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Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy spoils coup ‘celebrations’



Zimbabwe presidential inauguration

It’s only a few weeks before the coup plotters celebrate the Second Republic, which came after the military helped oust Robert Mugabe, then-leader of the country for the first 37 years since independence.

With the coup having started on November 14, Mugabe succumbed to pressure and signed his resignation letter on November 21 when his long-time allies, among them Emmerson Mnangagwa and then-Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga turned their backs on him and opted to topple him.

Mnangagwa, having been fired from the government on November 7 following attacks by the G40 factional grouping and fleeing the country the next day after talks of a planned hit on him, returned home on November 22 from South Africa, where he had sought refuge.

On November 24, he was inaugurated as President, promising that Zimbabwe was open for business, her economy would boom, and jobs would open up.

Instantly, he was an avowed reformist. He travelled to all corners of the world trying to woo the support of the international community. All he came back with was promise after promise.

The investors were waiting on the July 30, 2018, elections to see if Mnangagwa would follow the law to the letter and to the spirit.

During the election campaign period, Mnangagwa promised guaranteed jobs, improved health facilities, money in the banks and in automated teller machines ‑ all in all, a new Zimbabwe. He claimed Zimbabwe had wasted several years in isolation under Mugabe.

The elections came and went. The electorate voted for their candidates, with the protagonists being Mnangagwa himself and opposition MDC Alliance’s youthful leader Nelson Chamisa.

Chamisa lost to his nemesis by a small margin and contested the win in the Constitutional Court. A ruling was made and Mnangagwa was declared the winner.

But now, the nation is licking its wounds.

First to spoil his supposed plans was the August 1 deadly shootings in the capital by the military, where seven civilians died as a result of gunshot wounds.

The military fired live ammunition on fleeing citizens following protests over an alleged electoral theft.

Since then, everything has gone ballistic. The legitimacy Mnangagwa was seeking following the November coup is seemingly up in smoke.

Next was the cholera epidemic which claimed the lives of 54 people and left thousands seeking medical attention after a breakout of the waterborne disease in Glen View and Budiriro high-density suburbs.

Now, the economy is burning. And there seems to be no solution in sight as yet.

On October 1, the government scrapped the US$0.05 flat fee charge for every electronic or mobile money transfer or payment transaction and replaced it with a new tax regime, where both individuals and companies would be charged US$0.02 for every dollar transacted.


With a lot of public outcry and resistance, new finance and economic development minister Mthuli Ncube rejigged the policy, exempting all transactions under US$10 and putting a cap of US$10 000 charges for any transaction above US$500 000.

But still, the situation has turned grave.

The transfer rate has gone haywire, at one point shaking the market after shooting through the roof to 600%, meaning a $600 transfer for every US$100.

The authorities blame illegal foreign currency dealers for the crisis on the market.

Law enforcement agents have already been set on the street forex dealers. But the opposition says fiscal indiscipline by the government is the major source of the country’s problems.

Fuel queues, a few weeks ago, snaked out at service stations, where either petrol or diesel would have been delivered.

At some stations, it’s either the fuel tanks underground were empty, or the little available was reserved for those with cards.

At others, the fuel attendants limited what motorists could get.

For now, the situation has improved a bit, with the government said to have stocked up.

In shops, prices are going up on a daily basis, if not by the hour.

There are now multi-tier pricing systems in several shops.

Basic commodities like cooking oil and sugar, if available, are being rationed in shops.

Even beer in most shops has not been spared the rationing.

At pharmacies, the attendants are demanding foreign currency for one to get medication. They have even inflated the prices in US dollars.

For blood pressure pills that usually go for $9, the price has jumped to around US$20, or about $160 in the surrogate bond note or transfer rate.

Meanwhile, Chamisa claims the crisis will only halt if Mnangagwa concedes that he stole the July 30 election.

He says only legitimacy will solve the situation Zimbabwe finds herself in.

Chamisa’s MDC Alliance party maintains no investor would want to pour their money into a “bottomless” Zimbabwe.

Economist Chris Mugaga says the government is “clearly running out of ideas and time”.

“The government sold the nation a dummy for too long. They were milking a buffalo thinking it’s a cow, now it’s kicking them from its udder and they are wondering why,” he was quoted recently in private media.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has tried to bring Chamisa and Mnangagwa to the negotiation table for a way out, but that option seems to have hit a brick wall.

Zanu-PF, the party in government, insists elections determined the legitimacy issue.

“Elections were held and are gone.Let’s look ahead in terms of our economic development, that is the challenge we are facing, the stabilisation of our economy…” Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was quoted as saying recently.

The ruling party insists its leader Mnangagwa’s doors are open to anyone with a solution to the crisis.

It’s only a matter of time before anyone knows which direction the country is taking.

African News Agency


Mnangagwa appoints army General Sibanda into the Zanu PF politburo



Philip Valerio Sibanda ZaNU PF

President Emerson Mnangagwa has appointed General Philip Valerie Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to the Zanu PF politburo, in violation of the national constitution.

