Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa who came to power in November 2017 has done a good job in transforming the country’s economy in the past three-and-a-half years but the world does not know this because he is a lousy politician and a poor communicator.
This was said by former Movement for Democratic Change legislator Eddie Cross, who is now a member of the President’s Advisory Council and was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee until the beginning of this year, in an interview with South Africa’s Biznews radio.
Mnangagwa replaced Robert Mugabe, who had been at the helm of the country for 37 years -the first seven as Prime Minister and the remainder as President, through military intervention.
He won the July 2018 elections but the result was disputed by MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa but Chamisa lost the challenge at the country’s Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land.
Cross said Mnangagwa had done a fantastic job since coming to power because though he was a lousy politician, he was good at selecting the right people for the job.
In the short span he had been in office, Cross said, Mnangagwa had managed to turn a 40% fiscal deficit into a surplus, the first in the country’s history.
Mnangagwa had also reduced the civil service bill from nearly 97% of government expenditure to less than 40%.
Mnangagwa had re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar and the local currency had been stable against the United States dollar for the past nine months.
Asked why the world did not know about this, Cross said: “One of Mnangagwa’s biggest failures is communication. He is not a good communicator. He is not a good speaker. He is a lousy politician. He is there basically because he overthrew Mugabe and took power by military force.”
He said Mnangagwa, however, knows the rights guys to run the various ministries and he appointed six out of 20 ministers completely outside the political realm.
The only problem was that they were not communicating what they had done to the international community.
Cross, however, said he was very critical of organisations like the International Monetary Fund because they knew what was happening but did not want to credit Mnangagwa for it.
“I am deeply critical of people like the IMF who have feet on the ground here. They know exactly what’s going on. They get information from our system every week, every day almost. And they know damn well what’s happening and they can see the consequences and they have given them (Mnangagwa’s administration) absolutely no credit for it whatsoever.
“On top of that when I was in the opposition party, the MDC, we had roughly one of our members abducted every day for 17 years, 4 800 odd people. Many of them were never to be seen again. Over the last three years, we have had five abductions, four of which we think were staged by civil society to try and get the attention from the media and they got the attention from the media and I think that the message is slowly coming through.
“I tell you, for example, there are 1 200 young white farmers back farming in Zimbabwe. These are the grandchildren of the farmers that were shut down by Mugabe during his fast-track land reform programme.
“On top of that we have a third generation of young industrialists who have come into their companies and they are making a huge impact here. Halsteds, Graham Halsted, Graham Richards in the Richards group, I could roll off a dozen companies, they are flying and they are doing extremely well.”