ZANU PF supporters have strongly warned the party of impending electoral defeat in the 2023 general election and accused some of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s deployees in government, particularly Finance minister Mthuli Ncube (pictured), of failing to address economic challenges while behaving as if they are sabotaging him.
Zanu PF supporters corner RBZ and ministers over failure
The Zanu PF officials who gathered at the Harare provincial offices on Wednesday said the economic situation had worsened on Ncube’s watch in the last four years. Some officials suggested that former finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had performed better, despite being a lawyer and not an economist.
The irate supporters and officials accused Ncube of failing to deal with a troubled economy and always peddling explanations instead of delivering results to a restless society that is likely to vent its anger by voting against the ruling party in the next election.
The meeting on economic affairs was attended by national commissar Mike Bimha and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials. The central bank officials came under fire, with Zanu PF officials and supporters accusing them of failing to arrest the runaway inflation and exchange rate volatility, an indication that they have failed in fulfilling their mandate.
Zanu PF provincial secretary for economic affairs Blessing Chimanga, whose department organised the meeting, said Harare needed proper development if the ruling party entertained any hopes of winning. He warned saboteurs , accusing them of endangering the party.
“While others in different provinces depend on mining, agriculture and so on, in Harare we depend on employment and businesses. Without all that, we are not safe,” Chimanga said.
“We hope to have answers for all those questions we are grappling with. If the economy remain unwell, we will have no joy as a party in Harare. Reasons for this mess are so many. We had a central bank official who clearly did not have answers for a number of problems raised here.
“In 2017, the rate was 1:1. The United States dollar and the black market were at 1:2 when Patrick Chinamasa was the Finance minister. When a professor of economics came in, Minister Mthuli Ncube, the exchange rate now is embarrassingly high.
“In October, there was over US$1 billion which was said to be from the US. Professor Ncube came and told us the money will stabilise the exchange rate and prices. He told us the money was credited, but rates continue to soar.”
He said under the prevailing economic circumstances it would be difficult for the province to per form well.
“Today, you cannot buy bread. How do you expect us to perform well as a party when the economy of Harare is not well?” Chimanga asked.
“The party deployees in government, some of them, act as if they don’t care and close markets at will, yet they know it’s a huge source of livelihood.
“We have people like (Provincial Affairs and Devolution) permanent secretary Tafadzwa) Muguti who came here and told us that markets would be opened, but up to now there is nothing. He now behaves like our boss and we are his subjects. The President is up and down trying to show his appointees how to do things, but they do not learn.
“We have roads courtesy of the President, investors come in daily, we have seen his work ethic but we feel those appointed are sabotaging the President.
“When the son of God came, he had a big job at hand and he chose disciples to work with. One of the disciples he chose sold him out.”
Zanu PF supporters present during the indaba quizzed the director Economic Research and Policy in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe John Mafararikwa whom they accused of not proffering solutions to the troubled economy.
The supporters also questioned why the central bank continues to give banks money while the cash shortages persist, with cash mainly in the streets.
Mafararikwa said Zimbabwe was a country rich in resources and ideally should not be struggling had it not been for those buying foreign currency for speculative purposes. He blamed the economic crisis on many challenges, including sanctions, saying all fundamentals were in place.
“We have no total control over the exchange rate. It is controlled by the owners of the commodity being sold. The foreign exchange rate can be manipulated by those who control and own it,” he said.
He said it was baffling that although Zimbabwe generates billions of United States dollars, the Zimdollar continued weakening.
“There is no basis that the exchange rate continues to go up from time to time. They say the RBZ is buying foreign currency, others say it is government, but that is not the case. There are others buying foreign currency just to keep at home. Others do it for speculative purposes,” Mafararikwa said.
“Others said if the currency is like this, is it not good to adopt the US dollar, citing the 2009 comparisons. There is nothing wrong with thinking like that, but you will re alise there is nothing good in using foreign currency as we lose our economic sovereignty.
“We cannot run a budget on a currency that is not yours and which you cannot control.”
Chimanga however questioned the authority of the central bank that continues to blame others for its failed policies.
“Why blame those outside? Don’t you have authority as the central bank? Are you saying speculators now have authority over the economy?” Chimanga quizzed.
A Zanu PF member present accused the central bank official of “saying nothing in many words” while conceding failure as the RBZ to execute their mandate.
“What are you telling us here? Coming to tell us that you have failed, yet you have the keys and the President gave you powers. Why behave like this?”
In response, Mafararikwa said: “There is a portion we cannot control in the economy as a matter of policy and there is a portion we can control. It is not a result of bad government policies but speculative attacks and behaviours by agents involved in corruption and direct manipulation of currency.”
Questions continued to pour for the central bank officials with supporters asking why they were dishing out money to banks that finds its way into the parallel market.
“You give money to banks and, while you do that, people have no cash, yet that same cash finds its way into the streets. Why give money to banks that end in the streets if you are not involved in the scandal?”
Ncube has been subjected to immense criticism from many quarters, including within Zanu PF, with senior party officials fearing his “austerity measures” will cost the party in next year’s general election.
Members of Parliament on Wednesday also quizzed Ncube on the rapidly deteriorating quality of life in Zimbabwe. Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya said: “The question is that in view of the dwindling levels of the quality of life where poverty is on the increase, what is the new strategy under which the minister may be able to announce to Parliament which can give confidence to the citizens that the government is able to provide solutions with regards to the current economic challenges which we are facing?”
Opposition MPs were not convinced with Ncube’s explanation and accused him of lying, saying he had no solutions for the troubled economy.