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Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday expressed fear that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF government could use the money sourced from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for electioneering.

Zimbabwe received US$961 million from the IMF under its special drawing rights (SDRs) and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said part of the money would be used to stabilise the local currency, among other functions.

But in a statement, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said given the limited fiscal space ahead of the  elections, Zanu PF was likely going to use the money for electioneering if not held to account.

“The past is replete with examples of how the regime misuses public funds to fund election campaigns. There is no reason to believe that this time it will be any different,” Mahere said.

She called on the government to be transparent in the disbursement of the money, insisting that it should not be looted by the political elite.

“The SDRs received by Zimbabwe should, in IMF’s own words, help the economic conjuncture and the stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the adequacy of reserves, the availability of fiscal and monetary policy space, domestic and external debt sustainability and financial stability, financing constraints and other country specific factors,” she said.

“We call for the Auditor-General’s Office to be capacitated to audit, monitor and report timeously to the people of Zimbabwe on how these funds are being disbursed.”

She added:

“We further urge journalists and citizens to be alert and expose corruption wherever it manifests and to demand accountability. By holding the government to account, we will ensure the SDRs reach the intended vulnerable members of our society and be used in the fight against COVID-19.”

Mahere said this was not the first time that Zimbabwe received SDRs, noting that the country received money after the 2008 global financial crisis and used some of it to repay its loan to the IMF.

“Of the US$400 million received by Zimbabwe in 2009, US$140 million was used to settle IMF arrears. By showing the world that Zimbabwe was prudent and keen on solving its external debt problem, we built goodwill with bilateral and multilateral lenders. This was a precursor to the Lima debt management plan of 2016.”

She added that the country’s debt problem was a burden to future generations.

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