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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
PF's dizzy policy spin
Mail and Guardian (SA)
November 22, 2013
Zanu-PF is trying to
mend its bad-boy image by reforming its policies and softening hardline
policy positions. But analysts say many are suspicious of its intentions
and it may take time for business and other sectors to warm up to
party won the July poll, a number of its ministers have made
significant policy shifts.
First was Media, Information
and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo's engagement with
the private media, nearly a decade after he oversaw the closure
of private newspapers and radio stations.
Moyo, who during
his previous tenure steered the repressive Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, also surprised
media campaigners by criticising criminal defamation law and calling
for its scrapping on grounds that it tramples on media freedoms.
Moyo is moving to set
the national broadcaster straight (See "Moyo orders audit,
fires board of ZBC").
Justice and Parliamentary
Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the party's secretary
for legal affairs, has also criticised the death sentence, saying
it must be scrapped from the country's statutes.
also confirmed that he instructed all government ministries on the
need to realign all laws under their aegis with the new Constitution
that grants citizens greater liberties, with a list of 87 pieces
of legislation provisionally being on the priority list.
Before elections, the
department of youth, indigenisation and empowerment, then under
Saviour Kasukuwere, was accused of scaring foreign investors by
threatening to seize shareholding in foreign firms that did not
give 51% of the business to indigenous Zimbabweans.
But now, under new minister
Francis Nhema, the drive has been watered down with a pronouncement
that all empowerment deals are being reviewed. Nhema also said certain
sectors such as banks may be spared by his ministry. Only mining
would be subjected to the 51% ownership for locals, the rest of
the sectors would negotiate different thresholds.
Policy changes are also
ringing in the agriculture and land sector after the government's
haphazard land resettlement reform that is blamed for reducing Zimbabwe's
food output and quickening its economic collapse.
Joseph Made said that, though the government would support farmers
this year, the thinking was that beyond that they should start to
stand on their own rather than being a continuous drain on the fiscus
by waiting for free fertiliser and seeds from the government.
In equal measure, Lands
Minister Douglas Mombeshora withdrew previous offer letters that
were given to occupants of farms. His ministry is in the process
of issuing new ones in a bid to ensure transparency and flush out
owners of multiple farms - a problem that critics of the land reform
programme often point out.
He has also ordered a
stop to any new farm invasions, and says that all those who are
allocated land must reside on the land.
the biggest and most reassuring factor after Zanu-PF's victory was
its announcement that, although it acquired a two-thirds majority
that enables it to change the Constitution, it has no immediate
plans to do so.
That move is perhaps
an indication of restraint on the part of Zanu-PF, which previously
expressed opposition to certain constitutional clauses that were
included in the charter as a compromise with the Movement for Democratic
The 2014 budget, which
was expected to be tabled in Parliament this month, was also postponed,
and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he needed to carry out
more consultations, a departure from a party that is known to impose
One blemish, however,
has stood out since the elections – the attempt to demolish
illegal homes. But even that has been put on hold as senior party
members oppose the move.
In an interview
this week, Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party was
fulfilling its election manifesto.
Analysts said it was
not surprising that Zanu-PF was choosing to reform in certain aspects
because it realises that its own performance and not the opposition
is now its greatest threat.
Political analyst Ricky
Mukonza said the move by these ministers to embrace some democratic
principles suggest a change of direction by Zanu-PF.
"The possible explanation
why we are seeing these developments is that Zanu-PF might have
realised that it cannot continue with the radical approach that
characterised the implementation of both the land reform and the
indigenisation policies. In some way, this would be a tacit admission
that these policies are not sustainable beyond election sloganeering,"
Rashweat Mukundu, the
director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said the party also
had its eye on it taking over the Southern African Development Community
chairmanship next year where it has to be seen to be exemplary.
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