President Emmerson Mnangagwa on February 12 held a rally in Epworth, Harare, to canvass support for Zanu PF candidates in the by-elections to be held on March 26.
During this speech, Mnangagwa made several claims about the economy. Here, we check a few of those claims.
Claim: Half of Harare city councillors face corruption charges
According to Mnangagwa, the city council, dominated by opposition councillors, must be voted out as half of them are in court for corruption.
He said: “Harare City Council, over half of them, are facing charges in court over corruption. So when we vote, we have a chance to replace them.”
This is untrue.
Harare has 46 wards, each represented by a councillor.
There have been arrests of councillors in the current term of council. This includes the arrest of the former mayor, Herbert Gomba and other officials in July 2020 on allegations of corruption and abuse of office. Gomba’s replacement, Jacob Mafume was also arrested in the same year, accused of corruption. In 2020, six councillors and council officials were arrested on various allegations.
However, the number of all reported arrests does not support Mnangagwa’s claim that half of Harare’s councillors face corruption charges.
Claim: Wheat production has risen under Mnangagwa government
In his speech, Mnangagwa boasted that wheat output has increased since he came to power, as a result of policies such as increasing irrigation.
He said: “When the second republic came to power, we were producing only 70-80 000MT tonnes (MT) per year. With our programme to increase wheat production, we are now around 220 000MT.”
His claim is backed by official data.
Zimbabwe produced 337 212 tonnes of wheat in 2021, according to data from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). By February 15, 2022, a total of 208 103 tonnes of wheat had been delivered to the GMB, while a further 3 000 tonnes had been sold directly to millers, according to a Cabinet statement. Production was 186 243 tonnes in 2017 and 16 660 in 2018.
In the 2021 season, 66 435 hectares were put under wheat, the third-highest hectarage since independence, according to government data. The hectarage was only surpassed by 2004 and 2005 seasons in which hectarage was 70 585ha and 67 261ha, respectively.
Of the 2021 crop, 44 295ha was funded through a government guarantee of $1,57 billion to CBZ Agroyield to lend to farmers.
According to the 2022 national budget presented in November 2021, Zimbabwe expected its wheat import bill to be US$72,5 million last year, which would be 29,1% less that in the previous year.
Claim: The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) has listed new companies each month since launch.
According to Mnangagwa: “Since we launched VFEX, every month, or every other month, two or three international companies are registered with VFEX. So foreign currency is now coming in from outside, because this stock exchange at international level.” This is not true.
Since it was launched in December 2021, VFEX has attracted four listings; Seed Co International, Padenga Holdings, Caledonia Mining Corporation and Bindura Nickel Corporation.