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Analysts: Zimbabwe Heading for Social, Political Instability

  • Irwin  Chifera

FILE - Zimbabwean President and Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe (L) and his wife Grace greets delegates during the official opening of the 6th Peoples Congress of Zanu-PF in Harare, Dec. 4, 2014.

FILE - Zimbabwean President and Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe (L) and his wife Grace greets delegates during the official opening of the 6th Peoples Congress of Zanu-PF in Harare, Dec. 4, 2014.

Economic and political analysts say Zimbabwe is headed for social and political instability unless the government speedily addresses the worsening economic situation.

A snap informal survey on the streets of Harare found that the majority of the people on the street consider the current economic situation in Zimbabwe as “very bad” and it is not surprising as the economy continues to plummet.

The country’s economy has been plunging since 2013 with more than 4,000 companies closing down and thousands of workers losing their jobs.

In the last three weeks alone, more than 20,000 workers have been thrown on the streets following a Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to fire workers on three months’ notice.

More people are getting poorer with the middle class no longer in existence and the situation is getting dire. Analysts say the situation, if not properly managed, could lead to a disaster and instability.

ECONOMIC DISASTER

Former treasury chief economist, Masimba Manyanya, says Zanu PF government has clearly failed to manage its macro-economics, adding everything in Zimbabwe is pointing towards a disaster of proportions.

With dissatisfaction mounting, he says, social groups, political parties, peasants and opposition political parties could join hands in frustration and put things into their own hands as they feel neglected by a government they think is increasingly selfish.

Another economist, Kipson Gundani, says all economic indicators are pointing the negative way, adding this is not good for the country.

According to Gundani, Zimbabwe’s economy suffers from a declining business confidence, especially with foreign investors shunning the southern African nation

Zimbabwe’s empowerment program compels foreign-owned firms to transfer majority stakes to local people.

He adds Zimbabwe desperately needs an injection of foreign direct investment to create new jobs and all. International business has constantly said lack of security of their investment worries them resulting in them holding on tight to their purses.

NATIONAL ELECTIONS

Main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, says the country’s economy can only be revived when Harare starts running credible elections whose results won’t be disputed and are acceptable to the outside world.

Political analyst, Fortune Gwaze, agrees with Tsvangirai that it’s difficult for an economy to thrive in a political crisis.

Economists say while countries in Europe that faced economic crisis since the world wars and to date like Greece for example, had been pulled out by neighbors and the international community, Zimbabwe is unlikely to enjoy such benefits as its leadership has been pouring scorn on the West in their dispute over the so-called targeted sanctions and related issues.

Zimbabwe’s has strained relations with larger donor countries like the United States and Britain and is also failing to service its debt with international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

ABUNDANCE OF NATURAL RESOURCES

This means that it cannot access any funding from them to revive its economy. But they say Zimbabwe has all the resources that it requires to turn around the economy, adding all that is required are policies that attract and protect investment.

Economist Nyasha Muchichwa of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe says the country’s leadership has enough at their disposal to turn around the fortunes of the country.

In its book, Pro-Poor and Inclusive Development in Zimbabwe, Beyond the Enclave, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says the government must borrow strategies that were applied in Asian countries to encourage investment in the export sector and pave the way for new industries, among many others.

The Asian tigers also ensured they had strong, capable, credible and well-committed government and strong political leadership and the results have been open for all to see as their citizens enjoy a much better life in thriving economies.

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