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‘All of us are concerned about Zimbabwe’ – says South Africa’s finance minister

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Zimbabwe to implement reforms critical to resolving debt and arrears

By Business Day (SA)

CAIRO: Finance minister Enoch Godongwana says the government supports Zimbabwe’s implementation of key reforms to resolve its debt problems and end 21 years of sanction.

If successful, such moves can boost economic integration and prosperity for the entire Southern African Development Region.

Gondongwana, who presented a message of support during a round-table on Zimbabwe’s debt arrears clearance at the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s 2023 annual meetings on Wednesday, said any challenge faced by Zimbabwe will have spillover effects into the SA economy and a resolution of its debt crisis is a resolution to SA’s problems.

SA’s Enoch Godongwana (right) with Mthuli Ncube and President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Egypt

“All of us are concerned about Zimbabwe. Economic sanctions continue to place Zimbabwe further into unsustainable debt,” Godongwana said. “We support this [debt reforms] initiative with all our effort.”

Zimbabwe’s long outstanding debt arrears continue to be a major impediment to its socioeconomic development. The country, together with the AfDB and other development partners are working on a process to clear its debts and arrears.

Speaking at the round-table, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government started a programme in December 2022 to reassure development partners and creditors that the Zimbabwe government is committed to the implementation of key reforms critical to resolving the country’s nearly $8.3bn of debts and arrears. Of the $5.7bn of bilateral debt, 69% of this is accounted for by arrears. Similarly, of the $2.6bn of multilateral debt, 91% is accounted for by arrears.

The second high-level meeting was held in February.

Mnangagwa said that to show commitment his government established a Structured Dialogue Platform with all creditors and development partners to institutionalise structured dialogue on economic and governance reforms to underpin the arrears clearance and debt resolution process.

“In spite of the challenges associated with the debt overhang and further exacerbated by the albatross of the illegal economic sanctions, Zimbabwe is realising key milestones towards moving our country forward for the good of our people,” said Mnangagwa.

AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina, who is the official champion for Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution, said since then, two other high-level dialogues have been held on Zimbabwe’s plans to clear its arrears and resolve debt obligations to creditors.

“The issues are not just economic or financial. They also involve governance, rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, political level playing field, electoral reforms that will assure free and fair elections — as well as fairness, equity and justice for the commercial farmers and other businesses who were dispossessed of their lands, for which there is a clear need for restitution and compensation,” said Adesin.


He said over the past 18 months, “we have institutionalised a platform for regular, constructive, and open dialogue that is key for trust and confidence building among all stakeholders”.

Zimbabwe finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who presented at the round-table discussions, said the successful implementation of this programme will also include improving the overall business environment to attract greater private investments.

Ncube told delegates that working groups on economic, governance, land tenure reforms — compensation under the Global Compensation Deed and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements — have comprehensively discussed these issues over the past four high-level dialogues.

He said there is also a strong and measurable commitment by the government to economic and fiscal policy reforms.

“The IMF Article IV mission in December 2022 was successful and was approved by the board of the IMF,” Ncube said.

He said the Zimbabwe government has also taken the decision to eliminate multiple exchange rates, introduce an enhanced foreign exchange auction market, transfer outstanding debt of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the Treasury for greater transparency and avoiding off-budget financing, “and end the quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe”.

Ncube said the government has also taken decisions to end subsidies and reform state-owned enterprises.

“Also, the establishment of the liquidity management committee is a proactive measure that will promote effective co-ordination between fiscal and monetary policies,” Ncube said.

Zimbabwe also decided to make land titles available to enhance the security of commercial farmland, and these would be for 99-year leases which are also commercially viable, bankable, and transferable, he said.

Adesina told delegates that Zimbabwe’s decision to go on an IMF Staff Monitored Program was excellent and reassuring to creditors, development partners, and multilateral and bilateral financial institutions, and that it will ensure that the reforms committed to are implemented.

