2-9 September 2015
Compiled by – MIGS Desk Officer for Zimbabwe – Mike Taylor
- Economic issues
- Political developments
*The Herald, Zanu PF’s most vocal publication continues to be inaccessible from my location in Canada. Hence there are developments in state-controlled which I remain unable to address in this report.
1. Economic issues
Southern Eye, September 3, 2015 “MDC Renewal plans anti-Mugabe protests” by Nqobani Ndlovu
- MDC Renewal has announced that it plans to stage “wildcat” demonstration after its congress next week. The protests will be aimed at forcing Zanu PF to address Zimbabwe’s worsening economic situation.
- The “mobilization exercise” is expected to take place between September 9 and 11, according to the party’s Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Fortune Mlalazi.
- Mlalazi also said that Mugabe should appreciate the patience that the population of Zimbabwe has demonstrated in the face of economic adversity.
- Mlalazi also said that the party was prepared to face violence organized by the state. Past demonstrations have resulted in crackdowns by the government on protestors, with organizers often facing assault and detention. Last month, MDC Renewal was forced to postpone its congress as police withdrew clearance for the meeting at the last instant.
Daily News, September 3, 2015 “Mugabe Panics” by Fungi Kwaramba
- Faced with economic collapse and the threat of mass unrest, Robert Mugabe appears to have been forced to engage in economic reforms.
- Economists have said that the humanitarian and economic problems faced by Zimbabwe are at levels last seen in 2008. At the time, the Zimbabwe dollar ceased to circulate.
- NKC African Economics, a unit of Oxford Economics, has predicted the potential for mass unrest to erupt over the economic situation in Zimbabwe.
- Zanu PF has changed a law declaring that 51 per cent of ownership needing to in the hands of indigenous Zimbabweans would now only apply to the mining sector. Previously, this aspect of indigenization covered several other sectors.
- This seems to have prompted Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, to invest in the country.
- Many of the changes to indigenization and other aspects of economic restrictions on foreign investors were changed earlier this month with the passing of the Labour Amendment Bill.
- Former Finance Minister, and member of MDC Renewal, Tendai Biti, said that the government could not be trusted to keep economic promises. He likened Zanu PF’s economic plans to make-up that would not “hoodwink” investors.
- Analysts have said that “Zimbabwe is dying” as worsening liquidity challenges, company closures and job losses plague the country. Current unemployment in Zimbabwe is estimated to be at 95 per cent.
Daily News, September 5, 2015 “Zim life to get worse, darker” by Ndakaziva Majaka
- Power outages have hit Zimbabwe as its economy continues in a downward spiral. This could have a negative impact on companies that have not yet closed their doors by halting production.
- Zesa Holdings, Zimbabwe’s power authority announced that Hwange Thermal Power Station would be undergoing maintenance until early October. Kariba hydro station has a reduced output due to depleted water levels in the Kariba Dam.
- Zimbabwe is currently producing half of its national needs for power. Many parts of the country are facing up to 16 hours per day without power.
- The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said that the outages were disastrous for Zimbabwe’s remaining producers.
- Zimplats, a Zimbabwean platinum producer is currently importing electricity from Mozambique.
Zimbabwe Independent, September 7, 2015 “Zimbabwe finance minister: China slowdown won’t affect FDI, big projects” by Reuters
- China has emerged as the biggest investor in Zimbabwe after Western governments clashed with Zanu PF. The Zimbabwean government also clashed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
- But China’s projected slowing growth has given world markets a scare and is of particular concern to Zimbabwe which relies heavily on the economic giant.
- Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, said that despite the slowdown, investments would continue to flow into Zimbabwe. Chinamasa said that he “think[s] that the appetite remains” among Chinese investors and companies.
- Chinamasa said that while various infrastructure projects were expected to continue, commodity exports are expected to remain stagnant as world prices remain low.
- Chinamasa also said that Zimbabwe plans to meet with international monetary institutions to which it is in arrears to discuss how to deal with its debt.
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, September 3, 2015 “Zim a land of investment opportunities” by Tafara Shumba
- Investors such as Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote who is worth an estimated $17 billion see Zimbabwe as a glass half full.
- Investors in the West see an adverse and hopeless situation in Zimbabwe, while Dangote sees Zimbabwe as a land of opportunity.
- His investments in the country will go a long way to turn around a Zimbabwean economy ravaged by several years of sanctions imposed by the West.
- The news of Dangote’s investments in the country is troublesome for MDC-T which always seeks to take advantage of economic crises. MDC-T has been putting pressure on Robert Mugabe to consider another inclusive government, but investments such as those of Dangote become problematic for MDC-T’s ambitions.
- Other investors are expected to take a cue from Dangote.
The Sunday Mail, September 8, 2015 “About 95 percent of employers unhappy with new labour law: Survey”
- Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC) has conducted a survey on the topic on the recent amendments to the Labour Act. The survey has revealed that 95 per cent of employers are unhappy with the changes.
- Most employers are failing to pay workers whose contracts were terminated due to a July 17, 2015 Supreme Court ruling. As many as 20,000 workers may have lost their jobs due to the ruling.
- Five per cent of employers said the amendments to the Labour Act were fair and provided for expedited dispute resolution.
2. Political developments
Daily News, September 8, 2015 “Defiant Mujuru hunts Mugabe” by Fungi Kwaramba
- Joice Mujuru has given official written notice that she will be taking on President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 national elections. If Zanu PF does not resort to violence to maintain its grip on power, that means that completion for the presidency would be a three-way race between Mugabe, Mujuru and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
- Mujuru wrote that she was working hard to prepare for the challenge and apologized on behalf of herself and her colleagues in Zanu “People First” for their failures when they were a part of Zanu PF.
- Mujuru said she wanted to see Zimbabwe move forward as a member of the international community. She wrote of a desire for freedom, prosperity and democracy.
- *State-controlled media has not commented on this story as far as I can ascertain. It is possible that The Herald has reported on this story, but the newspaper’s website remains inaccessible from my location.