Letters: ED needs to reform for Zim to get out of the woods

0
316
Letters to the editor

ED needs to reform for Zim to get out of the woods
EMMERSON Mnangagwa’s post-Robert Mugabe regime seems to be more concerned about consolidating power than taking steps to open up the economy.

To that end, Mnangagwa appointed as his deputy, former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga, the man who orchestrated the 2017 coup and brought him to power.

Further, Mnangagwa announced the arrest of ministers — Walter Mzembi (Foreign Affairs), Samuel Undenge (Energy) and Ignatius Chombo (Finance) — who supported Grace Mugabe’s bid to take over the presidency.

They were charged with criminal abuse of office.

Mnangagwa ruled out any possible coalition with the late opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was fighting colon cancer.

Instead, he offered to help Tsvangirai with his medical bills.

At the height of the coup, the military manned police checkpoints.

This continued to happen even way after the coup as fears mounted that there were possible pockets of resistance.

To make things worse, soldiers are better paid than police officers and are perceived to be less venal with respect to bribes and shakedowns.

Mnangagwa’s supposed break from Mugabe was in his steps to revive Zimbabwe’s collapsed economy.

To that end, he sought international investment and loans from international financial institutions.

To seemingly bolster international confidence, he took the path of returning seized farms to
whites.

The Mugabe ban on foreign ownership of Zimbabwean assets has also been lifted — partially.

Nevertheless, Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are both notorious for violating human rights while serving as Mugabe’s “enforcers,” most notably in the early 1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and during the 2008 re-run election.

Chiwenga’s elevation to Vice-President was a signal that little had changed in the character of Zimbabwe’s leadership.

In the short term, Mnangagwa’s strategy of economic liberalisation while maintaining Mugabe’s illiberal political system (despite some new faces at the top) was supposed to work, but has since failed.

He needs to reform most government institutions if he is to get support in his re-election bid in next year’s polls, as international opinion is pressuring him to do so.-John


Farm mechanisation will help improve food output

IN a continent that suffers from a food crisis every other year, little emphasis has been placed on mechanising the farming business in Africa.

Agriculture employs a considerable proportion of the African population and contributes a sizeable portion of the continent’s gross domestic product.

In a study issued earlier this year, the Global Hunger Initiative stated that 45 million people in 43 African nations risked starvation.

Food availability has long been recognised as a crucial factor in achieving long-term economic success.

Economic growth is only sustainable if all nations are food secure.

Without a country-owned and led food security policy, global, regional, and national economic growth will face challenges and additional expenses.

Food is seen as essential to the emotional and physical well-being of people in any community.

As a result, any food-insecure society is likely to suffer major human capital issues and, as a result, growth challenges.

Therefore, for that reason, eradicating malnutrition was a vital goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and remains a crucial goal of the more recently proposed Sustainable Development Goals.

Conflict, COVID-19 and climate change have all contributed to the creation of new and worsening hunger hotspots, as well as the reversal of progress gained by families to escape poverty.

The Ukraine conflict is exacerbating food poverty in several African nations that rely on Russian and Ukrainian supplies of wheat, sunflower oil, fertiliser, fuel, and gas.

Sanctions, port closures, and delayed production and supply are pushing up food, energy, and transportation prices, resulting in food shortages and cost of living rises that are especially harsh on the most vulnerable.

The rise in petroleum prices impacts the cost of production and transportation of essential market items to Africa.

The African agricultural sector’s flaws have come to light as global food prices continue soaring daily.

For a long time, Africa has been primarily concerned with subsistence farming.

In this sense, farmers rely only on humans as a source of labour.

In a continent that suffers from a food crisis every other year, little emphasis has been placed on mechanising the farming business in Africa.

Food shortages are consequently likely to intensify unless concrete action is taken to increase agricultural output within the region.-Pikirayi


Sanctions a lame excuse to avoid reforms
THE late former President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party repeatedly asserted that the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy was the result of Western — especially United States — sanctions.

He repeated it enough that African public opinion started believing it.

Mugabe used sanctions as the pretext for refusing to allow United States election observers in Zimbabwe during the July 2013 elections.

Hence, then US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton did a service by addressing US sanctions in a radio interview a few months later.

He highlighted the limited reach of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, including travel restrictions on 113 individual Zimbabweans and financial restrictions on 70 entities linked to the ruling party.

US sanctions were designed “to bring pressure to bear on those people we believe have the power to make decisions that either strengthen or weaken Zimbabwe.”

Wharton said sanctions were, in fact, a means by which the United States supported Zimbabwe, and would remain in place until democratic reforms were achieved.

He emphasised that the reforms the United States was looking for included “bringing the new Constitution into full force, clarifying how the indigenisation programme is to work to build confidence in investors, continuing with some reforms suggested under the previous unity government and ensuring the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is robust and
effective”.

Wharton highlighted that such reforms would “elicit a positive response” from his government.

Despite this being a subject of debate close to a decade ago, there are few, if any, signs that such reforms will be coming anytime soon.

In fact, US sanctions are highly limited and have little effect on Zimbabwe’s economy.

Rather than being the result of sanctions, the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy was directly caused by Mugabe and his ruling party’s policies, including its wholesale violation of the rule of law and the employment of violence targeted against their political enemies.-Campbell