20 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Politburo Panics Over Economy

Ten months after ZANU PF government claimed a 'resounding electoral victory' over its opponents, President Robert Mugabe appears to be struggling to prop up the struggling economy.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the economic woes when he admitted last week before Parliament that the economy was in tatters, but blamed the rot on 'targeted sanctions' imposed on Zimbabwe over 10 years ago.

As panic sets in, the politburo has called for another meeting on Wednesday, barely two weeks after convening an extraordinary meeting to discuss the deepening crisis. A statement released by the party secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, urged all members to attend to discuss various issues.

Obert Gutu, the MDC-T spokesman for Harare province, poked fun at ZANU PF's cluelessness in dealing with the economy when he said 'rigging elections might not be an entirely impossible task but rigging the economy is a completely different ball game.'

'The chickens are coming home to roost,' said Gutu on his social networking Facebook page.

Matthew Nyashanu, a UK based political commentator who has just returned from a three week visit to Zimbabwe, told SW Radio Africa the economic collapse is accelerating, with ordinary citizens barely managing to raise enough money for their upkeep.

'If you see a government shifting pay dates for its civil servants, you must realize you are dealing with a problem that will soon escalate to a crisis.

'I have no doubt that the politburo will discuss nothing but the growing decline of the economy and try to find ways to deal with it,' Nyashanu said. Many analysts have pointed out that the problem with ZANU PF is that most of their policies do nothing to encourage an economic upturn.

Malawian journalist Ayam Maeresa said the problems in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the flawed elections held in July last year. Speaking on our weekly Speak Out Padare program on Tuesday, Maeresa said the way elections were conducted in Zimbabwe does not inspire confidence in investors.

Malawians went to the polls on Tuesday in an election in which current President Joyce Banda is facing three strong challengers. Banda came to power two years ago after the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, but her reputation has been dented by a corruption scandal, known as Cashgate, which has led donors to cut aid.

Maeresa said what might save Malawi from an economic meltdown is the transparency with which the Malawi Electoral Commission has conducted the preparations of the poll so far.

'The registration of voters has been transparent, all political parties have been given access to state media and the voters roll has been availed to all parties, unlike what transpired in Zimbabwe,' said Maeresa.

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