Zimbabwean Economy continues to decline under Zanu PF leadership by Tafadzwa Chivaura, MDC UK and Ireland Provincial Youth Treasurer.

It is shockingly sad  that Zanu PF has plunged Zimbabwe into hopelessness. Since the last 40 years, we have witnessed the decline of the country under Zanu PF leadership. Quite frankly, our country is ruled by people who are not committed to change. The policies that are implemented by the government are born out of Zanu-centric ideology at the expense of economic expediency, this has resulted in the creation of a system that has left the majority of Zimbabweans in abject poverty.

During the period 2003 to 2008, there was hyper-inflation in the country that completely destroyed the local currency. This was caused by the actions of the (Pro-Zanu PF) former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe – Dr Gideon Gono who ignored the advice of the Global Economists of not printing large quantities of money. The Reserve Bank Governor went with his plans because he had the support of the late former President Robert Mugabe. Dr Gideon Gono’s monetary policies resulted in a run-away inflation where citizens had to carry cash in suitcases for their daily groceries. As more and more zeroes were added to the bank balances, the Governor realised he had to double dip into citizens forex savings account converting all forex balances into the local currency. Thus invariably, replacing good money with bad money. Despite being the brains behind the most successful and largest bank in the country; the Commercial bank Of Zimbabwe (CBZ), Dr Gideon Gono’s monetary policies were unpalatable to foreign investors and they sank the economy into a financial depression that left devastating consequences to the citizens. His turnaround strategies failed to yield any positive economic changes in the country but only helped in pursuing a populist Zanu PF agenda. The policies that he implemented only benefited the ZANU PF elites who were the biggest financiers to the foreign currency exchange dealers in the black market.

We also noticed that during the late former President Robert Mugabe’s era, there was a conflict of interest in the role of the current Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor – Dr John Mangudya who also provided huge loans to Zanu PF politicians. This corrupt system continues to happen even under the leadership of Emmerson Mnangagwa. The policies and practices of the Reserve Bank Governor favoured Zanu PF elites who had unfettered access to the country’s foreign currency reserves, and this resulted in the shortage of foreign currency in the country. This gross mismanagement, corruption and incompetence have prejudiced the country of billions of US dollars and  left the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in shambles and has subsequently resulted in the high cost of living, poor health service delivery and preventable deaths.

In the so-called new dispensation; we witnessed the appointment of Professor Mthuli Ncube as the Minister of Finance. When people heard that the Oxford Professor had been offered this role, many people were happy and under the impression he was going to turn around the economy. What followed shocked the citizens, within a few months of assuming his role, Professor Mthuli Ncube immediately implemented a policy that was unfavourable to the majority of poor Zimbabweans. He created a policy which converted the people’s foreign currency accounts into Zimbabwean dollar accounts, and this again resulted in citizens losing their life savings and investments. The policy was fully backed by Emmerson Mnangagwa and his surrogates. Professor Mthuli Ncube and Emmerson Mnangagwa then travelled around the world preaching that reverting to the Zimbabwean dollar currency was a way of curbing the cash shortages in the country.

After converting the foreign currency bank accounts into the Zimbabwe dollar bank accounts, Professor Mthuli Ncube further introduced the 2% transaction tax policy to milk the already suffering citizens. This tax policy was part of the government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme that resulted in the skyrocketing of prices of basic goods and services. The former Minister of Finance – Hon Tendai Biti challenged this policy in court and the High Court ruled in his favour. But surprisingly, Professor Mthuli Ncube remained obdurate by issuing a statement in which he stated that the tax will still be paid despite the court’s ruling. In his statement, Professor Mthuli Ncube argued that this is because the Statutory Instrument 205/2018 was validated under the Finance Act by the Parliament. This clearly shows that the learned Professor has joined the band of greedy Zanu PF politicians who run the economy through illegitimate regularities and care less for the majority of citizens.

Zanu PF’s policies have caused negative redistribution effects on the economy and have left the majority of citizens with meagre fluctuating incomes that are declining on daily basis. The fiscal consolidation widened the already high-income inequality in the country and has resulted in worsened social distress on the majority of Zimbabweans. This is a clear strategy used by Zanu PF to create as much poverty as possible so that they will then tour around the country (especially in rural areas) dishing out food aid using the taxpayer resources so that they look good in the eyes of the rural folks. This system has caused devastating effects to the citizens in which almost everyone has now become a beggar.

The only alternative to come out of this mess is for the people of Zimbabwe to never allow a party (Zanu PF) that cannibalises and mauls its own kith and kin, to get anywhere close to power. In order to achieve this, there should be extensive campaigning in rural areas in which people should be educated about the importance of their vote. Strong opposition structures should be set up to ensure continued protection of the rural voters so that there is less intimidation from Zanu PF hooligans. The opposition forces should come together and fight for one common cause of completely removing the authoritarian system that was created by Zanu PF. Every citizen should be brave and continue to peacefully stage continuous demonstrations to demand political reforms from the entrenched Zanu PF government that has subjected us to 40 years of unrelenting and ruthless suppression.

It is now high time for the grassroot movements to join hands with the people’s largest movement (MDC) to constitutionally oust the incompetent Zanu PF regime that has inflicted untold suffering on the majority of the hard-working citizen.

Tafadzwa Chivaura, MDC UK and Ireland Provincial Youth Treasurer.