The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) takes notice of the continued re-engagement efforts between the government of Zimbabwe and its creditors, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB), which are aimed at clearing $1,8 billion arrears on Zimbabwe’s debt pursuant to the Lima agreement.
Willias Madzimure PDP Secretary for International Relations
As we rightly declared in the Mandel Declaration of 2014, we believe Zimbabwe’s discussions with the IMF, World Bank and other creditors on the question of debt should be concluded soon to allow Zimbabwe access to funds that should be used to address the infrastructural challenges we face.
Therefore, as the PDP we firmly believe in the principle of re-engagement. However, we hold that such engagement must be undertaken in an environment of mutual trust, honesty and be inclusive of all the critical social and political actors.
In our view, Parliament must play a critical role as the representative of the people, civil society must be given space to input into the process and labour must also be involved to represent the interests of the workers who, after all, will pay the debt through their taxes.
Furthermore, any re-engagement must take into account critical reforms in the political and economic environment. It would be futile to give a bail-out to Zanu PF without due consideration of the prevailing political volatility characterised by continued human rights violations and total disregard of the rule of law as well as general economic decay.
More critically on the political front, the Zanu PF government is in transition from President Robert Mugabe and there has been an outbreak of unprecedented catfights for power which have destabilised the government.
Thus, for any serious engagement to bear fruits, there is need for stability which is an ingredient Zanu PF does not have for now and going into the future. Under the circumstances, re-engagement is futile.
On the economic front, the government payroll is still burden by over 250 000 ghost workers who were recruited ahead of the contested 2013 general election.
The government is failing to maintain a primary balance of accounts and is spending more than it is earning using toxic Treasury bills to sustain its avid appetite to spend. Recently State resources to the tune of $500 000 were poured into Mugabe’s $800 000 birthday bash.
Land grabs continue unabated with the government recently gazetting 15 pieces of land. The State has not yet set up a land commission as required by the Constitution to put a closure to the land question and begin to push for productivity as well as ensuring security of tenure through proper issuing of title deeds to those resettled.
Parastatals continue to be an albatross consuming government revenue as they continue to post huge losses yet the government has proved to be unwilling to reform their operations.
The irony is actually that while the State-owned entities are making huge losses, including the State-run mobile telecommunication company NetOne, the State recently acquired another mobile telecoms company, Telecel, which is for all intents and purposes a junk company.
What all this shows is that Zanu PF is not sincere in its engagement and it would be foolhardy for any institution to take them seriously.
As PDP, we remain clear on the route to another Zimbabwe as set out in our policy blueprints HOPE and ARREST.