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Newsday Editorial: Stop political games

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Most organisations operating in Zimbabwe have virtually been stuck on pause over the past few months, adopting a wait-and-see attitude before taking any giant leaps in whatever they want to do.

Newsday Editorial

These include companies, most of which have resorted to short-term planning — an unhealthy situation in the corporate world. Activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was subdued as investors also proceeded with caution.

This was largely due to the posturing by the various political players, especially by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, on the issue of elections. Mugabe is on record as saying the coalition government had become dysfunctional and there was need to end it so that a political party with the mandate from the people could single-handedly form the next government.

For the past two years this became a song sounding like a broken record.

Of late Mugabe and his cronies have been politicking that elections will have to be held by June 29 this year when the life of Parliament expires. This has virtually plunged Zimbabwe into a morass of confusion as the two MDCs in the coalition government disagreed with this reading of the law. Obviously, the effect of this was to create an unhealthy air of uncertainty.

But this has had the effect of deterring potential direct foreign investment coupled, of course, with the economic indigenisation agenda which in the manner it is crafted makes Zimbabwe a monster as an investment destination. As an investment destination, it has become like a lion in a cage at a zoo whose entrance is wide open. Who will dare enter?

During the first quarter of this year, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority approved projects worth a paltry $13 million compared to $136 million during the same period last year.

The stance adopted by securocrats of threatening not to salute MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai even if he were to be given a mandate to become the next President of Zimbabwe added to the confusion. Although judging by the look of things this has been mere posturing, it obviously sent shockwaves to many who started asking themselves: Why have elections then?

Even bodies like the European Union which have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe could not pursue a blanket removal of the measures preferring to carry out an incremental exercise and see how the politics relating to holding of the elections play themselves out.

However, with the signing of the draft constitution into law on Wednesday by Mugabe, we hope this signals the beginning of a new era where things will be done according to the new charter with clear time frames.

We, therefore, implore the political gladiators to stop their political games at the expense of all Zimbabweans and stand guided by the new basic law in setting various national processes like elections in motion.

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