Assessments

Mugabe's Unsustainable Legacy

Sep 19, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
Without a realistic plan to rehabilitate its economy, Zimbabwe's government runs a real risk of running out of money by the end of the year and increasing instability in the country ahead of its 2018 elections.
(ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe's long-standing financial troubles seem to be coming to a head. Throughout its lengthy reign, the country's government -- led by President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party -- has bolstered its public sector to secure popular support and to prevent the instability that rising unemployment could bring. Now, it may have to reconsider that strategy. The country's finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, announced Sept. 8 that in the first half of 2016, 96.8 percent of the federal budget went toward civil servants' salaries. But barring a massive injection of capital into the country (an unlikely prospect), the government will not be able to sustain that level of spending for much longer. This bodes poorly for the current administration, especially as it prepares for the country's first power transition in nearly 40 years. ...

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