In­dus­try’s mes­sage to the US

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS & OPINION - Joseph Mu­tizwa

We pub­lish part of the sub­mis­sion by Mr Joseph Mu­tizwa be­fore the United States Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Sub-com­mit­tee on Africa and Global Health Pol­icy hear­ing on Zim­babwe af­ter the July 30 elec­tion. Mr Mu­tizwa made the sub­mis­sion last week in Wash­ing­ton DC. The sub­com­mit­tee over­sees the US sanc­tions on Zim­babwe.

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THIS op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Sub-com­mit­tee on Africa and Global Health Pol­icy to of­fer the per­spec­tives of the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe on the sit­u­a­tion pre­vail­ing in Zim­babwe in the post-elec­tion pe­riod is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. This di­a­logue is long over­due. On be­half of the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe, I would like to thank Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake and mem­bers of his Com­mit­tee for this rare op­por­tu­nity ac­corded to us.

As this in­vi­ta­tion came at short no­tice, some of my col­leagues from the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe were un­able to travel to Wash­ing­ton to par­tic­i­pate in to­day’s pro­ceed­ings.

In the short time avail­able to me, I was able to so­licit the con­tri­bu­tions of some, not all of the pri­vate busi­ness sec­tor lead­ers in Zim­babwe.

The out­come of this con­sul­ta­tion is, I be­lieve, a balanced assess­ment of the state of the macro chal­lenges fac­ing Zim­babwe to­day as out­lined in this writ­ten sub­mis­sion. Zim­babwe is a na­tion that has ex­pe­ri­enced eco­nomic volatil­ity for the greater part of its post-in­de­pen­dence his­tory from 1980 to to­day.

I can say, without hes­i­ta­tion, that the peo­ple of Zim­babwe are ex­traor­di­nar­ily re­silient.

Over the last two decades, they have ex­pe­ri­enced all man­ner of de­pri­va­tions such as po­lit­i­cal po­lar­iza­tion and vi­o­lence, record beat­ing hy­per­in­fla­tion, in­fra­struc­ture decay, stag­ger­ing un­em­ploy­ment lev­els and eco­nomic de­cline ac­com­pa­nied by deep­en­ing poverty.

In re­cent times, we have even been vis­ited by me­dieval dis­eases such as cholera.

De­spite all these chal­lenges, the peo­ple of Zim­babwe have largely re­mained peace­ful, hard­work­ing, God fear­ing and hon­est.

Our work ethic as a na­tion is sec­ond to none on the African con­ti­nent.

Our lit­er­acy rates re­main among the best in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

Zim­babwe busi­ness lead­ers oc­cupy po­si­tions of high re­spon­si­bil­ity in iconic cor­po­ra­tions across Africa and be­yond.

I make this sub­mis­sion in my fol­low­ing ca­pac­i­ties: -

i) As the for­mer CEO of Delta Bev­er­ages (2002-2012), one of Zim­babwe’s largest listed com­pa­nies;

ii) As the cur­rent Chair­man of the Zim­babwe Stock Ex­change Listed Com­pa­nies Fo­rum (ZSE Fo­rum) – rep­re­sent­ing all the 63 com­pa­nies listed on the Zim­babwe Stock Ex­change.

iii) As a Lead­er­ship Con­sul­tant work­ing with more than 30 pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies since my re­tire­ment as CEO of Delta Bev­er­ages in 2012.

This con­sul­tancy role gives me un­par­al­leled

LAST week the US Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Sub-Com­mit­tee on Africa and Global Health Pol­icy de­lib­er­ated on Zim­babwe’s post-elec­tion en­vi­ron­ment within the con­text of a pos­si­ble re­view of eco­nomic sanc­tions on the coun­try. For­mer Deputy In­for­ma­tion and Pub­lic­ity Min­is­ter Bright Ma­tonga has been sanc­tioned by the US. Here he gives a per­sonal ac­count of how the sanc­tions have af­fected him.

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ac­cess to chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers, their boards and ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees.

