HomeCommentEmpty Coffers Threaten Govt’s 100-day Plan

Empty Coffers Threaten Govt’s 100-day Plan

GOVERNMENT’S 100-day plan to get the country “working again” is plausible but its implementation will be hamstrung by lack of financial resources, political analysts have said.

The analysts said the major threat to the success of the plan would be the inability of the inclusive government to raise money from the international community as a result of the unresolved outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA).

The international community is yet to loosen its purse strings on Zimbabwe arguing that it needs to see the full implementation of the GPA and genuine power-sharing between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Since the formation of the unity government, the principals to the GPA — Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — have been negotiating with no success on the outstanding issues, which include the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the re-appointment of Gideon Gono as central bank governor.

The other sticking point is the refusal of Mugabe to swear in MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister, the failure to convene a meeting of the National Security Council and the decision by the president to remove the communication department from the Ministry of Information Communication Technology headed by Nelson Chamisa.

The MDC-T has since said Sadc and the African Union, the guarantors of the GPA, should intervene to resolve the sticking points, although Zanu PF insisted that the principals were yet to declare a stalemate on the matters.

The analysts said as long as the outstanding issues were not resolved and cases of reported farm invasions are not stopped, continued arrests of human rights activists and journalists, Zimbabwe will not get the much needed funds to bankroll the 100-day plan and the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp).

The country needs US$8,3 billion to revive its economy and has so far raised US$1 billion.

The African Development Bank has said it will provide budgetary support only if outstanding issues were resolved, while Botswana has warned that the international community might withdraw pledges to help the reconstruction of Zimbabwe if Mugabe and Zanu PF do not stop the alleged violation of the power-sharing pact.

The 100-day plan was launched in the capital by Prime Minister Tsvangirai last week after it was adopted by cabinet on April 28. It is supposed to run up to August 6.

The plan was targeted to give practical effect to September’s GPA and Sterp.

It divided the 31 line ministries into five clusters — economic; infrastructure; social; rights and interests; and security.

Each of the clusters developed key result areas at the March ministerial retreat at Victoria Falls which must be met within the given time frame.

The economic cluster, the key to the success of the plan, was charged with the responsibility to mobilise resources to finance utilities providing water, sanitation, power, water, transport and other social services.

It must finance the agricultural winter wheat and tobacco crop, mobilise lines of credit to boost industry capacity utilisation levels, foreign direct investments and budgetary support and aid inflows.

The cluster, headed by Finance minister Tendai Biti, is expected to achieve and sustain microeconomic stabilisation, including price stability and coming up with a supportive legal and regulatory framework for the economy — inclusive of ensuring the security of people and assets, as well as a land audit.

It would also be in charge of reforming the public sector — chiefly the civil service, parastatals, local authorities, the central bank and the public finance management system and the results-based management system — create a functional financial system and facilitate the re-branding of the country.

Theresa Makone, the Public Works minister, chairs the infrastructure cluster that is charged with the responsibility to review the current status of each ministry; review and implement policy; spearhead the construction, rehabilitation and refurbishment of infrastructure; pay and retain key skills in each ministry and introduce electronic-enabled services.

The social cluster is chaired by Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo which is charged with spearheading institutional development; coming up with a social safety net with special attention on food security and BEAM, creating an environment where affordable and functional basic services would be accessible; human resources placement, deployment and motivation; embark on resuscitation and rehabilitation targeting local authorities, schools, clinics and vocational training centres; and engender the constitution-making structure, process and product.

Patrick Chinamasa, Justice and Legal Affairs minister, chairs the rights and interests cluster whose mandate would be to review media policy and laws within the lifespan of the plan.

The cluster should also facilitate the establishment and functioning of the parliamentary select committee to kick-start the constitutional reform process, the appointment of independent commissions and to disseminate copies of the GPA in English, Shona, Ndebele and other local languages; improving the justice delivery system including the restoration of prisoners’ rights; facilitating the country’s re-engagement with the international community at the economic and political levels; and launching and facilitating the establishment of the machinery for national healing, reconciliation and integration.

The security cluster — made up of the Defence, Home Affairs and National Security ministries is mandated to support Sterp in line with constitutional provisions and motivate officers to increase peacekeeping operations involvement such as fulfilling the country’s obligations to the United Nations, African Union and Sadc.    

Analysts said although the plan was plausible, it would remain a wish list for the inclusive government as long as it fails to mobilise external financial resources to bankroll it.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the 100-day plan was well thought-out, but without financial aid it would be difficult to implement.

“The implementation of the plan is dependent on aid and investment coming in,” Masunungure said. “There has been free little in terms of aid flowing into the country after the formation of the inclusive government.”

He said aid would largely depend on the resolution of the outstanding issues of the GPA.

A group of lawyers, Veritas, said international donors were disappointed that government was failing to embark on law reforms outlined in the GPA at a time when “lawyers and media practitioners involved in defending or reporting on political detainees have been arrested, farm-related violence has not been curbed and there has been a 700% increase in student arrests, detentions and suspensions on political grounds this April compared with April last year.”

The lawyers claimed that foreign investors were concerned by delays in dealing with corruption, nepotism and reform of government’s indigenisation laws.

“What could also set back the plan is the threat by civil servants to strike unless their demands are met and by trade unions to call for a general labour strike,” Veritas said.  “It is a vicious circle — without the economy being revived the government cannot meet civil service and labour demands but if there is strike action the economy and plans for its revival will be set back.”

Zimbabwe-born South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere said for the plan to succeed, the inclusive government should start focusing on coherence and the need to ensure that it is united and not a three-in-one government.

“The three principals seem to work together in private but in public it is evident that you have three views on what kind of Zimbabwe they want to see,” Mawere said. “Confidence building goes beyond the resolution of the outstanding issues which appear to be more focussed on deployment of party members into the state rather than delivering on the promise. Change must be credible and believable. What is clear is that the government needs to have one control centre. Sovereignty needs one address and accountability. This must be clarified for the good of the nation.”

He said there was a worry that there appears to be confusion at the top on key constitutional and legal issues governing the transition.

“I do not believe the targets set out in the 100-day plan will be met. Consensus on what is outstanding and what is good for the country to move forward is urgently called for,” Mawere said. “Success for the plan can be secure if people are willing to share the credit. At present there appears to be no incentive to put Zimbabwe first.”

During the launch of the plan, Tsvangirai warned that the successful implementation of government policy would falter if the GPA was not fully implemented.

“Sadly, there appears to be a reluctance by residual elements from the old government to obstruct and frustrate the successful implementation of the GPA,” Tsvangirai said. “This attitude, should it continue, will limit the effective implementation of the 100-day plan and subsequently impact negatively on our ability to make a positive difference to the lives of all Zimbabweans.”

He said what continued to plague Zimbabwe was the reluctance by some quarters to accept the reality of the changes taking place within the country.

Tsvangirai added: “This residual resistance represents an unwillingness to accept the fact that the new political dispensation is not only irreversible, but also offers the country the only viable way forward.

“The continued violations of the rule of law and the GPA prevent the inflows of development aid, obstructing a progressive legislative agenda and risk keeping Zimbabwe mired poverty and the fear of persecution.”

He said if the parties to the GPA had the political will to abide by the letter and spirit of the pact, outstanding issues could be resolved immediately and in doing so, the country would have proved to the international community “that we are genuine and serious about restoring Zimbabwe to its rightful place” in the community of nations.


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