Zimbabwe cannot afford to deepen its economic crisis

Political unrest and instability brew in Zimbabwe over the country’s inconclusive July 30 presidential primaries, with three people killed in a protest that also saw scores injured.

While the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is yet to announce the final results of the polls which has seen ruling party Zanu-PF win a two-third majority in the national assembly supporters of the main opposition MDC embarked on protests against alleged electoral fraud.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed the opposition for the violence. “We hold the opposition MDC Alliance leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace which is meant to disrupt the electoral process. We hold the party and its leadership responsible for any loss of life, injury or damage to property which arises from political violence which they have aided and abated.”

Meanwhile, Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesperson of the MDC criticized the security forces for using excessive force to quell the protests.

Military personnel shooting and using sjamboks on unarmed protesters will not augur well for the southern African country that seeks to recover from an economic crisis dating back to the rule of Robert Mugabe.

In 2009, Zimbabwe was forced to abandon its currency and to adopt the dollar as its principal means of exchange. With no local currency, money supply became entirely dependent on inflows of dollars, in effect depriving the authorities control over monetary policy.

A political unrest does not reflect well on a country which Mnangagwa declared “open for business.” Investor confidence already waivers with the lack of a stable currency scarred by hyperinflation and a political crises would only deepen the uncertainty and spell further harm for the country.

Zimbabwe needs to get its house in order and tackle its bigger challenge. Importation already outweighs exportation. The problem is keeping the dollars in the country when imports massively outweighs exports and this is gradually making Zimbabwe increasingly less attractive for business.