“We [the AfDB) are currently working with the Zimbabwe to develop innovative financial instruments and structures that can be used to front-load the mobilisation of the $3.5bn for compensations.”

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Zimbabwe facing myriad ‘traditional’ obstacles ahead of general elections

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  • A failing economy, lawfare and a shrinking civic space are among the traditional obstacles facing Zimbabwe ahead of its general elections.
  • Zanu-PF is moving fast to enact the Patriotic Bill and Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill ahead of the polls.
  • Media practitioners from state and independent organisations say they are unable to carry out their mandates before the elections.

A tanking economy, lawfare, a shrinking civic space, propaganda, an electoral body under fire and disinformation have all come to the fore ahead of general elections in Zimbabwe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has gazetted Wednesday, 23 August as the election date.

Political parties have three months to convince the electorate to cast their votes for them.

If there is a run-off, it will be held on 2 October.

Various think tanks predict a close race between Mnangagwa and his biggest challenger, Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

The latest survey on the elections by US institute Fitch Solutions predicted a Mnangagwa victory because of the ruling party’s access to state machinery and resources.

“Zanu-PF’s overarching resources and influence compared to the opposition CCC, headed by Chamisa, will preserve its support in rural strongholds and win key votes in low-income urban areas.

“Central to our belief that Zanu-PF will win the elections is the party’s far greater political and economic resources it has to sway the vote in its favour,” the organisation said.

Almost all surveys forecasted the elections, while not free and fair, would have violent episodes, and the outcome would leave Zimbabwe’s economy in the doldrums.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission under fire

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will again oversee an election where its reputation is at its lowest.

Some of its commissioners have direct links to individuals with a vested interest in the elections.

One of them is Abigail Mohadi-Ambrose who is the daughter of former vice president Kembo Mohadi.

Mohadi stepped down from the government in 2021 after a sex scandal, which he claimed was fabricated by his political enemies.

However, he remains an integral part of Zanu-PF’s election bid, going around the country campaigning for the party.

The ZEC’s biggest headache is the voters’ roll.

Opposition political parties have implored the electoral body to investigate anomalies found in the voters’ roll such as missing names.

“Registered voters, who appeared on the biometric voters’ roll’s online inspection platform, are suddenly finding their names missing from the current online platforms.

“The voters’ roll, under inspection, seems not to be synchronised with the new delimitation boundaries.

“Therefore, prospective voters have been displaced from their wards,” Ian Makone, the CCC’s secretary for elections, wrote to the ZEC.

The Election Resource Centre, an independent organisation, told journalists it looked like “the voters’ roll has been tampered with and cannot, therefore, be trusted to deliver a credible election in its current rushed format”.

Failing economy

Brian Moyo is a forex dealer by day and a street vendor by night, selling groceries at a time when the local dollar is fast losing value against major currencies such as the in-demand US dollar.

“These are the two most lucrative hustles for an unemployed person with or without political links,” Moyo said.

On the streets, US$1 can fetch as much as Z$4 500, whereas the official bank states US$1 is equivalent to Z$1 965.

That means when pricing goods, shops must abide by the official bank rate, but they defy this by pegging their product well above that rate.

One of the leading companies in Zimbabwe, Innscor, a fast-food chain, pegged its products at US$1 to Z$2 900 on Wednesday.

The rate is much higher in pharmacies, where it can reach Z$4 500.

A pharmacy owner said:

We increased our prices in the local dollar because we buy foreign currency from the streets.

For an ordinary Zimbabwean earning in the local currency, the cost of living is high.

Mnangagwa said he believed the business community was hell-bent on destabilising his government.

“We see business destabilising the macroeconomy and, in the process, undermining the very effort towards arrears clearance and dent resolution,” presidential spokesman George Charamba told state media.

Businessman James Ncube told News24 the economy was much harder to deal with than party politics.

“They can rig elections, but they cannot rig the economy. We buy fuel, a factor of production, in foreign currency, and we get that currency from the streets; the government has failed to assist us in many more aspects,” he said.

