RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy committee member Persistence Gwanyanya says failure to resolve the country’s post-election crisis will render government’s re-engagement efforts and economic recovery futile.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa won last month’s presidential election after garnering 52,6% of the votes, against his closest rival, Nelson Chamisa’s 44%.
Chamisa leads the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
However, most local, regional, and international observer missions presented adverse preliminary reports, stating that the polls fell below international standards.
This week, analysts also said this will jeopardise Zimbabwe's attempts to re-engage with the international community.
“If the political question, the election question, is not resolved it presents downside risks for the country,” Gwanyanya said at the Institute of Internal Auditors annual conference held last week in Victoria Falls.
“The risks relating to the re-engagement process, the risk relating to debt resolution, and the risk relating to the progress we have now made on infrastructure, are definitely going to be hampered if that question is not resolved.”
He added: “The currency issue and the whole list of economic issues are going to be affected. That is why Sadc (Southern Africa Development Community) and probably the AU (Africa Union) would want to take this issue seriously because it may destabilise the region.
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“That is why it is imperative to at least achieve some measure of soft landing for the election dust to settle, in good time”.
Experts have also said the ‘dispute’ will affect Zimbabwe’s neighbours through mass emigration as Zimbabweans search for better livelihoods.
Top destinations for migration include South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana, according to experts.
Gwanyanya said failure to solve the election ‘dispute’ would lead to continued ‘frosty’ relationships with the West and the Commonwealth.
Last week, a joint report from the South African economic consultancy firm, Oxford Economics Africa and the United Kingdom-based global consultancy firm, Control Risks, rated Zimbabwe poorly on the Africa Risk-Reward Index 2023.
According to the report, Zimbabwe had the lowest scores in terms of investment returns and the highest risk on the continent.
“From the election outcome it is difficult to imagine the re-engagement progressing at the pace we would have wanted to see,” Gwanyanya said.
“Now that the matter has been escalated to Sadc by the opposition party (CCC) and Sadc is showing some measure of sidelining with the opposition or concurrence with the opposition in regard to the elections itself, and the process itself, the ruling party may be encouraged to form some sort of accommodation.”
The MPC noted said it was important for authorities to note that the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Acts of 2001, legislated by the United States, limited capital flows into the country.
He added that this could only be removed in the face of political and economic policy changes, with free, fair, and credible general elections being a major prerequisite.
Zimbabwe’s public debt is estimated at over US$17,5 billion.
Beside a huge debt, the country is facing power and water shortages, poor utility service delivery, high taxes, low foreign investments, exchange rate volatility, low healthcare coverage, poor and ailing infrastructure, and a lack of jobs.
There are fears that failure to resolve the election dispute also threatens local food security as the upcoming 2023/24 agricultural season is expected to experience an El Nino-induced drought.