TOP economist, Doctor Prosper Chitambara has warned that delays in elections coupled with speculation on social media have the potential to ruin the country’s economy if sanity does not prevail expeditiously.
Zimbabwe went to polls on August 23 but some polling stations in urban areas did not open for voting on time.
Although a consolidated report is yet to be published, allegations on the day of voting indicate that there was intimidation of voters in some places, triggering speculative fears that the polls are likely to be discredited.
In response, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended voting to August 24. Polling stations were also ordered to remain open for voting for a complete 12-hour-long cycle determined by the time at which voting commenced.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com economic analyst Chitambara said any disputed elections will further worsen the country’s economic situation.
“The controversy generated so far does not put the country’s image in good light. It will further reinforce the stigmatized tag the nation has. Capital and investment flows will further come under severe threat and while it is easy to create such a mess it will take very long to cleanse that image at the international front,” he said.
The top economist said it is also imperative to consider that convening a democratic election is a key indicator investors normally look at hence the need for political parties and key stakeholders to respect that treasure.
He said the delays experienced in voting and emerging speculation do not augur well with the economic health.
“In the thick of things, it is very important for contestants to find each other. Whoever is ultimately announced the winner must work harder to bring the nation together. A disputed outcome will affect sustainable economic development.
“The nation needs unity and if the current situation further deteriorates development will not be easy to attain,” added Chitambara.