Zimbabwe’s loan contraction process has been leaving the country’s citizens into confusion with a lot of speculation about secret arrangements that going on behind Government closed doors.
Speaking during a media workshop, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development Executive Director, Janet Zhou said in as far as confusion and secrecy rocks Zimbabwe’s loan contraction process, there is need to enhance knowledge amongst the media fraternity on how public finance should be managed in the country to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector.
“The recent reporting drama over the Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) announcement which left the nation in more confusion than informed is testimony that there is a gap in reporting public finance management issues across the private and public media houses,” Zhou said.
“On the hand, media reports claimed that Botswana extended $600 million towards Zimbabwe’s private sector and diamond industry but Botswana government denied the reports.”
Confusion emanated when the Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi visited Zimbabwe for a BNC Summit where eight agreements were signed between the two countries when February was coming to an end.
The summit was followed by another visit to Zimbabwe from the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for another BNC signing.
“The fact that both private and public media missed appropriate reports on Zimbabwe-Botswana BNC threw citizens in a state of confusion as they were left to speculate on what exactly transpired,” Zhou said.
“On Zimbabwe’s request for a bailout from South Africa, media has not been critical of the role of SA in the region in terms of championing good governance and democracy. The visit by President Ramaphosa was hyped but the citizens were not fully engaged.”
The ZIMCODD Executive Director also said it is the responsibility of the media to clear mist on public finance issues and spread accurate information to citizens.
“Media reporting on debt contraction and analysis is vital in raising informed voice and demand for accountability among the citizenry,” Zhou said.