Why Mnangagwa is having problems running the country


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The new government formed after the elections was more coherent. However, the new executive contained five individuals without any significant political roots and while the rest constituted individuals loyal to the President, unlike the first executive formed in 2017, they also represented constituencies with little national standing.

The President successfully removed from the executive the old guard who were virtually parked at the ZANU-PF Headquarters in Harare.

The problems facing the new President in Zimbabwe are deep rooted and well established. They include a highly militarised civil service and entrenched interests in all the pillars of the State and the economy associated with corruption on a scale which severely constrains national growth and stability.

The Presidential team, is tiny constituting no more than a handful of individuals loyal to Mnangagwa. The forces ranged against him are formidable including a powerful MDC minority in Parliament which is implacably opposed to his rule and the disaffected elements in the ruling party that he has had to push aside in order to take power.

In addition to these problems he has to deal with individuals who are ambitious and wish not only to retain their posts in government at all costs but to seek greater control over the affairs of the State.

These elements are hostile to the reforms which Western governments consider essential in the pursuit of recognition and re-engagement.

These conditions lay the foundation for the situation which confronted the new President when he was planning a State Visit to Russia and several former Russian satellites.

Intelligence had informed the President of the potential for nationwide disturbances and an effort to secure control over the State itself while he was out of the country.

Not sufficient recognition has been given to the new regime for the many changes which have taken place since November 2017.

These include reforms in the way future elections will be conducted, changes in the media sector and most significantly changes in the security sector.

In respect to the latter, the Joint Operations Command, which was essentially a dual administration under Mugabe, has been de-politicised and restructured so that the armed forces and the security services are now led by professional officers without political authority or influence.

The new structures are totally loyal to the new President. The thousands of retired military officers who, under Mugabe, were fully integrated into the civil service as a third force to ensure compliance with presidential orders and dictates, is being slowly unravelled. The Police and CIO have been completely restructured under new management.

However, the President has not been able to significantly curb corruption and has turned to his new Minister of Finance who is not a politician but a well-respected economist, with a mandate to bring back a free market economy and fiscal and monetary stability.

Mthuli Ncube has mapped out a programme of reform which involves, dealing with the fiscal deficit, liberalising imports and giving control over foreign exchange income to the individuals and companies involved.

Reforms involving a reduction in the retention of foreign earnings by the Reserve Bank and a move away from the RBZ mantra of an exchange rate which puts the Bond note on a par with the US Dollar, to a system where 80 – 100% of all foreign earnings will be retained by the individuals and companies concerned and the Reserve Bank paying a market related exchange rate for the 1 billion dollars or so that are going to be swept into the RBZ accounts each year.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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