wage bill gobbled
up more than two-thirds of total revenues. There is need to promote
consumption and aggregate demand to prop up economic growth through
current account and BOPs
of exports during the first half of 2013 was generally not pleasing,
as exports declined compared to the same period in 2012. Total exports
from January to April were $1,02 billion, which is a decrease of
about 1,2% compared to the same period in 2012.
The dismal performance
of exports was more pronounced in March 2013, where exports fell
by about 18% compared to their value in March 2012. Import performance
during Q1 2013 did not help in reducing the balance of trade deficit.
were falling, imports during the first quarter of 2013 increased
by about 4,4% to $2,63 billion compared to the same period in 2012.
This increase was largely spurred by the increase in imports in
January and March 2013, when the value of imports was higher than
the values registered in 2012.
biased towards consumption products and this in turn fuelled the
liquidity challenges as most of these funds were technically externalised
out of the economy. The widening trade deficit increased the nation’s
short-term debt resulting in deteriorating country fundamentals.
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