Cowdray Park residents must reject Mthuli

Letters to the Editor

IF there is a nation of people who can be easily taken for granted in the world, it is Zimbabwe.

At most government events that have to do with development, it’s either President Emmerson Mnangagwa goes to launch the projects or officially open the buildings.

At other events such as political activities that government has interests in, ministers will do the officiating.

We have seen that during electioneering periods, it’s usually the powerful who make their presence felt especially in areas where they do not stay.

A case in point is that of ministers who always absent themselves from Parliament business, but are pictured everyday in constituencies they will be contesting.

They even purchase residential properties in those areas so they are voted into Parliament.

A video has emerged where Members of Parliament Chalton Hwende and Temba Mliswa are seen asking the Speaker of the National Assembly why Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is not coming to the august House to answer questions on inflation and the runaway exchange rate.

The Speaker struggled to defend the absentee minister, who is holed up in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, where he is campaigning to land a parliamentary seat.

Mthuli has abandoned everybody in Zimbabwe, including those in Cowdray Park, who are finding it difficult to get by on a daily basis.

Mthuli, who holds a ministerial position, should not abdicate his duties as a government office bearer so that he campaigns for a seat in the National Assembly when the nation is burning and the economy in the doldrums.

Cowdray Park residents must do Zimbabwe a favour and punish Mthuli through the ballot box.

In fact, his purchasing of a house in Cowdray Park is just a smokescreen. I bet my bottom dollar he has never slept in it.

He should, at least, spend a night on the cold floor of his  house so that he has first-hand experience of what the ordinary person is going through.

Those who will vote for Mthuli will have sold out the struggle.

He has been on the hot seat since September 2018, but he has failed to put smiles on our faces.

We have long told Mthuli and his colleagues in Zanu PF and government that the Zimdollar is continually losing value, but they are not taking any corrective measures.

We have hardworking Zimbabweans who are not being remunerated accordingly, thereby creating poverty in families.

In Binga, locals there are living in penury as a result of Zanu PF and the ruling party has always failed to win the two constituencies in that part of the country.

Recently, Mnangagwa was there to canvass for votes, but I doubt his presence there will change the minds of the Binga folks.

I urge Cowdray Park residents to copy Binga locals and vote overwhelmingly against Zanu PF.

In fact, all Zimbabweans should replicate the Binga voting pattern.

Let’s give well-meaning candidates a chance. We cannot be dribbled everyday by the same people.

Five years ago, we were told things would improve, but where are we now?

If Zanu PF cannot improve things, we should send it a similar message. We cannot afford another five years of misery at the hands of Zanu PF.

Cowdray Park must teach Mthuli a lesson. Tell Mthuli to fix the economy nationally, not his vote-buying project which he may probably abandon soon after losing the elections. - Isaac Mupinyuri

Zimdollar on the verge of complete rejection

THE Zimbabwe dollar, which was reintroduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2019, is on the verge of collapse and complete market rejection.

The local unit is incessantly plummeting against the United States dollar in both forex exchange markets — official and parallel.

In May 2023 alone, the Zimdollar lost almost 40% on the parallel market from an average of US$1:$2 200 in April to US$1:$3 600 (range: $3 200 to $4 000).

Year-to-date, it is down by a staggering 75%, which is slightly lower than a 77% decline registered in entire 2022.

On the official interbank market, the Zimdollar lost 59% of its value to close May 2023 at US$1:$2 577,07, thus, giving a parallel market premium value of 40%.

Granular analysis further shows that the Zimdollar has officially erased 73% of its value in the first five months of 2023 relative to an 84% decline that was realised in the preceding whole year.

The foregoing numbers are highlighting that the Zimdollar is  struggling to perform the store of value function.

As such, economic agents are relentlessly substituting the Zimdollar — flight to safety to preserve earnings value.

Largely driving the incessant Zimdollar decline is the excess liquidity in the economy that was created by the central bank paying for forex ceded by tobacco farmers and exporters.

Treasury is also to blame for the ensuing economic chaos since it is failing to curtail mounting fiscal spending pressures.

It is funding ongoing infrastructural projects, supporting agriculture, cushioning civil servants, and resourcing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct this year’s harmonised elections slated for August 23.

Starting on June 1, 2023, Treasury will assume all RBZ foreign obligations and undertake payments for all forex ceded by exporters.

All this will contribute to excessive money supply circulating in the economy.

In the end, the increased Zimdollar liquidity amid adverse expectations and high economic uncertainties posed by this year’s elections risk a total collapse and market rejection of the local currency.

However, if there is adequate political will to allow Treasury to fully implement some of its recent policy proposals like the promotion of Zimdollar use, sterilisation of excess liquidity, and monetary policy tightening by RBZ, ongoing Zimdollar depreciation against the US dollar will likely moderate and help contain inflation.

Be that as it may, the pending elections are likely promoting opportunistic political business cycles — volatile changes in fiscal spending and taxation which worsens macroeconomic volatility. - Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development

Resilience-building activities to improve Chiredzi communities’ livelihoods

THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has rolled out resilience-building activities with support of the government of Japan to boost food security and improve the livelihoods of nearly 9 000 people in Chiredzi district, in southern Zimbabwe.

The funding, a US$900 000 contribution coming at a critical time, will help WFP to provide food assistance while at the same time stimulating local development through the construction of small-scale infrastructure such as small dams and nutrition gardens, the provision of training for farmers in agriculture and income-generation activities such as poultry and beekeeping, as well as land reclamation activities.

We are grateful to Japan for its commitment to expanding the opportunities of vulnerable rural families.

We are working with communities to transform rural areas, improving incomes for farmers and providing financial safety nets.

Our goal is to ensure food security even for the future, and to do so, we would like agriculture to remain both an attractive and a viable option for the next generation.

Mindful of the multiple risks that people and ecosystems face, WFP brings together investments in infrastructure, insurance and financial inclusion for farmers and connects smallholder production to value-added food markets.

This is contributing to sustainable rural livelihoods and enhancing protection against acute climate shocks, such as droughts or cyclones.

We hope that the targeted communities in Chiredzi will, through the construction of community assets, training in various income-generation activities and restoration of degraded land, become more resilient to future climate shocks and economic challenges.

The goal is not only to support them in the current difficult situation, but also for them not to require assistance in the future.

WFP’s community resilience initiatives combine two climate risk mitigation strategies to assist the people: better natural resource management through enhanced agricultural techniques to assure ongoing food production and diversifying their livelihoods to withstand climate shocks.

In 2023, WFP will support more than 110 000 people through this integrated approach to rural resilience-building across the country.

The government of Japan is one of WFP’s top donors in Zimbabwe.

In addition to funding WFP’s resilience-building initiatives, Japan has also supported WFP’s emergency food assistance activities.

The latest contribution brings Japan’s total contributions towards WFP’s activities in Zimbabwe to US$26 million since 2012, supporting food assistance and resilience-building for vulnerable communities.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. - WFP


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