…MPs summon Ncube over inflation
……as Zanu PF fears electoral loss
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is fretting over the possibility of losing the 2023 elections at a time Zanu PF members of Parliament say launching a serious campaign for themselves and their leader will this time be difficult due to the failing economy.
In the last few weeks, Mnangagwa has taken every opportunity when addressing party officials to express concern over so-called saboteurs whom he fears are throwing spanners in his 2023 re-election agenda.
This also comes as stakeholders including civil society, students and public servants are plotting a nationwide shutdown in protest over a myriad of issues including the transport crisis, school fees challenges and general economic decay that has eroded people’s confidence in the Mnangagwa administration.
Zanu PF insiders said the plotted shutdown, the economic crisis and failure to deliver on 2018 promises was disastrous for the party, particularly ahead of the elections, hence Mnangagwa’s discomfort.
Those close to Mnangagwa fear he is being sabotaged from within ahead of the party’s elective congress in December at which Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga may challenge for the top post.
MPs have since summoned Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to address Parliament on the state of the economy. The legislators want Ncube to explain the challenges the country is facing as well as proffer solutions.
They are particularly worried about inflation which has led to prices of goods and services skyrocketing.
This comes as MPs also want to summon Mnangagwa to Parliament through a motion, to speak on the failure by his government to curb corruption that is rampant in the public sector, leading to the country losing billions of dollars.
Mnangagwa has accused saboteurs of causing economic distortions as he fears the resultant hardships will work against him ahead of 2023.
Glen View North MP (Citizens’ Coalition for Change) Fani Munengami told the National Assembly on Wednesday that inflation is haunting the country and the minister must address the nation on the government’s failure to address the crisis.
“As I am speaking, inflation is (pushing up the parallel market exchange rate to) ZW$500 against the US dollar, which means that our livelihood as Zimbabwe, all things will go up,” Munengami said.
“There is nothing valuable that we can buy for our livelihoods. Our cry is that if we can have a statement from the minister of Finance and Economic Development on the way forward to alleviate our situation so that our dollar will not continue to be devalued.”
“As I am speaking, if you want to buy a loaf of bread it is now costing ZW$400. Honourable Tendai Biti is saying it is actually ZW$500 which means I was lagging behind. So it is very difficult to survive,” Munengami said.
Added Munengami: “Even boarding a kombi to get into town, it is very difficult. If this trend continues, we do not know what it will be in weeks to come — probably it will be at ZW$1 000. My plea is, may the minister of Finance come and give a statement on how we can stabilise our dollar before it gets worse.”
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda turned to Ncube and said the issue of the runaway exchange rate, particularly on the parallel market, was a cause for concern.
“…and the request is if you could make a ministerial statement. A statement to indicate to the House what measures government is putting in place to arrest the situation.”
Responding to the request, Ncube said he will make the ministerial statement next week.
“I will give the ministerial statement next week Thursday,” Ncube told the MPs.
Zanu PF MPs and those aspiring for seats in urban constituencies who spoke to The NewsHawks on separate occasions this week expressed fear of losing the 2023 elections, citing myriad challenges the party has failed to deliver on.
Sitting MPs and the aspiring candidates pointed at the issues of runaway inflation, public transport crisis and corruption as some of the challenges Mnangagwa and his party will have to confront ahead of the polls due in July next year.
“In some urban areas, the government has done well in road rehabilitation and pointing fingers at the opposition local authorities. That was bound to be a good strategy, but it counts for nothing when the central government led by Zanu PF now fails to address the issue on the public transport system,” a party official said.
Zanu PF has also been accused of failing to address challenges faced by those in their rural strongholds who are also bearing the brunt of a collapsed economy.
On Monday, MPs said there was reason to move a motion to have Mnangagwa address Parliament on corruption that finds itself rooted in government and among the Zanu PF elites. They accused the Zimbabwean leader of failing to address the scourge, with some members of his family implicated in scandals.
Several cases of corruption have been exposed in Zimbabwe, including the Draxgate scandal that led to the arrest of former Health minister Obadiah Moyo but, like many others, he walked away scot free.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust meeting, MPs said Mnangagwa should clearly state his position on corruption if he is sincere in fighting the menace.
“When you go through these reports you ask why we then pass these budgets. When the recommendations to these reports are not done, it means the President is presiding over a dysfunctional government, a corrupt government,” Norton member of Parliament Temba Mliswa said.
“The Auditor-General’s office is critical in interrogation and everything is pointing to the negative. What will be good is to invite the President through a motion in Parliament so that he responds to why his government is not implementing recommendations from Parliament through several committees.”
Mliswa said poverty and poor remuneration of civil servants were also fuelling corruption in public institutions and called on for the government to act in addressing the civil servants’ devastated livelihoods.
Civil servants have gone for years locked up in serious fights with the government over salaries.
The government workers are demanding a minimum monthly salary of US$540, which is equivalent to what they used to earn pre-October 2018.
Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s office has exposed rampant corruption in ministries, the public and private sector, but no action has been taken to deal with the menace.