President ED Mnangagwa in panic mode as economy plunges ahead of 2023 watershed elections


President Emmerson Mnangagwa summoned finance minister, Mthuli Ncube and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya, to a crisis meeting over the worsening economic condition, it has been learnt.

Multiple government sources told Business Times that the meeting held at the State House on Thursday, Mnangagwa demanded that Ncube and Mangudya should come up with concrete policy measures that can extricate the ailing economy from its woes.

“On Thursday last week, Ncube and Mangudya were called to the State House by HE (Emmerson Mnangagwa) to come up with solid and immediate solutions which could arrest runaway inflation, the volatile exchange rate and quick recovery to the ailing economy to avert disastrous ending the ruling party (ZANU-PF)’s demise,” a government source told Business Times.

“The party has promised the electorate some cakes but the situation on the ground has turned south causing the party bigwigs to panic. The government hierarchy is also panicking. They are not sure if the electorate would listen to them ahead of next year’s elections.”

But presidential spokesperson George Charamba said last night it was a routine meeting.

“Every week after Cabinet HE meets the finance team. It has been happening since the inauguration of the Second Republic. Always after Cabinet, there is that team which reviews the economy,” Charamba said.

He added: “Those who are saying that it was an emergency meeting between HE and the two economic principals because of the deteriorating state of the economy are not saying the truth and they want to use you to advance their cause.”

Thursday’s meeting came as the economy has tanked with runaway inflation which at 192% in June, has raised fears that history is repeating itself as Zimbabwe stares hyperinflation.

Rising prices and a depreciating local currency has seen some basic commodities being sold in foreign currency at a time the majority of Zimbabweans are earning in local currency.

This has reignited calls for the economy to redollarise to halt the slide. Government says the multi-currency regime is here to stay and it will not opt for the exclusive use of the greenback as the currency.

Prices of goods and services are going through the roof while the market is battling currency and exchange rate volatilities.

As a result, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe is now finding it difficult to calculate the monthly basket as prices are changing daily.

The economic downturn has thrown off track President Mnangagwa’s vision of creating an upper middle income economy by 2030.

It is also understood that ZANU-PF legislators were finding it difficult explaining the worsening economic situation to the electorate in their respective constituencies.

“ZANU-PF’s structures met in Harare to strategise on a quick economic recovery programme as they fear problems in the 2023 general elections. Stakeholders at the meeting resolved that the situation has to be rectified before it is too late,” another well-placed source said yesterday.

Other government sources said fear was growing in the governing party.

As a result the party’s main wing, the youth league, the women’s league and the war veterans were now meeting regularly to deliberate on ways to take the country out of the economic quagmire.

Some party supporters singled out Ncube for failing to address the economic crisis, but he continued to put on a brave face.

“Many party officials are baying for Ncube’s blood following his zvakangoreka banter (all is in order) saying he should be fired as he is misleading the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) into thinking that all is well at a time people are suffering,” he said.

Bigwigs stationed at the party’s headquarters have also expressed concern over the failing economy and its consequences for the party victory next year.

On Tuesday this week, Mangudya met with retailers and manufacturers to discuss ways of dealing with the crisis.

— Business Times

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