Joe Mutizwa spoke for Zanu PF politicians not business

Zimbabwean businessman Joe Mutizwa yesterday appeared before the US senate sub-committee on Africa and Global Health Policy purporting to represent private business (audio notes above).

He came prepared, presenting a 33-page document formatted in a style that suggests help from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). That Mutizwa was unable to refer to the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) by name, eventually resigning to a pedestrian “legislation to do with the restriction of freedoms in Zimbabwe” gives credence to suspicions that he did not author the document in question.

His overall message was clear: Zimbabwe is on the path of genuine change, it is open for business and sanctions must therefore be lifted.

To illustrate his point on new-found freedoms, Mutizwa claimed he had confronted and criticised president Emmerson Mnangagwa at a meeting organised for business leaders. This would never have happened under Mugabe, he said.

When questioned by Senator Coons as to the specific criticism he had levelled against the President, Mutizwa’s political exaggerations were immediately apparent as he struggled to cite a single criticism.

“What we have urged the President to do is to move as quickly as possible to ensure that Zimbabwe’s competitiveness is restored by taking very determined and bold action on the ease of doing business, setting up a one-stop investment centre, making sure that the regulatory environment is conducive to foreign investors coming into the economy,” Mutizwa said.

That hardly sounds like forceful criticism. The ease-of-doing-business boilerplate has been repeated for many years, even in state-media editorials, and it is embarrassing that he quoted that commonplace advice as a dramatic and candid intervention. It is not.

It is worth noting that Mutizwa is the chairperson of Zimbabwe Listed Forum, an association of 63 businesses, spanning twelve sectors, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). Is it not curious that Mutizwa had nothing to say about Hwange Colliery Company Limited which is listed on the ZSE and was recently seized by government via the unconstitutional Reconstruction Act? The shareholders of that company, including British businessman Nicholas van Hoogstraten, have been divested and have no right to approach the courts to challenge the seizure of their company. Surely, if Mutizwa was a sincere representative of listed companies, this would have been his top concern?

He also had nothing to say regarding the seizure of foreign currency from exporters who are then given RTGS dollars at the 1:1 rate forcibly prescribed by government when actual market rates are at US$1 to RTGS$3.60. This is clearly a more immediate business problem and it does not require the lifting of ZIDERA for government to do the right thing and stop seizing foreign currency that does not belong to it.

Mutizwa said nothing of government threats to cancel licenses for pharmacies that charge in US dollars despite the fact that the same government is failing to provide the foreign currency required to import medicines, forcing the pharmaceutical industry to purchase foreign currency on the parallel market. He had no complaints on the absurdity of demanding duty in foreign currency which is not available in the banks and then going on to make it illegal to purchase the same on the parallel market.

These are the issues of immediate concern to business.

Mutizwa also claimed government had taken bold action and introduced a sustainable land tenure system through 99-year leases. This is simply not true. There are no bankable and transferrable 99-year leases and resettled farmers certainly do not have security of tenure. In July this year, the Zimbabwe Independent reported how President Mnangagwa’s 82-year-old neighbour Reverend Isaac Tititi Moyo was evicted from his Victory Farm by armed soldiers.

He did not stop there. Mutizwa also claimed government had set out an aggressive timetable to align laws to the 2013 constitution.

No such timetable exists in the public domain.

Please follow and like us:
Source: Kukurigo Editorials

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone