Business pleads for peaceful polls

Zimbabwe goes to the polls today to elect the president, National Assembly members and councillors.

The business sector is hoping for peaceful elections as it warns that violence will impact on Zimbabwe’s prospects to lure investments.

Zimbabwe goes to the polls today to elect the president, National Assembly members and councillors.

Speaking to NewsDay yesterday ahead of the elections, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mike Kamungeremu said any violence or contestations would negatively affect the business community.

“What we expect as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce is that the peaceful environment that we have witnessed so far will continue prevailing during the voting day and after the elections, as well as the announcement of the election results. If there is no peace, then it will be very difficult for us to do business,” he said, adding the chamber was prepared to work with whoever emerged victorious in the polls.

“We expect restraint to be exercised and also for the outcome of the election to be accepted by all the contestants bearing in mind that there are always two possibilities when people are in elections.”

Zimbabwe goes to the polls on the back of a stable exchange rate and a drop in annual inflation. Annual inflation fell to 77,2% in August from 101,3% in July while the local currency has stabilised after a rout in the period June to July.

Critics say the increased usage of the United States dollar in transactions has raised fears of redollarisation of the economy at a time when authorities are working on a road map of the adoption of the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said political parties and their supporters should continue with the “peace gospel” during and after the elections.

Chris Mugaga, ZNCC chief executive officer, said a disputed election carried over into the next election “chases away of investors, something that we don’t want because we need the investors”.

“No investor will put his money in a country with that level of uncertainty. We do not read much into manifestos as they are essentially promises. We read and analyse policies which we are more interested in. We are more interested in the monetary policy, the budget, because these have legal effects that business should adhere to so for us our focus is on policy,” Mugaga said.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe expects annual inflation to continue tapering off on the back of tight fiscal and monetary policy measures.

“In line with the consumer protection framework, we expect a review in the current pricing model for business to adhere to fair business practices in line with existing regulations,” said Phillimon Chereni, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s corporate affairs director.

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