Uphill task for Chamisa as the odds are in favour of Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe prepares to vote


Mugabe might be gone but the old guard remains and ZANU-PF is unreformed and mostly unrepentant about the damage it has wrought to the country. Voters have had a while to assess their new President and now have the space to think about what kind of country they want.


Promises about the future are flying thick and fast as campaigning begins in earnest. The opposition MDC Alliance has focused its efforts on rebuilding the rural economy and improving livelihoods while ZANU-PF is, ironically, focusing on rebuilding the economy it helped destroy.

ZANU-PF’s election manifesto, "Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-engage and Create Jobs", pledges to transform Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030 by courting investment in all sectors but particularly in mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

"It will be no longer politics, politics, politics; but politics and economics," Mnangagwa told thousands of party delegates in Harare at the weekend.

Over the next five-year term the president says if given the mandate the party will target an annual growth rate of 6% over the period as well as $5bn in annual foreign direct investment inflows and double that in domestic investments.

It will raise capacity utilisation in industry to 90% from about 50% now. This is ambitious but not impossible if he manages the politics right.

But voters have heard it all before. In the country’s darkest days of economic collapse, Mugabe, with Mnangagwa at his side, trotted out a regular wish list.

New promises were made, old ones revived and the country continued to limp along. No plan was workable without the kind of political change the old guard, including Mnangagwa, found unpalatable.

It is only once the dust has settled on yet another volatile election that the true path for Zimbabwe will be clear, including whether the leaders have been just biding their time and behaving for the cameras during the transition to ensure they regain power, or whether a new path forward is really possible.


By Dianna Games for the Financial Mail


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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