Do you remember the fear that paralysed you when you had to go home with an F-riddled report card? It’s different as an adult and yet the stakes are actually higher. The report card morphs into a performance review.
In a somewhat free country, a performance review could mean a promotion, demotion or incarceration, especially if you chose public service as a career.
Africa does not have a good track record of treating former high-ranking government executives well. This means any performance review of a government should be done with care. With so much at stake, they could lash out.
Silvio Institute did just that and released a report titled – Five Years of Progress or Stagnation, An Assessment of the Government’s Performance and Commitment to their Manifesto Promises for 2018 – 2023.
The ruling party presented a manifesto choked full of promises back in 2018. As we approach the 2023 elections they are making a boatload of promises again. So, it behoves us to find out how they did last time around.
Here are the highlights:
- They made 234 promises and kept 189 of them
- 21 were not commenced i.e. no work was done to try and keep them
- 16 were fully completed (implemented)
- 7 were broken
- 1 was modified
I have to say, I thought they did much worse than this. They kept 81% of their promises and broke only 3%. A kept promise does not equal an implemented promise though, it might be a work in progress. So, Silvio gave the government an average performance score of 56%.
You will have to read the full report to understand the 56% but for now, just know that they looked at the number of promises made, the number of actions, the % not commenced, the % implemented and the % in progress to get a barometer.
Silvio broke down the promises by sector/cluster and this is how it looked:
- Agriculture and rural development – 74%
- Economy – 56%
- Governance, politics and civil rights – 58%
- Local governance – 63%
- Youth and gender – 55%
- Trade and international relations – 56%
- Social services – 42%
- Corruption – 44%
I know that many of us would have qualms about these scores. I’m particularly stunned by the 56% the government got on the economy. Silvio explains why that is:
It is important to remember that we are discussing performance based on the commitments that the ruling party made in their manifesto.
As regards governance, politics and civil rights, the government made 11 promises to address issues and they carried out 137 actions to fulfil these promises. So, some of these actions were simple by nature and may have even resulted in outcomes we don’t like. That doesn’t change the fact that it was a promise kept.
We have endured the consequences of the government’s economic policies, and unfortunately, it has negatively impacted us. It’s possible that you may have overlooked the fact that we maintained that bond notes were equivalent to the USD until 2019.
During the past 5 years, we banned and then reintroduced the multicurrency regime when reality slapped us hard. We are currently contemplating the possibility of doing away with it in the future.
We have seen countless policies that contradict each other inflicted on the populace. This led to the RTGS dollars (now called Zimbabwe Dollars) crumbling, especially in 2023 where they have lost 40% of their value so far.
Despite all that and more, Silvio gives the government a 56% score. We have explained how these scores do not tell us about effectiveness but just about promises made and kept. If the government promised to lower interest rates and went from 55% to 54%, that’s a promise kept.
Also, doing well in some areas raised the score to mask the terrible bits.
Here are some of the subsectors:
- Tourism – 66%
- Budget accountability – 65%
- Infrastructure – 60%
- Financial services – 36%
- Informal sector – 36%
- Employment – 41%
Silvio highlights some of the major infrastructure projects the govt undertook; upgrading Beitbridge Border Post, expanding Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and rehabilitation of major roads like the Beitbridge-Harare highway and the completion of and resuscitation of major dam projects.
Apparently, since 2018 the government undertook to construct 10 dams across Zimbabwe and 3 have been completed. I was not aware of this.
The government was also able to attract a little foreign direct investment despite the economic troubles the country has been facing. The majority of these investment were in the mining sector, with lithium being the most popular mineral.
Listen, I am not doing the report justice. Go and give it a little browse here, at the very least. I think you’ll find it interesting. You can