THE ruling party, ZANU PF, “will win a comfortable majority” in this year’s harmonised elections and “remain the dominant political party force in Zimbabwe over the coming years”, according to New York-headquartered global ratings firm Fitch Solutions.
The firm is considered a leading provider of credit intelligence and a source of up-to-date socio-economic and political data used by the world’s leading financial institutions, multinational companies and government agencies, as well as consulting firms in 118 countries.
In its latest report titled “Zimbabwe Country Risk Report”, which includes a 10-year economic forecast, the information services company also describes President Mnangagwa as a “reform-minded” leader, whose Government will “focus on efforts to strengthen the economy and attract investment, as well as (in the short term) manage the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“At Fitch Solutions, we expect that real GDP (gross domestic product) in Zimbabwe will accelerate to 2,4 percent in 2023, from 2 percent in 2022,” reads part of the report.
“The acceleration in growth in 2023 will be driven by a more expansionary fiscal policy in the run-up to the elections in the middle of the year and an easing of price pressures, which should provide further support to consumers.
“However, we still expect that ZANU PF will win a comfortable majority in the parliamentary elections in July, with the ruling administration benefitting from a host of incumbency advantages.”
ZANU PF, the report adds, would likely remain the dominant political force for the foreseeable future.
“The ruling ZANU PF party looks to retain its dominance over the medium term . . .”
It is believed the coalescing of forces around the ruling party also “lessens the likelihood of formal splits from the party”.
In last year’s by-elections held in March, which were widely considered a mini general election, ZANU PF demonstrated its popularity when it wrested two parliamentary seats — Epworth and Mutasa South — from the opposition.
The results were interpreted as a sign of the incremental gains being made by ZANU PF in opposition strongholds, driven by success in both stabilising and growing the economy.
The United States-based Fitch Solutions also expects President Mnangagwa’s administration to continue its drive to grow the economy, attract investment and manage the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We expect inflation to remain elevated in 2022 before moderating subsequently and returning to single-digit levels (on an average annual basis) from 2024,” said the agency.
“We expect inflation to return to single-digit levels (on an average annual basis) from 2025 and remain broadly contained over the period to 2031.
“This is based on the expectation that improvement in agriculture and mining output, as well as domestic energy production, will lead to a rise in foreign exchange revenue, improving the RBZ’s ability to support the currency . . .”
Political analyst Mr Naboth Paurosi Dzivaguru, who is the executive director of GlobalEconomics2020 Consultancy Group, said Fitch Solutions’ projections were spot on.
“ZANU PF has fine-tuned laws and policies that are seen attracting investors into the country,” he said.
“The economic landscape created under the Second Republic is unlike anything we have ever seen in the history of the country.
“The party’s candidate, President Mnangagwa, has shown his mettle in leading the economy.
“The President has improved transparency in how the country is governed.
“So, this excites the voting population and will translate into votes.”
The ruling party, he added, has managed to infuse older and younger generations in its ranks, a development that has strengthened its backbone.
“This is what is called a generational super-mix.
“It has structures which are intact, which gives the party a scientific insight of the expected results.”
Fitch Solutions becomes the latest reputable body to forecast a ZANU PF victory in this year’s elections after Afrobarometer, a Pan-African survey research network, did so in its most recent survey.
ZANU PF national spokesperson Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa said the report mirrors the reality on the ground.
“ZANU-PF welcomes the more dispassionate and objective polls’ outcome from Fitch Solutions,” he said.
“It actually mirrors the concrete realities arising from the ongoing ZANU PF cell building and verification process.
“This concerted and ongoing exercise will lead to the party primary elections.”
The party’s internal polls, he said, “mimic the impending and imminent” harmonised elections.
“In short, ZANU-PF is in the mode of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming plebiscite,” he added.
“The credible Fitch Solutions poll forecast is a far cry from the tainted and wishful prophecies of the Brenthurst Foundation . . . The parochial Brenthurst Foundation subsists on the malign traits of Nick Oppenheimer, the scion of a family that built Anglo American Corporation on the back of exploitation of indigene African majorities by minority, colonial, settler racist apartheid regimes . . .
“We are even more enthused that the report comes from Fitch Solutions, headquartered in New York, the premier centre of global capital. It, thus, speaks to world-class players and interests that are aligned to the bountiful natural resources of endowed Zimbabwe.”