Zimbabwe Shock as Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube Named Africa’s Best

Zimbabweans have expressed surprise after Mthuli Ncube was named “Best African Finance Minister of the Year” despite the country’s economic difficulties.

On the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, one user compared the honor to “applauding a captain for steering a ship straight into an iceberg,” while another called it “the greatest joke of the decade.”

Zimbabwe’s astonishing unemployment rate, estimated by economists to be 85%, along with a dependency on US dollars for 80% of transactions due to declining confidence in the local currency, highlights the country’s economic challenges.

Mr. Ncube received the award on Sunday from Reputation Poll International, a reputation management business. President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed the minister in 2018, and he expressed his satisfaction in obtaining the honor, attributing it to the Treasury team’s revolutionary work.

However, activist Hopewell Chin’ono called the award a “insult” to Zimbabweans, especially in light of Mr Ncube’s recent budget, which Chin’ono described as “the most anti-people national budget that Zimbabwe has ever had.” The budget contains tax rises as well as an increase in passport costs to $200 (£160), the highest in the area.

Chin’ono further chastised Mr Ncube for presiding over the “worst economy in the world,” which he blamed on “misguided and corrupt policies.”

Zimbabwe’s economic troubles trace back decades, culminating in the withdrawal of the Zimbabwe dollar owing to hyperinflation in 2009. Critics blame the issues on the ruling Zanu-PF party’s mismanagement, first under Robert Mugabe and then under Mr. Mnangagwa, while the government blames Western sanctions.

In the midst of these economic difficulties, Zimbabwe recently held contentious by-elections following the recall of MPs from the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). Zanu-PF candidates won seven of nine by-elections, but came three seats short of the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to rewrite the constitution.

Written by PH

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