This puts me in a po­si­tion to have an in-depth ap­pre­ci­a­tion of pri­vate sec­tor per­spec­tives across Zim­babwe.

iv) As Chair­man of the boards of sev­eral pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies in Zim­babwe.

v) As an in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor on the Board of the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe.

In this ca­pac­ity I also chair the im­por­tant Bank Sta­bil­ity Com­mit­tee which is charged with su­per­vi­sion of the bank­ing sec­tor in Zim­babwe.

I am, there­fore, fully cog­nisant of the chal­lenges fac­ing the pri­vate bank­ing sec­tor in Zim­babwe.

The ush­er­ing in of the new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe in Novem­ber 2017 has had a seis­mic im­pact on the na­tion of Zim­babwe.

The pri­vate sec­tor is a sig­nif­i­cant stake­holder in the process of build­ing a new Zim­babwe in the post Mu­gabe era.

This sub­mis­sion will ad­dress four key is­sues which Sen­a­tor Flake has re­quested me to fo­cus on. These are: 1. What is the cur­rent state of Zim­babwe’s econ­omy and its im­pact on Zim­bab­wean peo­ple?

2. What is the pri­vate sec­tor’s eval­u­a­tion of the im­pact of the July 30, 2018 elec­tions on Zim­babwe’s econ­omy?

3. How does the pri­vate sec­tor eval­u­ate of the progress made to date on eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal re­forms by the Gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Emmerson Mnangagwa?

4. What al­ter­na­tives does Zim­babwe have should the USA fail to take ac­tion to sup­port Zim­babwe’s econ­omy? I will tackle each ques­tion in turn. In pre­par­ing this sub­mis­sion for the Sub-com­mit­tee on Africa and Global Health Pol­icy, I am guided by a num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions that the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe em­brace. These are: 1. The over-rid­ing de­sire for sta­bil­ity in terms of both the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments. A stable op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment is con­ducive to busi­ness growth. The con­verse is true.

2· A de­sire for eco­nomic re­forms that rec­og­nize the role of the pri­vate sec­tor as the en­gine for eco­nomic growth.

3· The need for an in­vestor friendly en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­ages and makes it easy for both for­eign and do­mes­tic in­vestors to con­duct busi­ness.

4· Macroe­co­nomic pol­icy con­sis­tency and pre­dictabil­ity.

5· A stable cur­rency and af­ford­able cost of money.

6· Ac­cess to af­ford­able in­ter­na­tional lines of credit to en­able the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tion and mod­erni­sa­tion of plant and equip­ment for pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

7· A reg­u­la­tory frame­work that is fa­cil­i­ta­tive of busi­ness and that im­proves the ease of do­ing busi­ness and makes Zim­babwe a de­sir­able in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

In con­clud­ing this pre­am­ble, I wish to state that the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe en­deav­ours to be apo­lit­i­cal.

We work with any Gov­ern­ment in of­fice re­gard­less of its po­lit­i­cal lean­ings.

We of­fer sup­port to en­sure suc­cess of de­sir­able poli­cies and pro­grams but we also of­fer con­struc­tive crit­i­cism to Gov­ern­ment where we be­lieve that poli­cies or mea­sures are not in the best in­ter­ests of the econ­omy.

This sub­mis­sion is guided by the above con­sid­er­a­tions.

Ques­tion 1 —What is the state of Zim­babwe`s United States dol­lars that in­volved my name could not go through; the money was in­ter­cepted.

As­sum­ing some­one wanted to send me money or any of the col­leagues on the list through Western Union or World Re­mit, the trans­ac­tion was flagged.

Once they type in my name, they are im­me­di­ately asked to punch in my ID num­ber. The US of­fi­cials have all my per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing my na­tional ID num­ber and pass­port num­ber.

So, once they as­cer­tain that the money is be­ing sent to me they in­ter­cept it and hold on to it.

They al­low the trans­ac­tion to go through then they hold on to the money.

So this is one of the chal­lenges fac­ing those on the sanc­tions list in­clud­ing com­pa­nies, we can­not trans­act out­side the coun­try.