Like all industries, the media has also been hard hit.

State media journalists, who mostly promote the government’s messaging of an economy on the rebound, recently told their employer they were being incapacitated.

Some even hinted their situation would derail the ruling party’s chances of an election win.

Journalists from the independent press have echoed the same sentiment.

Many feel the state of the economy and their employers’ failure to increase their salaries will affect their mandate in covering the run-up to and the eventual polls.

The African Development Bank told Zimbabwe’s government politics played a big role in the country’s economic woes and a free and fair election would boost the country’s prospects.


With three months to go before the polls, Mnangagwa is expected to sign the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill into law.

Its implementation will undermine freedom of association and expression.

According to Amnesty International, “the bill threatens civic society organisations working on human rights in Zimbabwe”.

Another law the regime intends to pass ahead of the elections is the Patriotic Bill, which gives the National Prosecuting Authority the power to, at its discretion, charge people who undermine or use false statements to paint a bad picture of Zimbabwe to foreign governments.

But in reality, the law will muzzle journalists, critics, and the opposition from exposing corruption to the world, which according to it would be unpatriotic.

One of the ruling party’s fiercest critics, Job Sikhala of the CCC and a legislator for Zengeza, has been in prison for almost a year.

As things stand, with the nomination court sitting on 21 June, he might not be around to file his papers.

Instead, his son, Job junior, might stand on a CCC ticket.

Sikhala’s arrest for alleged violence appears to be politically motivated, similar to that of Transform Zimbabwe president Jacob Ngarivhume.

Ngarivhume was convicted and sentenced to 48 months in jail for inciting public violence. He is serving an effective 36 months.

His jailing emanates from anti-corruption protests in July 2021.

Speaking at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, which was held earlier this month, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the arrests were a scare tactic to deter those who intended to oppose the government.

“The government’s war against freedom and its weaponisation of the law against myself and other government critics, such as Job Sikhala and Jacob Ngarivhume, is calculated to send a chilling message to the rest of society.

“We’re watching you, even on Twitter. And this is the punishment you get for participating in opposition politics,” she added.

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Everyone is hungry – says Chamisa; CCC leader blames Mnangagwa, Ncube’s ‘haphazard policies’ for soaring prices 

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By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) President Nelson Chamisa has blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube for Zimbabwe’s runaway inflation that has seen prices of basics galloping beyond reach of many.

The ZWL rapid loss of value in the past month has not just seen a steep hike in prices by producers who now favour US dollars but erosion of already meagre salaries across sectors.

Ncube, who has been struggling to gain control of Zimbabwe’s waning economy since taking over in 2018, threatened businesses opting for the US dollar and at one point moved shop by shop in Bulawayo ordering that they reduce prices.

He referred to the price hikes as being speculative.

However, speaking to journalists Chamisa said there was nothing Mnangagwa and Ncube could do to solve Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

“Everyone is hungry, everyone is complaining, everyone feels that the situation in the country is not okay.

“This is the problem of having the wrong leader or being led by one who takes power illegitimately as Mnangagwa did. You will realise none of the things that person will do would have been well thought out.


“No one knows how he thinks, he changes like the weather. Nothing works and we want to fix all that by voting for the right candidate.

“Look at how Mnangagwa and Ncube are behaving. Their tools box is empty, they cannot resolve the economic questions of the day, they cannot understand that confidence, predictability and consistency of policy are everything.

“The price hikes are an indicator of hikes in all other ill-spheres. We are part of those that lead in corruption, unemployment, inflation, road accidents, reserves, politically motivated violence, poor road networks, arrest of political players and journalists.”

With a 2l bottle of cooking oil going for as much as US$5 and a crate of eggs for as much as US$9, Zimbabwe is slowly welcoming a return to the 2008 era of daily price hikes.

To arrest the crisis, Ncube announced a series of measures including the suspension duty on all basic commodities for six months, starting May 17, 2023.

