AS government winds up its first 100 days on Sunday, amid widespread frustration by many Zimbabweans over the failure to deliver on key objectives, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ministers have claimed progress during the period.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Mnangagwa was inaugurated on November 24 last year with ministers being sworn in on December 4 2017 after the ouster of former president Robert Mugabe by the military.
Mnangagwa, in a message on social media said the first 100 days had been a “time of action” in achieving set goals.
“Across all areas it has been a time of action,” Mnangagwa said in a video message on Facebook. “On the economy, we have passed a bold responsible budget that cut large swathes of waste, scaled back the Indigenisation Act to open the economy to investment.”
He also pointed to the cutting of excise duty on fuel, fighting corruption, giving those who externalised money amnesty to return it and demanding that ministers declare their assets as achievements during his first hundred days as President.
Mnangagwa, however, acknowledged the frustrations of many Zimbabweans at the slow pace of progress during the period.
The frustrations stem mainly from the government’s failure to address the liquidity crunch and acute cash shortage within the first 100 days dampening the high hopes the country’s citizens had in the new administration.
He has also failed to address low-hanging fruits such as the alignment of laws and changing the state broadcaster from being a Zanu PF mouthpiece to one that represents the views of other players such as opposition parties and civic society.
Mnangagwa’s fight against corruption has been largely seen as partisan as it is only targeting those who were part of the faction that had coalesced around former first lady Grace Mugabe known as G40.
Economist Eddie Cross said the government’s first 100 days has been a mixed bag.
“Resolving the cash crisis, for example, is not easy,” Cross said. “Unless you change course you cannot expect a different outcome. That has been a serious shortcoming.”
MDC-T leader and Mnangagwa’s likely strongest rival in the presidential election, Nelson Chamisa said the president’s 100 days were underlined by underperformance and failure to deliver in terms of the expectation of the people.
“The first failure of Mnangagwa was his failure to be inclusive in making sure that there is a transitional mechanism to usher in a new dispensation for our country. The new administration failed to articulate the benchmarks of the first 100 days as there was no plan other than what we asked from the ministries upon which we can then say on a catalogue of issues they have done five out of 10 or 10 out of 10 because they did not articulate the journey that they were going to travel, so right now it is being done nocturnally and nicodemously because we did not even know what they promised in terms of delivery,” Chamisa said.
“There has been a huge disappointment in the conduct of the administration because in the economic field, particularly on the cash front queues are still there, cash shortages are still abundant, in fact there is no cash to talk about. Economic reforms that had been indicated have not run to their full course, particularly in the opening Zimbabwe for business context.
He added: “You have also seen the human rights situation deteriorating, look at what has happened in the first 100 days we have lost lives under police brutality and it is not something encouraging or that we would appreciate and welcome. The issue of Itai Dzamara has not been attended to, we were expecting that the new administration would at least launch an inquiry into what happened consistent with the promises which were made by the previous regime, but also consistent with the court ruling that government has to update the nation on what happened to him. One life lost is a life far too important just to be ignored. Other human rights abuses haven’t been addressed.”
Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu said that among his ministry’s achievements during the 100-day period was the commissioning of the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters.
“We have started meeting our targets, which include the commissioning of the CID headquarters,” Mpofu said. “We are on course, we have a new police Commissioner-General (Godwin Matanga) as we restructure the entire police force with a view to have a lean and effective police service.”
Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said the first 100 days had been focussed on consultation of various stakeholders in her ministry to formulate a plan for the sector.
“The first assignment as part of my 100 day plan was to come up with a strategy for the tourism sector in Zimbabwe,” Mupfumira said. “We commenced the process through stakeholder consultation because my firm belief is that to come up with a strategy, you have to involve all stakeholders from government to the private sector.”
ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira said he had achieved a number of set objectives during the first 100 days.
“One of the things we decided we want to do as part of the 100 day plan was the building and establishing of 60 community information centres across the country. I can confirm that as of last week we had completed the refurbishment of the entire 60 post offices and 20 of them had been kitted with necessary gadgetry ready for work. The rest were still waiting for delivery of equipment which has been hamstrung by lack of foreign currency,” said Mandiwanzira.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira said during the period his ministry set up a skills audit which is nearing completion.
“We are also working on the investment plan to set up the coal to diesel plant (in Mutare). The framework is already there,” Murwira said.
Industry minister Mike Bimha said his ministry will have to sit down and review the 100-day period.
“Our 100-day deadline is not like that of the President (Sunday) our 100-day deadline is on 10 April,” Bimha said. “We are going to have meeting to review the period.”
Energy minister Simon Khaya Moyo declined to outline the ministry’s achievements, saying that he did not want to pre-empt his presentation to cabinet.
When contacted on the issue, Health minister David Parirenyatwa said he was in Plumtree and would only be available to discuss the achievements of the first 100 days next week.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is critical to reform, was unavailable for comment as he is out of the country on government business.
However, during the 100-day period he presented the 2018 national budget full of promises of reform.
The minister then came up with a series of reforms and austerity measures which he said could lead to a 4,5% growth in 2018.
Among the measures he took was the retiring of civil servants who are 65 or above, firing youth officers, reducing benefits of government officials and changing the indigenisation policy, limiting it to just the platinum and diamond sectors.