EDITORIAL COMMENT: Something is rotten in the state of Zimbabwe

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Something is rotten in the state of Zimbabwe
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

LAST week’s unprecedented statement by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his suspected poisoning at a ZANU-PF political rally stunned many.
It showed how dysfunctional both the ruling party and government have become.
Even President Robert Mugabe’s staunchest supporters would be hard pressed to argue that he is still in control of his party and government.
Deep divisions, now regularly playing out in public, have created an unhealthy state of affairs within the ruling party, government and, by extension, in the nation.
Since regaining full power after the 2013 election, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have failed to govern with the decisiveness of a government with an overwhelming mandate is expected to.
Instead, the ruling party has been convulsing since the last election, showing itself to be completely out of step with the deep problems facing the generality of the population. The government has come up woefully short when called to fix the ailing economy.
Faced with this reality, ZANU-PF has reverted to default mode — conflict.
Like the mythical Roman emperor, those in charge of Zimbabwe’s public affairs prefer to fiddle, nay feud, while the country burns.
The consequences of this dereliction of duty are there for all to see; fading economic growth, accelerated job losses, resurgent inflation, a forex and currency crisis, among others.
However, of growing concern is the threat of instability, hitherto limited to whispers among those given to political conspiracies, which now looms large after the events of the past month.
That a whole vice president finds it necessary to publicly exonerate the President, and his family, of attempted murder, is not a trivial matter.
The cloak-and-dagger manoeuvres around Mugabe’s succession, which have now taken a dark medieval tinge, would not ordinarily interest us beyond base entertainment.
But this is clearly no longer a laughing matter.
Political uncertainty levies a huge cost on the economy. The real threat of instability exacts an even higher price.
The cost of money that Zimbabwean banks, business and households have to do with is among the highest in the world, thanks in no small part to the effect of political uncertainty on overall country risk.
The country has also fallen behind its regional peers in terms of foreign direct investment, with investors put off by risk.
The ongoing surge of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, misread by some as wholly positive, has elicited understandable apprehension among the sagacious. The rally does not reflect robust underlying fundamentals. It points to a deep malady.
Panicky investors, in flight from inflation, have been driving the market since the final quarter of 2016, after government introduced bond notes last November.
That the Old Mutual share price is trading 70 percent higher on the local exchange than it is in London and Johannesburg tells a story.
Without being alarmist, 2017 has started to feel a lot like 2007, with 2018 promising to be a version of 2008, Zimbabwe’s annus horibilis when the Old Mutual price helped calculate the real exchange rate.
These are the worst possible circumstances for a country whose government is distracted by a power struggle.

  • Shumba

    Even with no Power Struggles back then, ZANU PF never gave us anything close to good Governance. It was looting from day one. This struggle only brings out one thing into the open, there in nothing of substance to loot now. ZANU PF and Good Governance will never coexist.

    • gerro

      Shungu dzekuda zvinhu..situpeti.

  • Daddy va Natsie

    Suprised that you are only smelling the rot now!

  • Sawubonafish

    What is sad is anyone thought the ZANU PF govt has ever been competent. Right for 1980, all these people have been doing is tax and spend. If you think that kind of governance is sustainable, I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Idiot

    WhWhere’s a Tsafendas when you need one?

Connect With Us

Fingaz Polls

Kaylite ban: Is is justifiable?