It is very rare for a business platform anchor to outright ask an esteemed entity such as a Finance Minister directly about corruption. Of course credible media platforms pride themselves on impartial and critical analysis, even as conducted in interview form.
However, to directly confront a Finance Minister on corruption, as well as inquire on whether or not real prosecution has taken place is atypical in business media. Matters of corruption and prosecution are cordially addressed within respectable context such as improvement or implementation of fiscal management within governance systems.
Within the technical jargon, literate economic observers and investors comprehend what an entity is being queried on, respectfully. It is disconcerting that on the occasions that Finance Minister Ncube has appeared on Bloomberg, he has been repetitively asked, in brash tone, directly on the actions taken by government on corruption.
Attention has to emphasize on the platform that has been atypically confrontational in this regard; Bloomberg, an organization that thrives and esteems itself on the stature of being a custodian of intelligence and information that informs western capital.
Fundamentally it sees itself, and it subscribers largely share the perception, of an entity that delivers content which moves western capital.
There are many more platforms that perceive themselves so, such as publications like The Economist. A common trait of these platforms seems to be the diminished cordiality around the discourse of fiscal management, which descends to downright confrontation with Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister on what government is doing about corruption.
It is easy for observers to suggest the politicized disfavor that has stuck on Zimbabwe for a while as cause to this. It could be. Attitudes do not change so quickly.
Zimbabwe is still working its way from pariah. But perhaps more perceptive observers would realize that Zimbabwe retains a deplorable reputation of misjudging western reverence for capital, as it is interpreted as citizens’ incomes and savings.
This is why very little investment finds its way outside of the United States without Congressional approval, across multiple investment vehicles.
Advanced economies have more arduous demands for legislative compliance for its capital to leave it borders than developing economies. This is for the economic protection and ideological stewardship of western incomes and savings.
Almost two years into a new Zimbabwean administration, at no point has the government referenced its national debt in context of it being largely inclusive of western incomes and savings that remain unaccounted for; actually government has made haste to suggest debt forgiveness without exuding any such consideration.
It is this lack of sensitivity, or complete ignorance, to western perceptions of its capital that enables the dismissive sentiment a Finance Minister receives on ideological platforms like Bloomberg.
Finance Minister Ncube has tried to convey themes of cheap assets, momentary opportunity for first movers, and numerous reforms that supposed enhance the ease of business.
Yet, recurring interviewer focus hardly asks for him to expand on these themes, more so engaging in direct confrontation on corruption and prosecution, which is atypical of the cordial nature this topic is usually approached with guests of his office.
It does not help that Minister Ncube is so overtly incredulous when pressured on this matter, which reaffirms the interviewers’ dismissiveness. It would be sound strategy for President Mnangagwa’s administration to reflect on these influential interactions that western investors rely on.
It is not enough to speak on fiscal management in the abstract nature that this administration has chosen to. Such an attitude will only be met by a confrontational dismissiveness that brings up a deplorable reputation of corruption.
Zimbabwe must understand that engaging western capital is trying to tap into citizen incomes and savings that many institutions are enforceably accountable to; media is just the frontline.
If government hopes for more cordial interaction and to be addressed in typical manner that respect stature and listens to foreign propositions, perhaps it should take its approach to fiscal management more seriously.