Tuesday, 24 April 2018

"Zimbabwe is open for business!" cried ED in Davos, SA, ... now ZITF - still no investors, why W Mukori

For the last 38 years Zimbabwe’s economy has been in decline and yet year on year without failure our political leaders have said steadfastly refused to even acknowledge the decline and talked of economic doom. When they were finally forced to acknowledge the economic decline, they have talked how they had fit on the answers to guarantee economic recovery.

If the country’s economic problems had been dealt with openly and honestly, in which failure was acknowledge and those responsible held to democratic account, the country would not be in the mess it is in today. Zimbabwe’s economy is in total meltdown. Unemployment is a nauseating 90% and has been 80% plus for the last decade already. Worse still, there is no reason to believe things are ever going to improve because, instead of dealing with country’s problems honestly, we continue to hear the same empty promises founded on conjuncture and wishful thinking.

“The ZITF remains an important platform to promote trade and investment for Zimbabwe, and is quite strategic under the new economic order of Government,” said President Mnangagwa. He was opened 59th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

“The theme for ZITF 2018, "Sustainable Industrial Development: Inclusive-Competitive-Collaborative" articulates an important pillar of the new trajectory that has prioritised industrialisation to contribute to sustained economic recovery of Zimbabwe.

“The Government is making significant strides to put in place and effect viable policies and strategies to improve the business operating environment and address challenges that have affected industrial development and growth. Attracting both domestic and foreign investments, mobilising funding for industrial development, supporting the agriculture and mining sectors, and infrastructure development, are key priority areas of focus expected to help attain sustained economic growth and development.

But that is just the point, you keep talking of “the new economic order”, conducive to economic recovery, when there no such order and thus the recovery will remain a mirage!

Mr President, for the last five months, you have been selling the nation and the world at large the notion that the removal of Robert Mugabe from the presidency, booting a few of his G40 friends from power and the scrapping of a few obnoxious laws have completely transformed Zimbabwe. The country has shed-off its pariah state ruled by thugs status to become a democratic nation given to holding free elections and to upholding the rule of law. If all these things have happened, they would certainly constitute a new order; none of them have happened!

The regime says it has “zero tolerance policy towards corruption”. Yes, some G40 Zanu PF members have been arrested but no one else. It is nonsensical to even suggest that only G40 faction members in the party were corrupt. It is no secret that many of the November 2017 coup plotter also benefited of the wholesale looting of Chiadzwa and Marange diamonds. Whilst some people have since been brought before a Parliamentary Committee investigating the looting, the Army top brass is yet to do so. 

The “new dispensation”, as President Mnangagwa and his coup junta want to call themselves, had the golden opportunity to prove, beyond all doubt, that it was not the same corrupt, vote rigging and ruthless thugs by keeping its promise to hold free, fair and credible elections. The regime has time and time again scuffed its lines!

President Mnangagwa appointed retired Major Engelbert Rugeje, Zanu PF National Political Commissar. Rugeje in notorious for having led the Zanu PF military and party thugs who harassed, beat, rape and even murdered civilians in the election mayhem of 2008. The party was punishing the people for rejecting Mugabe in the earlier vote. The wanton violence of that year has been the benchmark of the nauseating heights of political barbarism Zanu PF would climb in its resolve to retain power at all cost. If President Mnangagwa was serious about transforming Zanu PF, then why would he appoint a notorious political thug to head the party’s organization, education and indoctrination! 

President Mnangagwa bought and dished out the twin cab trucks to all the country’s 282 Chiefs; Robert Mugabe had already promised to do this before he was deposed. Everyone knows that the Chiefs have always done a sterling job of carolling and frog marching rural voters to vote for Zanu PF. ED was making the down payment to the Chiefs to make sure they never tire!

The regime has refused to implement even one of the many democratic reforms Zanu PF had agreed to at the start 2008 GNU. It is impossible to see how the country can have free and fair elections without a free media, verifiable voters’ roll, independent ZEC, with the Army and Police meddling in the election process, etc.

President Mnangagwa has made his trademark “Zimbabwe is open for business!” proclamation from every platform, for these last five months. Sadly, there have been very few foreign and local investors who have taken up the invitation for one simple reason, they are not convinced Zimbabwe has changed.

No investors like to do business in a country that rigs elections and the next regime change can only be yet another military coup!

“I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is Open for Business. Both domestic and foreign investors are welcome to invest and do business in Zimbabwe and tap the diverse opportunities offered by all sectors of industry including investing in Special Economic Zones and infrastructure development,” continue President Mnangagwa.

Well, you can reiterate you call a thousand times a day, if you wish; no investors are coming. The idea that the November coup could ever transformer Zanu PF is laughable!

After 38 years of enjoying absolute political power, murderous abuse of power and some of the worst cases of looting in human history Zanu PF thugs have become addicted to power and the luxuries it brought along; Mnangagwa and the junta stage the coup, risking their very lives, because they could not bear the prospect of giving it all up. The junta has one additional reason why it cannot hold free and fair elections and risk losing to the opposition, with a dirty past, they can imagine the nightmare of having it all come out!

