A top African statesman and Zanu PF ally says political bickering between the country’s two main political parties — and not sanctions — is the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil.
Delivering a public lecture at Midlands State University at the weekend, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said Zimbabwe was suffering from costs of political conflict, but had a chance to undo the losses through the window of peace created by the inclusive government formed between President Robert Mugabe (Zanu PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara of MDC-M.
“The ravages to the Zimbabwean economy wrought by the political crisis of the last 10 years have been documented by many economic and political analysts,” Chissano said.
“During the decade-long political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe key economic and social infrastructure in the country underwent considerable deterioration that left it deficient in comparison to other countries in the region that registered high levels of industrialisation during the same period.”
During his hour-long lecture, Chissano, who referred to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as his “bosom buddy”, never spoke about sanctions against Zimbabwe, but attributed socio-economic problems facing the nation to political conflict, disputes and violent elections since the formation of the MDC in 1999.
Chissano said stability had been brought to Zimbabwe following the formation of the coalition government in February last year which saw an end to price control and other policies that scared away investors.
He noted that the introduction of market- friendly and stabilisation policies by the government and the end to price controls had brought positive changes for Zimbabwe.
“These policies include the adoption of stable multiple currencies, liberalisation of the current account, removal of price controls and distortions as well as the removal of surrender requirements on exporters’ foreign exchange earnings,” he said.
“This resulted in green shoots emerging in the sector, with companies that had been operating raising their capacity thresholds while some that had closed reopened.”
Speaking at the same event, Minister of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration in the Prime Minister’s Office Sekai Holland said the GPA was the “only bus” for Zimbabweans to move forward, urging all to jump on board if they hoped to achieve peace and economic stability. Holland, who was only given the platform after many guests had left, spoke highly of her ministry which political analysts believe was doomed to fail.
“The GPA is the only bus available, so those who don’t jump onto the bus will be left by the roadside, so I call upon Zimbabweans to take heed of his excellency’s (Chissano’s) words about the cost of conflict and begin to move towards peace,” said Holland.
Her comments, however, came at a time Vice President and chairman of the Organ on National Healing John Nkomo was quoted as saying Zanu PF regretted having signed the GPA.