Chinamasa ought to choose pragmatism over populism

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has a delicate balancing act to perform today when he presents the national budget, as he has to choose between populism and pragmatism.

For decades now, successive Zanu PF Finance ministers have chosen to sacrifice pragmatism at the altar of sanctimony and this has had disastrous consequences for the Zimbabwean economy.

Chinamasa has been portrayed as somewhat of a maverick, who went against his former boss, Robert Mugabe’s wishes and twice he got his fingers burnt, but now he has the perfect chance to show who he really is.

As somewhat of a reformer, Chinamasa argued twice against bonuses and called for the cutting of allowances for civil servants among a host of reforms and we wait to see if he is that brave to make similar proposals.

The new administration only has eight months to impress and the question is whether they will throw caution to the wind and implement reforms or they will be too scared to rock the boat.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has for long been portrayed as someone who has an ear for business and he and his Finance minister have a chance to show this when the budget is announced.

The budgetary problems facing Zimbabwe are not new, they relate to the growing budget deficit, an unhealthy appetite for government spending and the suicidal dependence on Treasury Bills.

The civil service wage bill is also unsustainable and there is need for the government to act on this, no matter how unpopular.

Thus, Chinamasa will have to walk a tightrope, where he is likely to be criticised no matter what he does.

If he chooses austerity, cuts bonuses and allowances and fires ghost workers, this government could be shortlived and faces the ignominy of defeat at the next elections.

On the other hand, if he chooses populism, pays bonuses and does not implement any changes, then he will have a happy civil service, but tinkering on the brink and it will also show the world that Zimbabwe is not serious about economic reforms.

It is an unenviable task, but one that must be done nonetheless.

It will be the biggest signpost of this administration’s policy directive and it is one that potential investors will be eyeing very closely.

Thus, Chinamasa must know that Zimbabweans and the world are watching closely and this could determine the country’s immediate future.


  1. Fairness is what the budget should reflect.Chinamasa with the right forward looking policies at times he lacks fairness.Pensioners contributed and now struggling to get their monthly pensions becoz of a poor RBZ.Poor on performance.Some contributed in Hard currency but now shortchanged .This is not how they contributed.They paid religiously but now they get a raw deal from their own children running gvt.Whites moved their receiving accounts to SA. Poor old blacks can’t do that.So Fairness Mr chinamasa.Where is the love to be found if your own gvt feels nothing for me an old woman who paid my for my pension? I can’t get it on time and its valueless bond notes yougive me after sleeping at the doorstep for my money.Where is my present value of my contributions let alone the future value? Did iI not slave for my money? Now I’m a nuesance at your banks.FAIRNESS PLEASE.

    1. MORE GHOST WORKERS PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. ONLY 3,739 GHOST WORKERS REMOVED ????????????????????????????????


  2. I am not expecting too much from this guy and i would rather wait and comment after the presentation of the usual budget which must not be different from others.

  3. Alipejo Million.

    Comment… The govt always say they don’t have money to fund this n this. I think they have already learnt from the past. The new Prsident should cut travel n entourage expenses , say no to Gost workers ,close unpeforming govt entities in form of parastatals say no bonuses if no growth in economy realised. No to patronage. 1+1=11 not 11 thats economics.

  4. Comment…mbavha iyi muchaona tichaenda kumba kwake kunotora mari now atone mazakwatira e mari tichapinda zvedu ma G40 revenge is sour

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