OPPOSITION parties have claimed President Robert Mugabe’s health and advanced age are scaring away potential foreign investors and causing the country to be labelled a high-risk investment destination.
by Silas Nkala
People’s Democratic Party Harare provincial spokesperson Nqobizitha Khumalo said uncertainty over Mugabe’s health was a national concern, adding “no sane investor” would commit their capital where there was uncertainty over leadership.
“The old man is obviously not in the best of health. Everyone saw him tumbling at the airport. We also saw him fail to mount some very low steps in India right before world cameras,” he said.
Former MDC-T Bulilima East MP Norman Mpofu said: “His (Mugabe’s) occupancy of the most powerful office in the land at his age is the major source of the current economic problems. It is a fact that there is a vacancy or vacuum at the top and naturally a number of hawks in Zanu PF are eyeing the post, hence the pushing and shoving manifesting itself as factionalism in Zanu PF and a dysfunctional government.
“The President’s age is responsible for the current political and economic dynamics. Politically, there is a silent conflict in Zimbabwe, as various groups are positioning themselves to take over from the ageing President, as his demise looks close.”
He said international investors were following the Zanu PF factional fights with keen interest and would continue sitting on the fence until Mugabe left the political scene.
“Local and international investors are watching and will naturally stay away, branding the country a high-risk investment destination,” Mpofu said.
“The longer the President stays in office, the more complex power dynamics get and the deeper the country sinks into the economic quagmire. The wait-and-see approach by investors has serious negative ripple effects on all sectors of the economy as capital is desperately required to kickstart production so as to generate revenue as well as create employment and alleviate poverty among Zimbabweans.
“Investors, irrespective of their country of origin, are cowards. For them to invest, they require a certain threshold of political stability, which is non-existent in Zimbabwe.
“All investors are aware that the current Zimbabwean President is old and they want to know who is next. They need to know the policies of the next government under a new President. No sane person can invest their assets in an environment with too many uncertainties like Zimbabwe. We will have to wait until the current President retires.”
Self-exiled Matabeleland Liberation Organisation (MLO) leader Paul Siwela said: “There is no future in Zimbabwe, as currently constituted, given the high appetite for corruption, financial profligacy, non-accountability, abuse of office and Matabeleland must ready itself to break away, as the time is ripe and re-establish a free, democratic and prosperous Republic of Matabeleland.”
Contacted for comment, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba rubbished the concerns.
“What is newsworthy in the opposition talking about the leader of a country? Do you want me to qualify the opposition statements that the President is old? Okay, let me ask you, if a cow moos, would you say that is news?
“The opposition parties are like that and would you expect them to say anything good about Zanu PF leaders? Let’s talk about something developmental, not all this nonsense said by the opposition,” he fumed.