Tsvangirai Enjoys President Mugabe's Political Joke

Morgan Tsvangirai leads the Movement Democratic Change main faction known as (MDC-T).

At a ceremony to officially launch the One Stop Shop of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) in Harare, President Mugabe said : “I just told the MDC that as soon as we finish cutting the ribbon at the ZIA offices to officially open the One Stop Shop, then we will gather at our (Zanu PF) offices. As you know Zanu (PF) is also a One Stop Political Shop.”

The Zanu (PF) Headquarters is situated just across from the ZIA offices housing the One Stop Shop.

Tsvangirai, then immediately laughed at the joke made by the President soon after he gave his official address to more than 400 invited guests at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).

The event was attended by the “Who is Who” in Zimbabwe including members from the World Bank, Botswana Government officials, Rwanda and also from Mauritius. These three countries, Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius, all have similar and successful One Stop Shops in their countries.

In his address, President Mugabe urged his government officials to “honour all investment proposals” and treat them speedily because this “is exactly what this facility is all about”.

The One Stop Shop intends to approve or disapprove, as the case may be, any project within five days of reception from the 96 days that it currently took to do so.

However, Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, said : “The One stop Shop should instead approve projects within 24 hours and not the five working days that you are talking about. This can be done and I don’t see why not.”

Tsvangirai said at the same occasion, Zimbabwe must ensure a stable political environment and be consistent with its policies to attract foreign investment.

“We must ensure a stable political environment. Investors from all over the world will shy away from the perceived political risk,” Tsvangirai said.

Mugabe said the One Stop shop will be able to articulate the indigenisation and investment laws that are in the country which foreigners have to observe.

Mugabe, however, said sanctions were hurting economic growth.

“This process should ensure that foreigners do not encroach into investment areas reserved for locals in terms of our indigenisation and empowerment programmes and some people might say this very law will drive away investment, it doesn’t. It might frighten them for a while but soon they will come, ” Mugabe said.

“The ultimate objective is to ease the doing business environment and make it as hassle and bustle free as possible,” he said.

“The establishment of the One Stop shop investment centre and of course the immediate removal of sanctions, if that occurs at all, should therefore allow us to climb to where we belong the top of the ladder.”

Zimbabwe ranked 157 out of 183 countries this year in the United Nations rankings on easiness of doing business. The country is currently under a unity deal of Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara formed two years ago under regional mediation.

The talk of Zimbabwe going for elections next year has scared away potential investors who were willing to invest in the country. Elections in the country in the past years have been marred by violence and lack of respect of property rights. No date has been announced for the polls yet.

The country’s economy has been growing since the inception of the unity government in February 2009. Last year the economy grew by six percent, this year the economy is expected to grow by 8 percent while next year the Finance Minister has predicted that the economy will grow by 9.3 percent.