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IMF Team Said to Voice Concern at Deteriorating Political Climate in Zimbabwe

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Benedict Nhlapho

Sources in talks with IMF officials said the team carrying out so-called Article IV Consultations on economic conditions and policy also noted inconsistencies in Harare’s approach that have held back the economic recovery

International Monetary Fund officials who completed a consultative visit to Zimbabwe last week expressed concern to their counterparts in Harare about rising political tensions and the need for faster central bank reform.

Sources in talks with IMF officials said the team carrying out so-called Article IV Consultations on economic conditions and policy also noted inconsistencies in Harare’s approach that have held back the economic recovery.

The IMF team is expected to issue its findings this week amid clashes in the unity government over a broad range of issues, leading to talk of elections next year. An earlier IMF mission saw improved political conditions.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that unfavorable findings by the IMF could give pause to Harare hardliners resisting reform.

“Progressive government elements have been fighting to rectify some of the economic problems bedeviling the unity government, but cannot do so due to heightened tensions in the ruling parties,” Kuchera said.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported from Johannesburg meanwhile that the global economic crisis is having an impact in South Africa as in the United States and many other countries.

The Pretoria government is under pressure from a population increasingly disenchanted at the inability of the ruling African National Congress and President Jacob Zuma to reduce unemployment.

That has put Zimbabweans living illegally there under close scrutiny with a year-end deadline for them to regularize their status or face deportation. Many locals accuse Zimbabweans of locking up scarce jobs.

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