The nearly four decades in power had allowed Zanu PF dictatorship to grow into a monster in both numerical head count and in political power as the party’s influence extended its reach into every section and façade of the nation. The rot in the leaders was so deep set the party could only be transformed by uprooting the corrupt, vote rigging and tyrannical members. The November coup boot out of the party Robert Mugabe and a dozen or so others – nowhere near enough to justify President Mnangagwa’s claim the party was a “new dispensation”.

The party’s refusal to give up its dictatorial powers including the carte blanche power to rig elections has confirm Zanu PF has not change one bit; it is still a party of corrupt vote-rigging thugs.

So, as long as the “new dispensation”, “new era”, “new trajectory”, “new economic order”, remain fragments of President Mnangagwa and his coup junta’s imagination, no different from many imaginary changes by Robert Mugabe and his cronies; economic recovery will too remain a mirage. With unemployment already at 90%, ¾ of the people living on US$1.00 or less a day, etc. Zimbabwe cannot afford another rigged elections and another five more years celebrating imaginary economic recovery because real people need real jobs!

The booting out of Robert Mugabe from Zanu PF, influential as he clearly was, was not enough to transform Zimbabwe from a pariah state to a democratic one “open for business. Just as one swallow does not constitute a summer, Zanu PF will have to hold free, fair and credible elections to prove its Damascene democratic claims are not just a figment of President Mnangagwa’s wishful thinking.


  1. "Political contestation must not override national interest. This is the new thinking…if an opposition candidate is victorious in the elections President Mnangagwa is prepared to accept. Political contestation must not override national interests. People can come and go, but the state is more important," said Foreign Affairs Minister, S B Moyo.

    I particularly like the emphasis on "new thinking". We have heard a lot about "new era", "new dispensation", "new Zimbabwe", etc., etc. At this rate, if we were to have another coup these guys will have to start turning back the clock just to underline how new is really NEW!

    I say there is nothing new here, it is all the same rubbish branded as new!

    Are we to take it that when Tsvangirai won 73% in March 2008 and Zanu PF refused to accept the result it was the OLD thinking? I am loathed to accept that for three good reasons:

    1) President Mnangagwa and the junta who stage the November coup, not Mugabe, were instrumental in reject the 2008 defeat. By their own admission, the junta has said Zanu PF was transformed into a "new dispensation" because it removed Mugabe and the criminal elements around him. In other words, the coup did not change Mnangagwa and the rest of the junta in anyway or form. So, if ED and the junta saw nothing wrong in refusing to accept opposition victory is 2008 why should they do so this time?

    2) Mnangagwa and the junta have just stage a military coup when they hold on power was threatened to wrestle power from Mugabe. Now that they are the ones in power, staging an excuse why they cannot handover power would a far easier challenge than the November coup. We are to take their word of honour they will accept defeat when honour is the one thing they do not have!

    3) If the junta is truly interested in promoting the national interest then why has the regime pointed refused to implement the democratic reforms without which it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold free, fair and credible elections. So, the regime is willingly accepting defeat of an election process it has carte blanche powers to rig.

    If the democratic reforms were all implemented include security sector reforms severing the undemocratic hold Zanu PF has on the military there would be no fear of Zanu PF thugs refusing to give up power and staging another coup as they did in 2008. These elections should not go ahead without the reforms and since Zanu PF is determined to hold them regardless our protestation we must state it now, before the elections, that the whole process is flawed and illegal and therefore is per se null and void. We should not even be wasting time negotiating anything with Zanu PF.

  2. "What is required and would be enough is a statement from the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Valerio Sibanda, made here in Zimbabwe and addressed to the citizens of Zimbabwe making an unequivocal and unconditional undertaking to the people that the military recognises and accepts the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe to freely choose their government and that once they have done so the armed forces will not only fully respect the decision of the people but will in fact defend and protect that decision," said Welshman Ncube.
    "Secondly, the Commander of the Defence Forces must immediately withdraw all army personnel that have been deployed among the people in rural areas as part of the Zanu PF election strategy."
    This is the kind of nonsense the nation has come to expect from these MDC idiots. Even if the Army was to issue such a statement and withdraw the soldiers, what guarantees are there that the Army and the regime would keep its word?
    What we need is to implement the democratic reforms designed to cut the undemocratic umbilical cord we know exist between Zanu PF and the Army, Police, ZEC and all the other state institutions once and once for all and stop all this messing around.
    It is little wonder not even one democratic reform was even implemented in the five years of the GNU; with idiotic leaders like Ncube, Biti, Chamisa, etc. nothing of substance will ever be done.

  3. @ Mbombo

    As long as Zanu Pf have carte blanche power to rig the elections he knows Zanu PF will never lose the elections so he can promise anything! Mugabe promise 2.2 million jobs last time knowing Zanu PF will never be held to account, same thing here!

  4. With the economy in such a mess that 90% are unemployed, 3/4 are living on US$1.00 or less a day, hundreds of thousands dying unnecessarily, etc., etc. there is one thing we, in Zimbabwe, must surely agree on - WE NEED A SOLUTION TO OUR ECONOMIC MELTDOWN.

    After five months of "Zimbabwe is open for business!" it is a fact that no investors have answered that call.

