THE recent attacks on opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in Masvingo and Mutare by Zanu PF activists has once again put President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and further threaten the country’s ability to lure foreign direct investment.
The skirmishes coincided with the 10-day visit by United Nations Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan, who is on a mission to assess the impact of Western sanctions on the southern African country.
Chamisa’s convoy and aides were physically attacked by known ruling party supporters who were waving placards, accusing the opposition leader of inviting sanctions on the country. They were backed by members of the police.
The MDC Alliance also revealed that Chamisa’s vehicle was impounded by the police in Rusape amid threats of arresting the passengers and driver.
As these attacks on a key political player continue, the world is watching and this includes potential investors for whom stability is key in deciding where to set up shop.
Such hooliganism only serves to repel investment for a country whose foreign direct investment has plunged from US$717 million in 2018 to under US$150 million last year.
Such actions are in stark contrast to the claim by Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is open for business.
A Southern Africa Outlook survey earlier this year by American financial services firm Fitch Solutions showed that Zimbabwe still has the highest short- and long-term risk in southern Africa due to continued decline of the country’s political and economic situation.
The survey showed that even strife-torn Mozambique had a better score than Zimbabwe with 51,7 and 43,1 on the short-term political and economic risk indexes while on the long-term it was 49,8 and 43,8, respectively.
Efforts by government to lure investment through the setting up of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency to improve the ease of doing business will be futile given such incidents of violence.
Capital is a coward and it will not flow into places where acts of barbarism are the order of the day.
Zimbabwe has perennially scored badly as a safe investment destination mainly because of such behaviour.
Investment and violence are like oil and water, the two do not mix and the sooner Mnangagwa’s government realises this the better.