I have chil­dren born in the United King­dom, and it is also dif­fi­cult for them.

They ended up hav­ing to write to British au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that they are not af­fected by the sanc­tions. But they still face de­lays when they trans­act.

In ad­di­tion, banks were in­structed to with­draw all my Visa cards.

My son is British-born and went to high school there, I could not send him econ­omy and what is the im­pact it is hav­ing on cit­i­zens?

Cur­rent state of the econ­omy from a busi­ness per­spec­tive. Zim­babwe’s econ­omy is cur­rently in dis­tress and is ex­hibit­ing stress in the fol­low­ing ar­eas:

◆ Fis­cal dis­tress with the bud­get deficit pro­jected at 11,6 per­cent of GDP in fis­cal year 2018. The con­sen­sus tar­get within the Sadc re­gion is for a fis­cal deficit around 3 per­cent of GDP.

◆ Cur­rent ac­count im­bal­ance with im­ports pro­jected to ex­ceed ex­ports in fis­cal year 2018.

◆ 80-90 per­cent of the econ­omy is in­for­mal — re­flect­ing high lev­els of un­em­ploy­ment in the for­mal sec­tor.

◆ Large pub­lic debt bur­den stand­ing at US$18bn and split 54 per­cent to 46 per­cent be­tween do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional debt re­spec­tively.

◆ Cur­rency volatil­ity re­flected in multi-tier pric­ing dis­tor­tions in the mar­ket with sig­nif­i­cant loss of value of the lo­cal cur­rency over the last two months.

◆ Ris­ing an­nual in­fla­tion climb­ing to 20,9 per­cent as at Oc­to­ber 2018 – the high­est in the Sadc re­gion.

◆ In­fra­struc­ture con­straints af­fect­ing road, rail, power, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, among other needs.

◆ Very high coun­try risk dis­cour­ag­ing For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment. The coun­try risk premium cur­rently stands at over 20-25 per­cent. Only US$470m FDI in­flows in 2018.

◆ De­te­ri­o­rat­ing stan­dards of liv­ing for or­di­nary cit­i­zens as sav­ings and earn­ings have lost value while costs are es­ca­lat­ing.

The pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments in the econ­omy

i) Rise in man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion ex­pan­sion­ary fis­cal mea­sures by Gov­ern­ment have stim­u­lated re­cov­ery in ca­pac­ity uti­liza­tion in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor from a low of around 34 per­cent three years ago to around 60 per­cent be­fore the Oc­to­ber 1,2018 pol­icy pro­nounce­ments caused a ma­jor for­eign cur­rency cri­sis.

The ad­verse im­pact of this rise in ca­pac­ity uti­liza­tion has been the “over­heat­ing” of the econ­omy as de­mand for pro­duc­tion in­puts and con­sumer prod­ucts has out­stripped the econ­omy’s ca­pac­ity to gen­er­ate for­eign cur­rency earn­ings to ser­vice the in­creas­ing ap­petite for for­eign cur­rency.

The above sit­u­a­tion re­flects the fact that Zim­babwe’s pro­duc­tive sec­tor is highly im­port de­pen­dant — thus con­tribut­ing to the Cur­rent Ac­count Deficit. ii) Re­cov­ery in agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion. There has been sig­nif­i­cant re­cov­ery in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion as ev­i­denced by the fol­low­ing:

◆ A 34 per­cent in­crease in to­bacco pro­duc­tion from 188,6 mil­lion kilo­grams in 2017 to 252.5 mil­lion kilo­grams in 2018 (the high­est out­put in the his­tory of the to­bacco in­dus­try in Zim­babwe-ex­ceed­ing the pre­vi­ous peak of 238 mil­lion kilo­grams reached in 2000).

◆ A 95 per­cent in­crease in cot­ton out­put from 73 086 tonnes in 2017 to 142 761 tonnes in 2018.

