ZANU PF has apparently broken ranks with its leader and told Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube that he is offside regarding the new 2% tax which has triggered anger among citizens and pandemonium in the local currency market.
A long-standing currency crunch and the new tax on electronic transactions have stoked a fresh bout of chaos for the country’s wrecked economy.
Zimbabwe now has fuel queues snaking for hours, prices spiking and some food and medicines running out.
There were clashes between anti-riot police and activists in central Harare Thursday as the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) protested the new tax resulting in several arrests.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier in the week said that there was no reversal of the new reforms that now await a legal instrument before coming into effect.
“For us to become a viable economy, a solid economy, we are going to take measures that are painful and this is one of such measures,” he said.
But then Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu – now permanently ensconced at the party headquarters along with other senior officials shunted out of government by Mnangagwa – told journalists Wednesday that the ruling party had not been consulted before the new policy was announced.
“The so-called the new financial reforms which have caused price hikes … were done without consultations and Zanu PF will not allow that.
“Zanu PF will never allow that,” said Mpofu.
However, clarifying the apparent confusion, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said there had been initial misunderstandings before everything was explained.
“As you heard, the minister insisted that there were exemptions to cushion the vulnerable. We don’t want to over-tax the poor and the party has since been briefed.
“We are on the same page now, Zanu PF and the government,” said Khaya Moyo.
He added that Prof Ncube “now” has the support of the party and should “follow all legal channels to implement the new policy.”
Mpofu said Thursday that problems are arising because Zanu PF was now a new centre of power with supremacy over government.
“I think government is used to coming up with policies after their deliberations which it then pronounces,” he explained.
“Zanu PF previously did not have a permanent structure to which government was answerable.
“Now we have a permanent structure and that needs to be consulted before any policy pronouncement.”
Under former president Robert Mugabe, the Zanu PF politburo was used to rubber-stamp government decisions and vice versa.