During a Zanu PF conference in Gweru on Saturday, Mnangagwa announced that the country’s top-ranking soldier would become an ex officio member of the party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses. Mnangagwa, who benefited from a 2017 military coup, made this announcement during his closing remarks.

“During the course of the year, we lost one of our party stalwarts, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who was the Secretary for People with Disabilities.

Philip Sibanda’s appointment is a violation of the national constitution which says “The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this constitution.”

While Zimbabwe’s military is known for being embedded with ruling party politics, Sibanda’s appointment is an unprecedented case of a serving soldier taking a leadership position within a political party.

The Zanu PF-led authority has ironically hounded out of service, a lot of officers within the country’s unformed forces for associating themselves with the opposition, which protests continued military involvement in Zanu PF campaigns.

The appointment of Philip Sibanda could come as an attempt by the under-fire leader to hedge himself against a possible coup with the military ever interested in who should be in the country.

The controversial appointment could also fall within the willy politician’s paraphernalia of self-serving schemes amid subtle signals of an ambition to go for a third term.

Zimbabwe has a dirty history of military interference in the country’s political affairs.

During past election periods, partisan military commanders have vowed never to “salute” an opposition leader emerging from the country’s polls in an indirect threat to block the ascension into power of any winner of the presidential election who is not Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa could also be preparing Philip Sibanda for a post in the Zanu PF presidium.

Last year, exiled former cabinet minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo revealed Mnangagwa was keen to name Sibanda as his second vice president.

Sibanda is among former liberation war fighters drafted into the country’s military upon independence after having waged the war as a ZIPRA combatant.

ZIPRA was the military wing of the former PF Zapu, a liberation war movement that fought side by side with Zanu PF for the attainment of independence.

The current co-vice president, also a former PF Zapu politician, is battling poor health.

Mohadi collapsed a week ago while addressing a Zanu PF rally called to drum up support for a Gutu party election candidate.

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Public Outcry Grows Over Mnangagwa’s Appointments of Family Members as Deputy Ministers




On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused of nepotism for appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in his new cabinet, after a controversial re-election. David will be working under finance minister Mthuli Cube. Additionally, the president’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was named as the deputy minister of tourism and hospitality.

According to Fadzayi Mahere, a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the cabinet of Mnangagwa is unacceptable. Mahere stated that it is a combination of illegitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and sex scandals. She added that it lacks the ethical leadership that Zimbabweans need and deserve. It is no surprise that the national mood is dismal.

Mnangagwa appointed Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa as ministers. Christopher will lead the new ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica will be the minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.

David Mnangagwa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a law degree. He was elected to parliament through the youth quota system, listed on a Zanu PF party roster from the Midlands province. Mnangagwa is believed to have almost two dozen children.

Tongai, meanwhile, is the Zanu PF MP for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David, was Mnangagwa’s young brother.

On Monday, sources reported that Mnangagwa is contemplating bestowing an official role on his son, Emmerson Junior, in his office. According to the source, Junior has already attended some of the president’s meetings with foreign investors, which has been an uncomfortable situation. Mnangagwa aims to regularise this arrangement by giving Junior an official position, such as an adviser or director.

On August 23rd, the 80-year-old Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the election amidst opposition allegations that the vote was fraudulent. He is now serving his second and final term as president, becoming another addition to the list of African leaders who have established political dynasties.

In Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, a move that revived media speculation that he had a dynastic succession in mind.

Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea, appointed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as Vice President. He has been in power since removing his uncle Francisco Macías Nguema in 1979.

The former President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is the son of Omar Bongo who held the position from 1967 to 2009. Similarly, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila succeeded his father, Laurent-Désiré, after his assassination and remained as the head of state for 17 years.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has appointed his daughter Ange Kagame as the deputy executive director of the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President.

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“CCC’s Ian Makone Takes the Helm as Harare’s New Mayor with Kudzai Kadzombe as Deputy




The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has a new mayor in Harare. Ian Makone, who represents Ward 18, won the vote of the council on Monday, replacing Jacob Mafume from Ward 17. Kudzai Kadzombe, representing Ward 41, will serve as his deputy.

The CCC won a large majority in the election, taking 42 of the 45 council seats. Makone received 46 votes from the council, while his opponent, Temany Utete of Zanu PF, received only 7. Kadzombe won with 47 votes, compared to Susan Chuma of Zanu PF, who received 7. Party leader Nelson Chamisa instructed CCC councillors to vote for Makone and Kadzombe, and issued similar instructions for the election in Bulawayo.

In his first speech as mayor, Ian Makone pledged to prioritize service delivery to all residents, regardless of political affiliation. He also promised to tackle corruption and ensure that council workers are fairly paid. Tafadzwa Muguti, Harare’s secretary for provincial affairs, offered government support to the new council in addressing issues such as water supply, garbage collection, and sewer maintenance.

Overall, the message from the council and government officials was one of unity and shared responsibility for the well-being of Harare and its residents.

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