◆ Zim­babwe has achieved food se­cu­rity through the Gov­ern­ment`s in­ter­ven­tion in agri­cul­ture dur­ing the 2017/18 agri­cul­tural sea­son. 1.2 mil­lion tonnes of maize are now in the coun­try`s strate­gic grain re­serves, putting Zim­babwe in a se­cure po­si­tion even if the cur­rent rainy sea­son is ad­versely af­fected by El Nino.

iii) Min­ing sec­tor out­put growth pocket money and could not even pay for his fees us­ing my name.

I had to find as­sis­tance from third par­ties who had funds in the UK to pay the fees and then re­pay them lo­cally.

I re­mem­ber when my mother passed on and my brother who stays in Aus­tralia sent money to as­sist with the fu­neral, that money was in­ter­cepted af­ter it was sent in my name.

They took all the money which was meant to as­sist with our mother’s fu­neral. If I go into South Africa and do not have cash, it takes me more than two hours to buy one bot­tle of drink­ing wa­ter.

Now, be­cause I do not have a Visa card I have to carry cash with me and you know how dan­ger­ous it is to move around with cash in South Africa.

At times I had to go with my wife but they have also taken away her Visa card.

Some will say these are tar­geted sanc­tions, but ev­i­dence abounds that they are af­fect­ing the whole coun­try.

Strive Masi­iwa at one point came out say­ing how sanc­tions had af­fected Econet and he called for their im­me­di­ate re­moval.

When you are un­der sanc­tions, you can­not get busi­ness­peo­ple to bring in money into the coun­try. They have to

◆ Gold out­put has in­creased sub­stan­tially and could end the year at 34 tonnes or 42 per­cent, up on the 24 tonnes achieved in 2017.

◆ Plat­inum out­put is set to ex­pand on the back of a new mine com­mis­sioned by Zim­plats — the coun­try’s largest plat­inum pro­ducer.

◆ Di­a­mond out­put is set to reach three mil­lion carats in 2018, up 67 per­cent from the 1,8 mil­lion carats achieved in 2017. iv) Re­form of in­di­geni­sa­tion laws. A ma­jor step for­ward im­ple­mented by the new Gov­ern­ment has been the re­peal of the in­di­geni­sa­tion laws, which re­quired all busi­nesses to have a 51 per­cent eq­uity in­ter­est in the hands of indige­nous Zim­bab­weans.

This made Zim­babwe unattrac­tive to for­eign in­vestors. This re­quire­ment has now been re­moved save for the plat­inum and di­a­mond min­ing sec­tors. V) Clo­sure to land ten­ure Sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made on the con­tentious is­sue of land ten­ure with bank­able and trans­fer­able 99-year leases close to fi­nal­i­sa­tion.

An­other ma­jor change has been the de­ci­sion by the Gov­ern­ment to dis­con­tinue the Mu­gabe era pro­hi­bi­tion of leas­ing ar­range­ments be­tween white farm­ers who de­sire to lease and farm pro­duc­tively on farms al­lo­cated to black farm­ers. Joint ven­tures and leas­ing ar­range­ments are now in place, al­low­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of white farm­ers to re­turn to farm in Zim­babwe.

Im­pact of macroe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ments on the pop­u­lace

◆ Since 2016, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant ero­sion in the wel­fare of cit­i­zens. This ero­sion has been trans­mit­ted through higher cost of liv­ing, ero­sion of value of sav­ings and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in ser­vice pro­vi­sion.

There has been a real fear that the coun­try was head­ing to­wards the volatil­ity ex­pe­ri­enced in the hy­per­in­fla­tion pe­riod of 2007 – 2008. For­eign cur­rency short­ages have had a se­vere ad­verse im­pact on the avail­abil­ity of es­sen­tial goods and ser­vices in par­tic­u­lar, es­sen­tial med­i­cal drugs, fuel and ma­chin­ery spares and raw ma­te­ri­als.

◆ The cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of all these de­vel­op­ments has been to erode the qual­ity of life of most, it not all Zim­bab­weans.

