Political violence threatens economy

(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

MARTHA MAMOMBE

The resurgence in politically motivated violence will affect economic prospects this year putting a dent on business, analysts have said.

The warning comes as Zanu PF and the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) are trading accusations over the recent attacks of elderly in Murewa, Mashonaland East province.

Police said a 67-year-old suspect has since been arrested following the violence.

Political Actors Dialogue spokesperson Francis Danha said violence was a threat to economic growth and called for maturity.

“Political violence should be shunned at all costs as it dampens any prospects of economic development,” Danha said.

“Violence can scare away investors and doesn’t give the country a good image and it affects everyone.

After that election cycle we need a functional economy,” he added.

Economists remain sceptical on any meaningful economic development this year arguing elections will cloud any prospects along genuine business programmes as political players canvass for support.

They also argued that millions of dollars meant for economic resuscitation will be channelled towards electoral programmes that have already seen Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube budgeting over US$200 million he said will go towards the election preparations.

Labour and Economic Development Research Institute senior researcher Prosper Chitambara said the economy was projected to slow down this year due to a “lot of uncertainties politically”, on account of increased public spending.

“We are also expecting the power outages to continue at least until the second quarter of the year and that will also affect industry,” he said.

2023 will be a “very difficult” year characterised by high inflation hitting 400% by mid-year, the exchange rate spiking to ZWL$1500 against the US dollar, according to Gift Mugano, an economics professor.

“One of the major drivers is the budget outlay which is over ZWL$4.5 trillion. A significant amount of that will go towards election activities,” he said.

Presenting at a post-budget breakfast meeting in November, Ncube revealed that the 2022 Population and Housing Census as well as the elections of 2023 would bleed the economy in excess of $US$200m, which would have been channelled towards social sectors such as public health or education.

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