President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party is struggling to deliver on its election promises, nearly 10 months after winning a controversial election in July last year.
Riding on the crest of goodwill of Zimbabweans who were too eager to see the back of former president Robert Mugabe, Zanu-PF made the electorate dream big with its overambitious election manifesto.
But so far nothing of what the party undertook to deliver to the electorate has come through.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo admitted to the Daily News on Sunday this week that the prevailing economic conditions have made it difficult for the party to fulfil the promises made in the run up to the July 30 elections.
“Whether we are going to achieve our goals depends on the economy, but we remain focussed. We are faced with a difficult economy, we have gone through a dry season – most parts of the country did not have adequate rainfalls. We have had a tragic Cyclone Idai, all these things mean a lot but we remain focused,” said Khaya-Moyo.
In its election manifesto, the ruling party said it will end endemic corruption and politics of patronage.
To the contrary, graft is getting worse, with President Mnangagwa admitting recently that the vice now pervades even the institutions of justice.
Politics of patronage has also continued unabated, with critics accusing Mnangagwa of favouring one tribe (Kalanga) in his appointments.
Zanu-PF has also promised to rehabilitate and establish at least one vocational training centre per administrative district, ensure Treasury allocates at least 15 percent of the national budget to healthcare in line with the Abuja Declaration and establish at least one new hospital per administrative district by 2023.
With the economy in turmoil, analysts doubt if any of these promises will be achieved in the current five-year term.
In the 2019 National Budget, Treasury was only able to allocate $694,5 million towards the ministry of Health and Child Care, which is nine percent of the total budget.
Another of its promises made was to deliver at least 1,5 million affordable housing to the people in the next five years in collaboration with the private sector.
An undertaking was also made not to move or destroy property unless settled on land designated for schools, clinics or roads.
All these plans are in ruins with Mnangagwa’s government now battling demands for better paycheques from its restive employees.
Asked what the ruling party is doing to turn around the economy, Khaya Moyo said some of the things affecting the country are beyond Zanu-PF.
“We are not in charge of natural disasters, people are well informed, people see for themselves what is happening and what we are doing. We are quite sure that if the economy improves, we are going to achieve all our goals,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in freefall, with prices of basics shooting up.
According to the United Nations, more than five million people are faced with hunger this year and more and more families now live on less than a dollar a day.
A loaf of bread which was retailing at 95 cents when Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017 is now going for over $3.
This week, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency revealed that the cost of living for an average Zimbabwean family of five has shot up to $873 in March from $827 in February.
Political analyst Stephen Chan said it is evident that the standard of living of most Zimbabweans will further decline.
“I have been saying for some time that the only way forward is to negotiate and agree an IMF programme, but that will require much repayment and servicing of debt, with renegotiation and possible rolling over of other debt,” said Chan.
“The country has survived since the early 2000s on borrowing. Now, not even the Chinese will loan large sums any more. But IMF conditionality will mean, in my estimation, at least five years of severe austerity – with living conditions becoming worse than what they are now – before light appears at the end of that tunnel.
“Zanu-PF does not have the political will to engage with such a programme, nor really the economic imagination to negotiate the debt with the IMF.
“So it’s just holding on, tinkering at the margins, introducing a national currency by stealth that will only lead to high inflation, not increasing production, and protecting the oligarchs who form the high Zanu-PF,” said Chan.
Another political analyst Admire Mare said Mnangagwa has to do more if the country is going to emerge from the crisis.
“I think we need to differentiate political grandstanding during elections and real service delivery after elections. Grandiose political promises by Zanu-PF were aimed at enticing voters but as we are seeing now it’s hard to fulfil some of these high sounding promises.
“The country continues to face cash shortages, liquidity challenges, dilapidated infrastructure and the resurgence of fuel shortages. These are certainly making it difficult for the country to transform into a middle income country.
“Unemployment continues to rise and more companies close shop. There is need for structural political, economic and social reforms to ensure Zimbabwe moves forward,” said Mare.