◆ Since Oc­to­ber 2018, there has been a de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in macroe­co­nomic sta­bil­ity as par­al­lel mar­ket rates of ex­change sky-rock­eted, lead­ing to spec­u­la­tive price in­creases that saw prices of ba­sic food items as well as the cost of trans­port and rentals soar­ing out of the reach of or­di­nary cit­i­zens, whose dis­pos­able in­comes have been se­verely re­duced by in­fla­tion and in­creased tax­a­tion.

◆ The cur­rent level of trust by most cit­i­zens in pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions is still very low given past ex­pe­ri­ences with hy­per­in­fla­tion ( 2007-2008) when sav­ings were wiped out.

As a con­se­quence of this ex­pe­ri­ence, con­fi­dence is very frag­ile in Zim­babwe, lead­ing to panic and over-re­ac­tions when there is any hint of pos­si­ble loss of cur­rency value.

QUES­TION 2 How did the July elec­tions im­pact Zim­babwe`s econ­omy?

In the run up to the elec­tions, there was a surge of op­ti­mism across Zim­babwe, gen­er­ated by a num­ber of de­vel­op­ments among which were the fol­low­ing:

◆ Ush­er­ing in of a new na­tional lead­er­ship af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe — in power for 37 years.

◆ A very peace­ful and rel­a­tively open elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod. get ap­proval from the US Trea­sury, oth­er­wise the money will be in­ter­cepted and the fi­nanciers will face heavy penal­ties.

The lit­tle money that is coming in is not coming through straight channels, they have to go through back channels.

Peo­ple will al­ways find ways of sanc­tions-bust­ing, but that is not the way to do busi­ness.

The world has en­dorsed the New Dis­pen­sa­tion, and on that ba­sis alone Zim­babwe should be given sup­port through the re­moval of sanc­tions.

I know some of my col­leagues who were re­moved from the list.

One would ask me why don’t you go there and ask to be re­moved, but on a point of prin­ci­ple I am say­ing I am do­ing this for my coun­try.

It would be self­ish of me to go and ne­go­ti­ate. I know some went and ne­go­ti­ated and were re­moved and can travel freely, but from a point of prin­ci­ple this is about my coun­try.

I was once of­fered a job which l turned down be­cause it had con­di­tions at­tached for them to get me off sanc­tions list and l turned it down!

The other l was of­fered but couldn’t take be­cause l knew l would not open an ac­count or travel to the EU or US

◆ Ex­pres­sions of sup­port for Zim­babwe from broad sec­tors of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

Post- elec­tion vi­o­lence

The op­ti­mism that swept across Zim­babwe was shat­tered by the dis­cord around the an­nounce­ment of elec­tion re­sults and the post-elec­tion vi­o­lence on Au­gust 1, 2018.

Con­fi­dence was se­verely un­der­mined and coun­try risk es­ca­lated.

The ex­pected FDI in­flows did not ma­te­ri­alise as ex­pected al­though there are sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of po­ten­tial for­eign in­vestors vis­it­ing Zim­babwe to make in­quiries.

A few key in­vestors have now made com­mit­ments.

Post-elec­tion po­lit­i­cal po­lar­i­sa­tion

The le­gal chal­lenges against the elec­tion re­sults at the Con­sti­tu­tional Court and the re­fusal by the main op­po­si­tion to ac­cept the le­git­i­macy of Pres­i­dent Emmerson Mnangagwa has re­sulted in deep po­lit­i­cal po­lar­i­sa­tion which has se­verely dented busi­ness con­fi­dence for both for­eign and do­mes­tic in­vestors.

While the po­lar­i­sa­tion is a re­al­ity, it is also a fact that the rul­ing party emerged from the elec­tion with a two thirds ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment, thus giv­ing it a strong man­date to carry out the re­quired leg­isla­tive re­forms, par­tic­u­larly those needed to align ex­ist­ing laws to the 2013 con­sti­tu­tion.

Im­pact on value of lo­cal cur­rency

In the pe­riod fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and the July 2018 elec­tions, the de­pre­ci­a­tion of the lo­cal Zim­babwe cur­rency (the RTGS or Real Time Gross Set­tle­ment bal­ance and the bond note) was around 30-40 per­cent.

