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Coordinator's Note: Vol 7, Issue 1: "Cartel Power Dynamics" in Zimbabwe

By Blessing Vava (CiZC)

Photos: Getty Images / Waldo Swiegers / Cynthia R Matonhodze / EPA-EFE/AARON UFUMELI We bring to you Volume 7, Issue 1 of the Zimbabwe Briefing, from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s Johannesburg based Regional Information & Advocacy hub.

In early February 2021, South Africa’s Maverick Citizen published an explosive report, Cartel Power Dynamics, which dug deeper into Zimbabwe’s web of looting, illicit cross-border financial transactions by cartels causing devastating effects to the country’s economy.

According to the Daily Maverick, the report sought to understand the extent and impact of cartels and state capture on Zimbabwe's political economy, exposing the contributing factors that have enabled these cartels to thrive. The report looked at the power structures behind cartels in Zimbabwe and analysed their impact on the economy, service delivery and long-term prospects of democratisation in Zimbabwe.

In its findings, the study exposed three types of cartels in Zimbabwe, the first being collusive relationships between private sector companies; the second being the abuse of office by public officeholders for self-enrichment, and the third and main type being collusive relationships between public officials and the private sector.

The report also observed that these cartels thrive in Zimbabwe because of a complex mix of political, economic and social factors that create an enabling environment for cartel-based corruption. These include patronage, the militarisation of the state, unstable macroeconomic conditions, weak property rights, lack of rule of law and limited citizen agency to deal with corruption.

Overall, the study shows that cartels are deeply entrenched in many parts of Zimbabwean life and recommended for Zimbabwe to achieve economic stability there is a need for cartels to be dealt with decisively. Consequently, while the report drew ire from Civil society and citizens in general it is the lack of a coordinated campaign and programme of action by citizens to rise against this cancerous behaviour that is bleeding our economy.

The silence of Zimbabweans over such an issue is alarming and at this rate, we will be left with no country. This report is just the tip of the iceberg of the many scandals and grand looting by cartels who have captured the state in broad daylight.

Despite the abundance of information floating around our media has also been exposed for their lack of sophistication and rather limited investigative capacity to search for more and expose the shenanigans that have been happening over the past decades. The country has an adequate legislative framework to guarantee Zimbabweans media access to such crucial information, but there is no one to genuinely pursue such because the media is either complacent, captured or compromised.

Thus, we bring to you this edition whose theme is centred around the Maverick Citizen's state capture report and how it has impacted the economy and citizenry in general. We retain our focus; that of providing cutting edge analysis on developments in Zimbabwe for use by our various strategic stakeholders who include media houses, the diplomatic community, solidarity partners, Zimbabweans in the diaspora and others.


Blessing Vava

CiZC Coordinator


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