New RBZ Governor’s appointment won’t change much without political will from Mnangagwa — say critics 

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By Staff Reporter

THE latest appointment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mushayavanhu has been described as a non-event, the proverbial old wine packaged in a new bottle.

Critics say as long as there is lack of political will from President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling elite to usher a truly autonomous central bank mandated to run its own affairs, no appointee is able to alter the status quo characterised by “useless local currency and runaway inflation.”

To draw first blood in castigating Mushayavanhu’s elevation to lead the apex bank was former Foreign Affairs minister, Walter Mzembi, who is living in South Africa in self-imposed exile.

He noted that citizens must not expect miracles from new RBZ governor, who cannot single-handedly fix the economic fundamentals without the support of ruling party, Zanu PF politicians.

“Zimbabwe is not short of technocrats, there are hundreds of eligible candidates for the post of Governor of Reserve Bank, including the newly appointed Dr John Mushayavanhu. What it evidently has a shortage of, is political will. Political will from the appointing authority, and from all of us,” said Mzembi, writing on X.

“Hence we shall repeatedly echo this message, fix the politics, inorder to fix the economy.

“You almost feel pity for each new appointment, they come in looking fresh, urbane and well meaning. Thereafter, the political initiation begins and the technocracy evaporates.”

Mzembi insinuated that Mushayavanhu has to build stamina inorder to face-off with political goons who manipulate the monetary system.

“Two decades ago, we coopted this same Cde John Mushayavanhu into Zanu PF Masvingo province as our treasurer as part of renewal of the province at the time. He attended three or so meetings maximum before he resigned.

“Clearly he was a misfit in those rowdy meetings called PECs (Provincial Executive Committees) or PCCs (Provincial Coordinating Committees) and one could not mistaken his disbelief as he sat at the top table watching political drama after drama.

“Now for this appointment the drama may not be there, but his success will rise or fall on the altar of Executive intrusion and interference or the absence of it, which the President and Minister of Finance must guarantee,” he added.

Mzembi reiterated that the central bank succeeds on the back of its foundation of autonomy, a far-fetched prospect under the current circumstances.

“So pinning our hopes on this John where the other John failed without an enabling political environmental context is playing the same LP (long play) record up to 2029. Let’s fix the politics for his success & our own economic revival…,” opined Mzembi.

Former Norton Member of Parliament (MP), Temba Mliswa echoed similar sentiments, emphasising the incumbent needed to have the support of politicians.

“Congratulations to the incoming Governor of the RBZ Dr Mushayavanhu. If at all former Governor Mangudya failed it was not for his own lack of capacity but politicians. Politicians have the final say and oftentimes seek for self-benefit even against factual economic sense,” Mliswa said.

A social media user, Thomas Dube @Dhuve6 was sceptical Mushayavanhu’s appointment would bring any meaningful changes to the ailing economy.

“The Minister is a banker, the Perm Sec is a banker, the RBZ boss is a banker, and still fail to deliver a working monetary system – these guys are overrated,” said Dube.

Another X user Don Eddie @Edbo wrote, “Expect nothing new except and until the old dies…and it’s a painful process. The old must cease to exist for the new to kick in and subsist. It may look impossible but we will make it because #Godisinit…

“It is half full” is a “Ngomahuru” sanity test case, where you ask the patient to fetch water with a perforated and porous tin. Our major problem has never been inflows, but leakages and illicit financial  flows!”