The lo­cal cur­rency has sig­nif­i­cantly lost value in the post-elec­tion pe­riod - at one point in Oc­to­ber 2018 reach­ing a low of around 500 per­cent de­val­u­a­tion be­fore sta­bi­liz­ing at around 340 per­cent de­val­u­a­tion in the par­al­lel (or un­of­fi­cial) mar­ket.

This is de­spite an of­fi­cial po­si­tion putting the lo­cal cur­rency at par­ity with the United States Dol­lar.

Deep­en­ing for­eign cur­rency sit­u­a­tion

The post-elec­tion pe­riod has seen a deep­en­ing of the for­eign cur­rency short­age as United States dol­lars con­tinue to dis­ap­pear from the for­mal mar­kets.

The con­se­quence of these short­ages have had a se­vere ad­verse im­pact on the avail­abil­ity of im­ported raw ma­te­ri­als, fuel and med­i­cal drugs.

The most se­vere im­pact has been felt in the area of med­i­cal care as hos­pi­tals and phar­ma­cies have run out of im­ported med­i­cal drugs, thus putting the lives of many or­di­nary Zim­bab­weans at risk.

Tight­en­ing liq­uid­ity and cash short­ages

Zim­babwe has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing cash short­ages in the bank­ing sec­tor since the in­tro­duc­tion of a lo­cal cur­rency (bond notes) in Novem­ber 2016. These cash short­ages re­main in place four months af­ter the July 2018 elec­tions.

Sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in tourist ar­rivals

Fol­low­ing the July 2018 elec­tions, there has been a surge in the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals in Zim­babwe.

Tour op­er­a­tors and re­sort ho­tels are re­port­ing in­creases of around 25-30 per­cent, com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Ho­tel op­er­a­tors in the Vic­to­ria Falls re­sort area are re­port­ing oc­cu­pancy lev­els last seen in the 1997-98 pe­riod for the forth­com­ing fes­tive sea­son with av­er­age oc­cu­pan­cies around 65 per­cent.

New min­ing in­vest­ments

Some long term in­vestors have come on be­cause of sanc­tions.

Yes I am not in Gov­ern­ment but the whole coun­try is be­ing af­fected by the sanc­tions. So we are in it to­gether.

There is a gen­tle­man who shares the sur­name Ma­tonga, but we are not re­lated at all. His son wanted to go to the United States but be­cause he had the sur­name Ma­tonga, they had prob­lems.

He was asked point blank if he was re­lated to me. When he said he was not he was asked to bring ev­i­dence to that ef­fect.

So, I had to write an af­fi­davit stat­ing that I am from Mhon­doro and this other Ma­tonga is from Mure­hwa and we are not in any way re­lated; more or less in the same man­ner many peo­ple who have the sur­name “Smith” in Amer­ica are not re­lated.

So for any­one with a Ma­tonga name in­tend­ing to travel to the US, I have to write an af­fi­davit for them dis­own­ing them.

US de­mands The United States gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to in­sist that Gov­ern­ment must en­trench democ­racy.

But that is ex­actly what Pres­i­dent Mnangagwa’s Gov­ern­ment has been do­ing since coming into power — the po­lit­i­cal space has not been this open board, in­clud­ing two Aus­tralian min­ing com­pa­nies who have pro­jects in oil and gas ex­plo­ration in North­ern Zim­babwe and a Lithium min­ing op­er­a­tion near Harare, re­spec­tively.

A Chi­nese in­vestor is con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a ma­jor steel plant in the Mid­lands area while an­other com­pany is plan­ning open­ing a ma­jor plat­inum mine.

Fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments by UK fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions

Of note has been the fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment made by The CDC (The UK Gov­ern­ment`s Com­mon­wealth De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion) to make lines of credit avail­able to the pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe.

Al­though a lim­ited amount given Zim­babwe`s sig­nif­i­cant re­quire­ments for fi­nan­cial sup­port, this com­mit­ment is sym­bolic as it rep­re­sents the first such fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment by the CDC in al­most two decades.

