Harare councillor, Jacob Mafume, has accused the ZANU-PF-led government of insincerity in turning around the economic fortunes of the country.
The country’s economy remains in the doldrums with all the government’s efforts to bring it back on the rails seemingly failing.
However, for Mafume, who is a member of the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the government is to blame for lack of commitment in addressing the economic challenges.
Responding to Industry and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Ndlovu’s address on the state of industry at the 37th Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) congress in Bulawayo on Thursday, Mafume said the government was insincere in addressing Zimbabwe’s economic woes.
“I thought you would deal with the issue of where the foreign currency is going,” said Mafume to Ndlovu.
“Most of it (foreign currency) is with your colleagues, who are older than you. Their children go to foreign schools, their wives are at foreign schools and we have most of them who are old and being treated in foreign hospitals.”
Ndlovu, who is a member of ZANU-PF, had earlier on cited foreign currency shortages as one of the challenges facing industry in the country.
“You could look into that as one of the eaters of our foreign currency at the expense of our industry that deals with health issues,” suggested Mafume.
“We used to have schools and hospitals, which are no longer there and unable to treat anyone. Currently, the doctor who is there is also struggling to go and be treated outside. They have to go to court to do that.”
That was an indirect reference to Peter Magombeyi, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association who was recently believed to have been abducted.
The councillor said there was no way a minister could discuss the economy and leave out corruption, which he said had become the biggest problem in Zimbabwe.
He further said to the minister: “Interestingly you spent the whole presentation without talking about corruption, which I find breath-taking. You talk about the industry and fail to talk about corruption. Maybe the people who wrote your speech forgot to talk about corruption. It is one of the most crippling things that have affected the industry.”
He said Parliamentary reports were indicating that money was going out of the fiscus to unnamed individuals and middlemen.
“Then we have got issues of the rule of law. You did not speak about the rule of law, the obedience of court order. When you read headlines that the doctor is prevented to leave the country to go and get treatment and the police can disobey a court order and so forth and so forth then you have a serious problem,” said Mafume.
He added that investors will always look at the strengths of the courts and the country’s ability to obey court orders, contending that explains why Zimbabwe continues to be shunned by investors.
Mafume also took a swipe at the organizers of the conference, contending the programme was one sided in favour of the government’s view at the expense of divergent views, which he said were critical in resolving problems facing the country.
“Interestingly the organisers have a one-side programme; it is one of the problems that we have in this society. It is polarisation and contraction of views,” he said.
“We have had two days of basically advertorials from government and a few institutions.”
He said his views were contrary to the prevailing narrative at the indaba.