Elections critical: Australian Ambassador

Zimbabwe’s next elections provide an opportunity for the country to re-establish economic stability, which is critical for attracting Foreign Direct Investments, the Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mathew Neuhaus, has said.

Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mathew Neuhaus.
Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mathew Neuhaus.

The Government of National Unity could have achieved much more in terms of economic progress had it not been for policy inconsistencies that created a high level of uncertainty in the country’s economy, he added.

He said it was critical for Zimbabwe to make efforts to regain the confidence of international investors saying the forthcoming elections provided an ideal opportunity provided they are held in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner.

Neuhaus responded affirmatively when asked whether Australian Investors had developed a wait and see attitude on Zimbabwe

“I would say so because they are finding it hard to know who exactly to deal with. I have talked to certain investors who said they are not prepared to drive from Victoria Falls to Harare because they know about the police roadblocks.

“That sends a bad message to potential tourists and potential investors.

That sort of environment is not good at all. On the economic side, what we want to see is certainty,” said Neuhaus.

With regards to Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation policy, Neuhaus said it had resulted in confusion in Zimbabwe’s economy and was threatening potential investors away.

“The Indeginisation policy is completely improper and pushes investors away. People have got to have long-term confidence. If they put money in, they have to be able to get money out,” said Neuhaus.

Neuhaus said the scrapping of targeted measures imposed on Zimbabwe by Australia as well as other countries in the European Union is heavily dependent on the credibility of the forthcoming polls.

“If the elections are free and fair, that would have a very positive effect. Australia is looking at these elections closely. We know that SADC too is looking closely. It’s important that Zimbabwe gets out of the cycle of electoral violence and has elections in which all parties can agree, where all the parties say they are happy with the voters’ roll and police are fully supportive of all parties,” said Neuhaus.

Neuhaus implored Zimbabwe’s political leaders to work towards ensuring a conducive environment for free, fair and credible elections.

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