Cabinet reshuffle 'looms in struggling Zim'

2014-03-14 15:04
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. (File, AFP)

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. (File, AFP)

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Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is reportedly contemplating a Cabinet reshuffle that could see Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa's early exit from treasury.

According to the Mail and Guardian, several ministers could also be affected.

Sources within Mugabe's Zanu-PF party were quoted as saying that the veteran leader could appoint former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono to the position of finance minister.

A personal banker to Mugabe for many years, Gono is credited with helping to set up the president's businesses, the report said.

Gono is also widely believed to have propped up Mugabe's regime during Zimbabwe’s crisis period by printing money and supporting party projects through quasi-fiscal programmes.

This report comes as Zimbabwe's economy continues to dwindle with Chinamasa recently revealing that the country’s reserves would only be enough to buy 1 400 tons of maize.

Reports say that government is desperate for funding to turn around the economy that has faced 15 years of questionable management.

Look East policy

Since their controversial election victory last July, the Zanu-PF government's pleas for funding have gone unheeded, as more and more doors seem to be shunning the country. This includes the IMF and World Bank

Chinamasa is said to have failed recently to convince the Chinese business community in Beijing and Shanghai to loan Zimbabwe funds using the country’s minerals as security.

It had appeared that China would step in and solve Zimbabwe’s economic problems, a move that could have validated Mugabe's, so-called "Look East" policy, a report by the Christian Science Monitor said.

The bailout would have helped stabilise the government and pacify a growing trend of middle- and working-class anger at the poor economy and corruption.

According to The Zimbabwe Independent, Chinamasa hoped to secure US$10bn in funding to finance the ambitious Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), a policy document pitched as the panacea for economic revival by the Zanu PF government.

But it turned out the Chinese wanted something more tangible than a mere policy pronouncement such as ZimAsset, a top government official was quoted as saying.

 “They were very clear that they wanted bankable projects as well as a breakdown of when the projects that the government plans to undertake will break even,” the official said.
Read more on:    imf  |  zanu-pf  |  world bank  |  robert mugabe  |  gideon gono  |  patrick chinamasa  |  china  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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