WASHINGTON DC —
The Politburo, Zanu-PF’s supreme decision making body, met in Harare Friday amid reports that the economy is tanking as some cabinet ministers, meant to work together in leading the country’s recovery efforts, are not even on talking terms as factional fights worsen.
Apparently President Robert Mugabe chaired the meeting in darkness following a power blackout affecting the central business district.
Politburo insiders said the battle in the meeting was on proposals by a faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to have President Mugabe amend the party’s constitution to give himself powers to appoint his two deputies.
The move is aimed at blocking the ascendency of Vice President Joice Mujuru, who has an upper hand in the provinces that can nominate her ahead of Mnangangwa.
The crucial meeting was also expected to discuss calls by First Lady Grace Mugabe for Mrs. Mujuru to step down, alleging she’s corrupt and leading a faction in the party. Indications are that the issue was not tabled at the meeting.
Zanu-PF insiders told Studio 7 that formulating government policy has become almost impossible as cabinet ministers are snubbing key committee meetings owing to factionalism.
The insiders also accuse the ministers of focusing on campaigning for posts in the party’s central committee, Politburo and the key elective congress in December.
Attempts to get a comment from cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda were, however, futile as he was not picking up his phone.
But latest Economic Outlook reports paint a gloomy picture.
The country’s trade deficit for the first nine months of the year was this week reported to be at US$2,84 billion arising from imports of US$4,65 billion against US$1,81 billion in exports, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency’s latest figures.
Government sustained a budget deficit of US$19.5 million due to a 6,3% tax revenue shrinkage as of August 31.
Captains of industry say the country’s capacity utilization has plummeted from 57.2% in 2011 to 36.3%.
The International Monetary Fund has also called on Harare to reform to meet its targets of the Staff Monitored Program, signed with Harare to turn around the economy.
Economist and director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, Dr. Godfrey Kanyenze, said lack of cohesion in government is affecting the economy.