Gono says Zimbabwe's economy not ready for elections

HARARE (AFP)- Zimbabwe's central bank chief Gideon Gono said Sunday the southern African country's economy cannot sustain an election, state media reported Sunday."In deciding when and whether or not to hold elections, a fine balance may need to be struck between the twin objectives of politics and the economy,"

Gono told the state-run Sunday Mail.

\r\n

“Key is to be decisive and not leave the economy in a state of guesswork for far too long. Zimbabwe is not the only destination crying for investment in a world not yet fully recovered from the global financial crisis,” he said.

\r\n

“Put differently, the economy favours no elections for now while political dynamics and imperatives may favour or dictate otherwise,” he added.

\r\n

Zimbabwe’s economy has shown signs of recovery since President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government in 2009.

\r\n

That pact was aimed at ending deadly political violence sparked by their presidential run-off election in 2008.

\r\n

But uncertainty over new elections tipped for this year has scared off new investors, who also worry about Mugabe’s threats to take over foreign firms.

\r\n

While President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have vowed to press ahead with elections this year, business leaders have also voiced concern saying the country is not ready for polls.

\r\n

Although no dates have been set, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have said elections should be held this year, while Tsvangirai and his MDC party want reforms to ensure a level playing field before the polls.

\r\n

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has indicated that the country cannot afford to hold elections, with election officials saying they would cost $400 million (285 million euros) to conduct.