The suspension focused on rice, flour, cooking oil, margarine, salt, sugar, maize meal, powdered milk, milk formula, tea, petroleum jelly, toothpaste, bath soap, laundry and washing powder.

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Minister Mliswa-Chikoka submits CV to contest councillor post after primaries defeat

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

IN a rare climbdown Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, who recently lost in Zanu PF parliamentary primary elections, has filed her curriculum vitae (CV) for consideration as Hurungwe Rural District councillor courtesy of the newly-introduced women’s quota.

The novel system is designed to increase the number of female politicians in the male-dominated lower-tier devolved government structure.

According to a leaked list seen by, the outgoing Hurungwe West MP becomes the latest high-profile sitting legislator to swallow her pride and submit her name to contest for councillorship.

The minister surrendered her party rights to retain the parly seat to little-known but seasoned activist, Chinjai Kambuzuma via an election result that shocked the body politick.

Mliswa-Chikoka, who doubles as party provincial chairman, was not picking calls when contacted her to confirm the development.

In her unenviable league are defeated Zanu PF Hurungwe women’s quota lawmaker, Goodluck Kwaramba, Sanyati Proportional Representation MP Josephine Shava and Mhangura MP Precious Chinhamo-Masango.


Kwaramba was beaten by Nyembezi Nyamukurira in recently-held Zanu PF internal polls while Shava, who is facing criminal charges of ballot papers robbery, lost to Andrew Kani. Chinhamo-Masango failed to retain the right to represent the former mining settlement of Mhangura after suffering heavy defeat at the hands of former Lands Minister, Douglas Mombeshora.

Kwaramba told she decided to serve the party in a lesser role.

“I don’t really see it as demoting myself, but since l failed to retain the right to keep my parliamentary seat l thought l would be useful in the role of councillor considering that l have the qualifications and experience which are qualities that lack in most women,” said Kwaramba.

In a bid to scrap political survival and remain relevant, provincial Women’s League deputy political commissar, Joylene Munduna who lost to Supa Madiro in Magunje constituency, has also offered her services as rural councillor.

In Zvimba constituency, ldah Kamushinda, who challenged Local Government Deputy Minister, Marian Chombo in Zvimba North, threw her candidature in the ring for consideration as Zvimba Rural District Council official.

Beleaguered Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s personal assistant and district coordinating committee (DCC) member, Denica Makota is also eyeing a seat in council while Phillipa Matunja who was walloped by Francis Mkwangwarirwa in primaries also wants a bite of the cherry.

Zvimba DCC Women’s Affairs executive, Zandile Maseko is wishful of a return as councillor after failing to make the grade in just-ended dog-eat-dog internal voting.

In Sanyati, Enia Tshuma hopes to land a councillor post courtesy of the new selection criteria meant to promote female participation in politics.

Perennial campaigner, Magrene Chidarikire submitted her CV for consideration for a Chinhoyi Municipality position after humiliation at the mercy of Women’s Affairs Deputy Minister, Jennifer Mhlanga.

Young Women for Economic Development (ED) executive member, Auxillia Chemhuru, who contested and lost to Joseph James in Chinhoyi Ward 8 local authority Zanu PF primary elections and Ruth Chikukwa, popularly known as Boko Haram, are also in the race to secure seats in Chinhoyi Municipality chambers courtesy of the quota system.

Effervescent Makonde RDC sitting councillor Martha Paul confirmed to this publication she cherishes another stint in council after losing to party provincial administration secretary, Misheck Nyarubero while National Youth League external relations secretary, Valerie Makonza put her name up for nomination as councillor.

This publication gathered CVs were sent  to the provincial command for onward transmission to Zanu PF Headquarters in Harare for vetting before polls are held to put candidates in ranking order.

Harmonised elections tallies will have a bearing on the number of female candidates each political party will second to various local authorities.

According to sources, an estimated 74 women’s quota councillor posts are up for grabs across Mashonaland West out of 185 CVs received from Zanu PF aspirants.

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