Faith in Mugabe has all but evaporated

Harare – Thirty-two-year-old Brighton Mutanga* believes his fate, and that of his wife and three children, lies not in the hands of government policies but in individual efforts, which, however, are hinged on pronouncements by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

By Tawanda Karombo

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe delivers his State of the Nation address to the country’s Parliament in Harare, on August 25, 2015. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo

Only last month, Mutanga, together with 25 000 other employees in Zimbabwe, lost their jobs and will only get three months’ notice salaries and no severance compensation.

He has had to quickly re-energise and venture into fruit vending around the Workington industrial area in Harare, where factory machinery and plant is lying idle in some instances, while also starting a backyard poultry project in his Sunningdale lodgings.

Together with millions of Zimbabweans, Mutenga was expecting Mugabe to offer guidance on economic revival and to pronounce measures that would help companies re-open and the few that have remained operational to grow productivity.

However, the veteran leader – in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980 – only spoke for 30 minutes, got heckled by opposition parliamentarians and, according to economists, offered “no new insight” on how to address the declining economic situation.

Just hoping

“The company told us that it would recall us once things improve in the economy and we are just hoping. As for now, I have to put the faith of my family in my own hands; a man has got to do what a man has to do,” Mutenga told Business Report as he pushed his fruit cart for resale in the industrial area, brushing away sweat on a warm and slightly windy Wednesday morning.

Mugabe admitted as much, highlighting that things were not well in the economy, but also maintaining that there was growth, to be underpinned by mining and tourism, while delivering his first state of the nation address in eight years.

The last one he delivered was on December 4, 2007, towards Christmas, and it offered hope that a “new dawn” was now on the horizon.

“The night of trials and tribulations has indeed been long. We, however, are confident that a new dawn is now on the horizon. The country has continued to hold its own despite predictions of economic collapse and social upheaval constantly harped by our indefatigable detractors,” Mugabe said in his 2007 address.

Two years later, in 2009, the country ditched its own currency after goods vanished from shop shelves and firms closed down factories.

The industry and manufacturing sectors are still recovering from that era, with Mugabe saying on Tuesday that respite will come from a 10 point plan that economists say offers nothing new.

And now eight years after the 2007 state of the nation address, the economic situation appears to be worsening.

Mugabe said in his Tuesday address that his government would put focus on creating special economic zones, revamping labour laws, strengthening the financial sector, pursuing an anti-corruption thrust and enhancing capacity and growth for small scale companies. Zimbabwe’s economy has largely become informal, crippling revenue collections for the state.

“Overall economic performance to date indicates modest growth. Zimbabwe is already positioning itself for major economic take-off, in keeping with Zim-asset, which requires massive capital injections and rapid implementation,” Mugabe told a joint seating of the senate and parliament houses, amid heckling from opposition parliamentarians.

Policy measures would also be prioritised on investment in infrastructure development in the energy, water and information and communication technologies sectors.


The controversial mineral beneficiation thrust would also be spearheaded, although the government has now found ground with platinum miners which it was forcing to set-up refinery facilities inside the country.

Although he did not announce any new measures on the indigenisation policy – which experts say is scaring away investors – Mugabe said his government would focus more on “encouraging private sector investment”.

Local executives have told Business Report that uncertainty over policy pronouncements and safety of investments constituted major worries for international companies seeking to sink money into the struggling economy.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Mugabe has not been realistic and added that he no longer has a grip on economic developments in the country.

Other economists said Zimbabwe’s plight is being worsened by depreciations in the currencies of its major trade partners, South Africa and China.

“As widely expected, Mugabe failed to rise to the occasion. The crisis (in Zimbabwe) is bigger than the capacity of him and his government,” said Luke Tamborinyoka, the spokesman for the MDC.

And with no control over monetary policy and waning sentiment over the government’s sincerity and capacity to addressing the current economic situation, Zimbabweans are bracing for further economic difficulties.

*Not his real name


Related Posts
Zimbabwe rocked by corruption as Robert Mugabe’s time comes to the end
HARARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has issued a stern warning to corrupt officials in government owned institutions who are stifling the country`s efforts to turn around the economy. Corruption in ...
Chilcot Inquiry: Robert Mugabe chides nemesis Tony Blair over Iraq war lies
HARARE - The apology by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he misled the world about the war in Iraq has now been interpreted by loyalists to say that ...
Zimbabwe, Swaziland, are Africa’s most unfree
Johannebsurg - Satisfaction with democracy remains elusive, as just 51 percent of citizens surveyed in 28 African countries believed their country was a full democracy, or one with just a ...
Security forces on high alert as Zanu PF faces disintegration
HARARE - Zimbabwean security forces have been put on high alert after deadly clashes erupted in the capital on Monday between Harare municipal police and vendors who are vowing to ...
Zanu PF headed for another split as more fall-out escalates
Zanu PF could be headed for a split after President Robert Mugabe yesterday failed to contain serious divisions in Masvingo amid accusations that he appeared to have sided with one ...
Zimbabweans told to stand ready for President Grace Mugabe
MASVINGO - Former Masvingo provincial minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti has warned his former comrades in the warring post-congress Zanu-PF to prepare to salute First Lady Grace Mugabe as the party's leader, ...
Mnangagwa begs Mugabe
HARARE - Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is apparently taking serious strain from the post-congress Zanu PF’s worsening and seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars. Well-placed sources claimed in briefings with the ...
Good luck checking on the health of an African president
For those with more than a passing interest in African politics, the incessant 24 hour news and social media chatter about the health of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and ...
No ‘Arab Spring’ In Zimbabwe, Mugabe Warns Protesters
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe warned protesters on Friday there would be no "Arab Spring" in Zimbabwe after anti-government demonstrations descended into one of the worst violence seen in the ...
ZANU-PF plots Joice Mujuru downfall
FORMER vice president Joice Mujuru’s dramatic entry into opposition politics has shaken ZANU-PF to the core, forcing President Robert Mugabe’s party to canvass its sharpest brains across main wings to ...
Zimbabwe rocked by corruption as Robert Mugabe’s time
Chilcot Inquiry: Robert Mugabe chides nemesis Tony Blair
Zimbabwe, Swaziland, are Africa’s most unfree
Security forces on high alert as Zanu PF
Zanu PF headed for another split as more
Zimbabweans told to stand ready for President Grace
Mnangagwa begs Mugabe
Good luck checking on the health of an
No ‘Arab Spring’ In Zimbabwe, Mugabe Warns Protesters
ZANU-PF plots Joice Mujuru downfall

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Where To Stream Drake’s ‘More Life’: Playlist Will Be Available On Spotify And Amazon

17th March 2017 Staff Reporter 0

After a long wait, Drake’s next project, “More Life,” is finally releasing on Saturday. Originally believed to be an Apple Music exclusive, it’s now looking like the playlist will also be available on other streaming […]

Arts & Entertainment

Rick Ross Feuding With Birdman, Nicki Minaj? Listen To New Album ‘Rather You Than Me’

17th March 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Rick Ross released his new album “Rather You Than Me” Thursday and took some shots at Birdman and Nicki Minaj. In the song, “Idols Become Rivals,” the MMG star dissed rapper Birdman for not paying his artists […]