Del­e­ga­tions from EU gov­ern­ments in the post-elec­tion pe­riod

The post-elec­tion pe­riod has seen high pow­ered del­e­ga­tions (com­bin­ing po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness lead­ers) from China, Ger­many and Bel­gium, among oth­ers, vis­it­ing Zim­babwe.

QUES­TION 3 - Is Pres­i­dent Emmerson Mnangagwa mak­ing any re­form ef­forts, and if so, what progress is be­ing made? What are some for the hur­dles to mak­ing eco­nomic re­forms?

My con­sid­ered view is that there is a cri­sis of ex­pec­ta­tions in Zim­babwe. The or­di­nary per­son ex­pected a very quick turn­around of the econ­omy fol­low­ing the July 2018 elec­tions.

These ex­pec­ta­tions are mis­placed. Zim­babwe has been in the grip of mis­rule for 37 years and the dam­age done to the econ­omy, to the coun­try’s rep­u­ta­tion and its in­sti­tu­tions will take many years, if not decades, to re­pair.

It is from this per­spec­tive that I eval­u­ate what Pres­i­dent Mnangagwa has achieved since the July 2018 elec­tions.

Eval­u­a­tion of progress

What has been achieved to date? i) Cab­i­net com­po­si­tion There was wide sup­port for Pres­i­dent Mnangagwa’s de­ci­sion to let go long-serv­ing party loy­al­ists and bring in fresh tal­ent into a 15 sig­nif­i­cantly trimmed cab­i­net.

Key new ap­point­ments were made in the min­istries of Fi­nance, In­dus­try, Mines and Trans­port-all now headed by tech­nocrats. The pri­vate sec­tor in Zim­babwe wel­comed these ap­point­ments. This cab­i­net has only been in of­fice since Septem­ber 2018. It is too early to ob­jec­tively eval­u­ate their per­for­mance af­ter just three months in of­fice. ii) Open­ing up of po­lit­i­cal space ◆ The po­lit­i­cal space has been opened up sig­nif­i­cantly. Zim­bab­weans now ex­press them­selves much more openly than dur­ing the Mu­gabe era. Press free­doms are in place for the print me­dia while the state elec­tronic me­dia is still to be re­formed and lib­er­alised.

◆ Po­lit­i­cal demon­stra­tions are al­lowed and the re­cent demon­stra­tion by the main op­po­si­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2018 is a case in point.

◆ The move to open to the pub­lic and to broad­cast live on na­tional tele­vi­sion the pro­ceed­ings of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court elec­toral chal­lenge hear­ings as well as the pub­lic hear­ings held by the Com­mis­sion on the post-elec­tion vi­o­lence of Au­gust 1, 2018 are both ma­jor mile­stones in es­tab­lish­ing trans­parency in Zim­babwe. ◆ Full sub­mis­sion by Mr Joseph Mu­tizwa on www.sun­day­mail.co.zw since In­de­pen­dence.

We have never seen any­thing like what we are wit­ness­ing to­day. But this is a process and you can­not ex­pect it to be done overnight.

They in­sist that the Gov­ern­ment must re­peal Aippa.

In my opin­ion there is noth­ing in­her­ently wrong with the law. In fact it en­trenches the rights of jour­nal­ists to de­mand in­for­ma­tion from Gov­ern­ment. What they should be call­ing for is for the law to be im­ple­mented fairly.

They also in­sist that Posa should be re­pealed.

But just look at the na­tional se­cu­rity laws they have in the UK and the US. Look at the Pa­triot Act in the US and the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act in the UK, which were tight­ened ow­ing to the fight against ter­ror­ism.

You will re­alise that Posa is child’s play. They talk about the Au­gust 1 in­ci­dent. The Pres­i­dent ap­pointed a com­mis­sion to look into that and that is very pos­i­tive.

They also talk of the align­ment of laws to the Con­sti­tu­tion, but this process is nearly com­plete.

See story on Page B1

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