By Staff Reporter
FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya Wednesday told President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF they were running out of options to stabilise the economy.
This was after they were both summoned by the Zanu PF politburo to explain the current crisis and how the country could emerge from runaway inflation, rapid price hikes and a highly unstable exchange rate, among other crises affecting the economy.
According to politburo sources, Ncube and Mangudya told the ruling party that unless urgent measures were put in place to boost production, the country may soon go down.
The two, sources said, were taken to task by panicky party bigwigs who feared Zanu PF was destined to lose the 2023 elections if the economy was allowed to further deteriorate.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, dogged by widespread allegations of corruption, incompetence and misplaced priorities, is being squarely blamed for the current economic decay.
Ncube has been singled out by Zimbabweans for poor economic policies that have plunged the once thriving economy into the abyss.
Mangudya’s crime, among many, is his stubborn reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar that has decimated savings.
The Zanu PF old guard has also openly accused Ncube of working with the enemy to undermine their party.
According to sources, Zanu PF politicians took turns to savage Ncube and Mangudya.
The two however reportedly told the meeting they had no magic to turn around the economy, adding there were no meaningful solutions in sight.
“Politburo members came out guns blazing against Ncube, as they plainly vented their frustrations about the miserable state of the economy,” said the source.
“The main issue was that of the economy and how prices of basic goods and services have rocketed so terribly since he became finance minister.
“He was mainly taken to task by politburo members who are out of government.
“Politburo members said they were deeply worried this could alienate the party from potential voters because people are suffering.”
Much of the criticism reportedly came from Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu and former finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“The two were being accused of working against the party,” said the source.
“They were clearly reminded that government is subservient to the party and served at its (Zanu PF) pleasure as it was responsible for articulating government policies to the people.
“They were told they must do something about the economy with great urgency since its their area of responsibility but they (Ncube and Mangudya) clearly stated that things have really gone out of hand and it would take a miracle for things to normalise anytime soon unless government, as a matter of urgency, develops a strategy to fund the productive sectors of the economy so as to cut costs,” the source said.
“Mthuli Ncube in particular said the economy was going to take a long time to recover depending on the necessary interventions.
“He however indicated that in the long run, his Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) would bear fruit but you could see no one was buying that narrative.”
Mangudya, sources said, was asked to explain what he was doing to contain inflation which is mainly being driven by an uneven exchange rate owing to the parallel foreign currency trading.
In response, Mangudya reportedly said the central bank was being outfoxed by illegal forex dealers who appear to be always ahead.
“As governor, he was asked to do something about the high level of instability in the exchange rate which has seen the local currency getting so severely corroded that salaries no longer mean anything.
“Mangudya said the major problem was that we are importing everything as a country and producing very little.
“He said for instance, we grow wheat enough only to last three months and import wheat for the rest of the year, hence the high prices of bread.
“He told the meeting that unless government prioritised funding for the productive sectors of the economy, there was no hope.”
“Mangudya also said he was having a hard time trying to arrest runway inflation and was running out of options after so many loopholes emerged as he sought to close one.
“He said players in the forex dealings have become so cunning that by the time they (government) came up with a measure to control it, they would already have plotted a new way,” said the source.