By James Muonwa
FORMER Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has blamed Mthuli Ncube for failing to tame spiralling prices of basic commodities, which are militating against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election bid for a second and final term.
In recent weeks, the value of Zimbabwe’s local currency has dropped dramatically by the day.
This has seen prices of basic commodities rising with retailers demanding USD for goods and services, putting pressure on government to restore stability, albeit Ncube’s firefighting policies which have not yielded positive results.
A 10kg bag of Red Seal Super Roller Meal now costs ZW$27 999 up from an average of ZW$4 800.
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Commenting on the rising costs, exiled former Foreign Affairs Minister, Walter Mzembi lay the blame solely on Ncube for expediting Mnangagwa’s exit ahead of impending 2023 harmonised elections.
“This is your problem. The incompetence of this man. I put it squarely and honestly to you Mr President @edmnangagwa kuti mungapedza vanhu vese muchitendeka makanangana neElection, jinda renyu iri rakonewa! (You might blame an endless list of culprits, but your henchman has failed dismally),” wrote Mzembi on Twitter.
Curiously, price increases are coming with elections due in August and Mnangagwa, through his column in a State-owned weekly newspaper, has warned “saboteurs” risked losing operating licences for unilaterally hiking prices of basic commodities.
Interestingly, Ncube is seeking election in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park constituency, where he has promised to uplift livelihoods of suffering constituents.
Even in his own backyard, Ncube appreciates residents have had their local currency value eroded, with most failing to buy basic goods which are now beyond their reach.
The free-fall of the local currency has left many who earn their wages in local currency vulnerable.
By time of publishing, US$1 was officially pegged at ZWL$1, 400 while it fetched ZWL$2, 950 on the black market.
The collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar has forced many locals to survive from hand to mouth.
Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa recently told the media Cabinet was concerned by the spiralling prices of basic goods, especially bread, flour, cooking oil and mealie-meal.
Government, she said, had opened borders for free importation of basic goods and assured the public that more measures were coming to ease the situation.