    If the truth be told, with so much now stake it must be said from the roof top, no serious thinking person out there really expected the flood of investors to come because investors do not do business in pariah state ruled by corrupt, vote-rigging and murderous thugs.

    Only fools believe President Mnangagwa and the junta's foolish notion that booting out Mugabe and a few G40 members out of the party was enough to turn corrupt and ruthless thugs like Minister Shiri, VP Chiwenga and President Mnangagwa, himself; into law abiding and competent and visionary leaders. Investors, of all the people out there, are certainly not fools!

    When President Mnangagwa was being coy about holding free and fair elections, he only confirmed the investors’ gut feeling that all this talk of new Zimbabwe was all hot air.

    We have millions of ordinary Zimbabweans out there whose lives is a living hell-on-earth, has been for decades in many cases, who want something done to end the economic meltdown. The starting point is to publicly state that Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business!” is not even a painkiller much less a cure. It is time-wasting placebo, at best, if not a downright sugar coated poison – after all it is 38 years of taking placebos that have landed us in this mess, a small cut has now turned into a life-threaten gangrine!

  5. @ Enos Denhere

    One sure way of chasing away investors in to create the impression that the country is a lawless one ruled by thugs who do not pay their debt, rig elections, etc., etc. which is exactly what Zimbabwe has become under Zanu PF. The coup did not change the dictatorial instinct of President Mnangagwa, VP Chiwenga, Minister Shiri and the other Zanu PF thugs and minions.

    When now Foreign Minister S B Moyo announced to the world that there was no military coup in Zimbabwe but rather "a military assisted transition" he was summing up what has become the Mnangagwa led Zanu PF regime's narcissist obsession with appearance at the expense of reality and substance. The junta even had the country's supreme court judges to endorse the coup as "legal". The country's legal system, like so many other institutions, has been corrupted by Zanu PF, there was no need to hold the gun to any of the judges' head in this case.

    What we can be certain of is that investors are not easily fooled, they are concerned with reality and not appearances, they know Zimbabwe is still a pariah state ruled by corrupt, vote-rigging thugs who are just trying to pull wool over everyone's eyes.

    Zimbabwe will never have the much needed FDI; needed to kick-start the economic recovery after decades of neglect, decay and criminal waste; as long as Zimbabwe remains a pariah state ruled by thugs!

  6. I do not know if we are living in the same Zimbabwe with this Wilbert---this weekend a delegation from China landed in Zimbabwe to implement with immediate effect an investment worth $3 billion and every detail of this investment has been given both by state and press.Here it is again for the uninformed:

    1) Refurbishment of Hwange power generation units 7and 8---this will result in the generation of an additional 600W of power ---- power is the most important basis for any further industrial expansion so this is a very appropriate and smart move.

    2) Refurbishment of RG Mugabe airport----most investors in the country will come through this airport---it is so to speak, the door through which the money will flow!

    3) The drilling of an ADDITIONAL 500 boreholes---the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on another dam---the upgrading of some other dam to get adequate water supply to Harare----the setting up of a tourist industrial park

    All together, these activities have already stated, the money has been released and its a whopping $3 billion---WHAT INVESTMENT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WILBERT---when a journo suffers from intense writers block---he must take a sabbatical---otherwise we shall be forced to implement OPERATION RESTORE CREDIBLE JOURNALISM!

    @ Noble Ngara

    Just a couple of things that you have confirmed:

    1) There have been no investors from Davos, the West, Africa, etc. who have shown any interest because they all can see that Zimbabwe is still very much a pariah state ruled by thugs or be it under new management. Investors do not do business with thugs, period!

    2) All the projects above are from one "investor", the Chinese government. When Mugabe went around begging for funds for his $27 billion ZimAsset, it was only the Chinese who throw into the begging bowl a few unsigned cheques worth $3 billion. The Chinese do not mind that the elections are going to be rigged - they do not even hold elections - but they know corruption is still rampant in Zimbabwe and that is the only reason they too did not want to do business with Mugabe. They know Mnangagwa will be better but not much better because he too has failed to stop the looting in Marange.

    The Chinese know with not meaningful economic recovery Zimbabwe is doomed. They have refused to give Zanu PF cash to ease the cash shortage because they know that is a black hole. Funding specific projects is a safer bet because they will have something to show for it.

    President Mnangagwa and his junta are rigging these elections, it is in their DNA as thugs to do so.

    But by rigging the elections the regime will confirm beyond doubt that Zanu PF is a party of thugs and also confirm there will be no investors. The country's economic decline will continue. As much as the Chinese would want to keep Zimbabwe under their sphere of influence they are shrewd enough to also know that regime change in Zimbabwe has been long overdue. The people of Zimbabwe are pretty fed-up with Zanu PF and so is SADC and the rest of the world.

    My prediction is that the international observers are going to declare the coming elections null and void because none of them can ever pretend that elections with no free media; no verifiable voters' roll; where key state institutions like ZEC, Police, etc. are so powerless they are all but departments in Zanu PF in all but name; etc. can ever be free, fair and credible. Zimbabwe is going to go back to implementing the democratic reforms it should have implemented during the GNU!