‘Mnangagwa could have achieved more in 100 days’
By Maxwell Sibanda
While everyone is agreed that it is impossible to measure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s achievements over a 100 days period and that his government could not do much in that short space of time to turn around Zimbabwe’s fortunes, analysts, however contend that there are basic issues he could have possibly addressed.
The analysts argue that even without external funds from international institutions, Mnangagwa’s administration should have made a difference by utilising the resources available in the country.
Political analyst MacDonald Lewanika said while he agreed that turn-arounds need money, it is not always foreign money.
“Zimbabwe is a well-endowed country in terms of natural resources, so part of the solution is better management of those resources, stemming locally initiated illicit financial flows and better prioritisation of government revenue — all of these things do not need an injection of funds from the IMF and World Bank.
“Besides our history with international financial institutions like the Bretton Woods twins (IMF and World Bank) taught us that their support is often a poisoned chalice bringing with it job loses, privatisation and decrepit poverty for the working class.
“So I hope as a country, we know what we are yearning for when we place our hopes of recovery on IMF interventions which sometime inject economic viruses rather than cures.
“Let’s exhaust our internal options and manage better that which is ours and what we have control over before we start looking for external salvation,” said Lewanika.
Crisis Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo said Zimbabwe should disabuse itself from the thinking that the world owes it in a way for its self-destructive policies.
“Money follows clearly defined proposals and frameworks that guarantee return on investment. One effects a military coup, it’s no ticket to unlocking money globally.
“This is reality sinking for the military-backed establishment. The government should define a competitive economic recovery strategy, utilising the little that it has and show that it has a plan rather than preaching we are open for business . . . the president should move away from easy generalisations and enter the complex world of specifics. When that happens, you then get a clear direction of where the country is headed,” said Moyo.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme believes there are many things that could have changed in the first 100 days.
“He could have appointed a leaner Cabinet of 16 ministers and no deputies; he could have ensured 50 percent of the Cabinet are women and include other special groups such as the disabled, religious leaders and youth; he could have ensured a smaller military budget and bigger health and education budgets; he could have launched a serious and impartial anti-corruption drive; he could have carried a proper civil service staff audit; he could have adjusted monetary and fiscal policies to allow banks to be able to give depositors larger withdrawals; he could have instituted electoral reforms; he could have hastened alignment of laws to the Constitution; he could have removed Posa and Aippa; he could have ensured soldiers don’t usurp police work . . . all these he did not need foreign funds injection.”
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said in terms of funds to support Zimbabwe’s development, which would be a culmination of drawn-out plans and consistent implementation of both political and economic reforms.
“We must also realise that whatever the public grandstanding by everyone from Zimbabwe, AU to the international community, the lingering whisper is the question of the government’s legitimacy. That can only be cured by the next election,” said Gwede.
He added though that on the 100 days, ED did not outline clearly what his administration wanted to achieve and as such the assessment of success is by and large guesswork and opportunistic.
“However, a look at the fundamental problems in people’s lives shows that they persist in terms of unemployment, cash shortages, and inadequate remuneration of government workers, lack of drugs in hospitals, demonstrations for better education in universities and lack of definite end to corruption.”
Politician and lawyer Obert Gutu said what Zimbabwe needs, and needs very, very badly, is trade and not aid.
“This notion that the national economy will only be kick-started by a massive financial injection from the Bretton Woods institutions is absolute nonsense, total unadulterated rubbish.
“We have got more than enough natural and human resources in this country to trigger a massive economic revolution.
“All we need is to send out the right political signals that we are on the path of political stability as well as to respect the rule of law and property rights. Capital is a coward. It will never flow to markets where it feels threatened and vandalised,” said Gutu.
He added that IMF and World Bank bail-out packages are certainly not the solution. “We can effectively stimulate both domestic and foreign direct investment by stabilising our sociopolitical environment, by holding free and fair elections and also genuinely clamping down on rampant corruption.
“ . . . Mnangagwa’s first 100 days in office have been a spectacular and dramatic flop. ED has been extremely long on promises and awkwardly short on delivery. The markets are watching. They always undertake their own independent due diligence. The markets are not going to be seduced by cheap political talk and grandstanding.
“They demand real, concrete action. So far, nothing fundamental has changed from the way Robert Mugabe used to run the business of the State. The script is basically the same albeit with different actors.”
Social analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “To his credit Mnangagwa has said all the right things and has done well to meet leaders of not only Africa but the larger international community and investors.
“This is a good starting point. However, nothing much has changed for the citizens in terms of improved public service, access to money, respect for human rights, and alignment of old laws to the new Constitution.
“Some of the quick wins that Mnangagwa has ignored but that really tell the story of change is the need to repeal some laws that include Aippa, . . . these do not need money, but the stroke of the pen.”
Mukundu said he would not expect much to change in 100 days, but the effect of the change process must be felt by all, so far change remains a buzzword which is not catching up with the rest. Daily News