Frank Chikowore, News24
Harare – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe does not need any foreign funding to support its developmental progammes, despite the country facing a myriad of economic problems.
Mnangagwa said this while officiating at a multi-stakeholder conference to review government’s “Command Agriculture” policy in Harare this week.
“We have successfully funded Command Agriculture on our own as Zimbabweans. This bears testimony that we do not need any foreign support for our developmental projects or initiatives. We can do it on our own,” said Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa’s remarks came at a time when the United States pledged $150 000 to fund the fight against HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has in the past months been calling for donor support to finance its programmes, with the international community chipping in to support the health and education sectors through the United Nations agencies.
Key democratic reforms
The West has made it clear to President Robert Mugabe that his administration must implement key democratic reforms before any meaningful co-operation with Harare.
Mnangagwa said the fact that the Command Agriculture policy was successfully bankrolled by local institutions was an indication that Zimbabwe did not require any foreign funding to assist in its development initiatives.
Under the Command Agricuture which prioritised maize production, Zimbabwe surpassed its two million metric tons of maize grain this year, said Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe previously imported grain from some neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia following poor harvests in the last season caused by the El Nino induced drought.
Mnangagwa’s utterances, however, drew criticism from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by former premier Morgan Tsvangirai.
‘Zanu-PF regime is bankrupt’
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told News24 that Mnangagwa had totally missed the plot.
“As a vice president, one expects him to know and appreciate that the national treasury is bankrupt. Unless Mnangagwa is running a parallel treasury that is well-funded, everyone else knows that the Zanu-PF regime is bankrupt and that they are in desperate need of external funding to meet the day to day costs of running a government,” said Gutu.
“As it is, the public health delivery system is heavily reliant on financial assistance from a number of non – governmental organisations in the provision of medicines and medical equipment. In these circumstances, therefore, how then can Mnangagwa say they don’t need external support to fund developmental programmes?”
Last week, First Lady Grace Mugabe told the ruling Zanu-PF party supporters in Marondera that non-governmental organisations were no longer welcome in Zimbabwe, as the country expected a bumper harvest.