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UK push for Zimbabwe debt write-off in exchange for reform commitment not delivery - not altruism

08 Apr 2018 at 09:22hrs | Views
The British government's approach on Zimbabwe continues to be out of synch with the rest of the international community and, most worryingly, contrary to what is in the best interest of the people of Zimbabwe!

"The International Monetary Fund continues to take a firm line, insisting that new loans be contingent on settling $9.4 billion in arrears and on deep cuts to government salaries, perks and agricultural subsidies," reported Spotlight Zimbabwe.

"The UK is, however, promoting debt write-offs in exchange for a commitment to – not necessarily delivery of – reform.

"Prime Minister Theresa May's government has been sending economists to Harare in an effort to persuade other donors of the merits of a debt relief programme, we hear." The reason why the British government has moved the goal post from "debt write-offs in exchange for delivery of reforms" to "in exchange for commitment to reform" is because they accept that time has run out to deliver the former. For all their talk of holding free, fair and credible elections, President Mnangagwa and coup Junta, have stubbornly resisted all demands for them to implement the democratic reforms to ensure free elections.

The roll-call of those who staged the November 2017 coup is, except for a few individuals from the top brass in the Police and CIO and Robert Mugabe himself, the list of the individuals who have rigged Zimbabwe's elections in the past 37 years. The November coup was their most audacious and dare-devil act yet, they all knew that if their plot failed they would all hang! Having risked all to get absolute power the coup posse was not going to risk losing it six months later in a free, fair and credible election!

So, it came as no surprise that the coup Junta paid lip service to holding free and fair elections. If one was to ask the British, as the ones making the proposal: If the democratic reforms are not implemented this time, when, in their view, do they believed they will be implemented?

For the sake of political expedience, they will argue that the reforms should be implemented before the next elections. Everyone knows that Zanu PF regime with a comfortable two thirds majority in both houses will never implement any meaningful reforms. The regime will be facing the same self-interest challenge that has stop it implementing the reforms since the golden opportunity to do so was lost during the GNU.

"Both approaches are risky. A lack of access to finance will consign the best-intentioned reforms to failure, while too ‘soft' a line will leave the government with no incentive to change," noted Spotlight Zimbabwe.

If the truth be said, Zanu PF has enjoyed absolute power for the last 38 years giving it up in simply not any option.

"You can't expect us to reform ourselves out of power," as Professor Jonathan Moyo had aptly put.

"The UK's proposal is not motivated solely by altruism," continue the report.

"London would like to include Zimbabwe in its plans to broker post-Brexit trade deals with African members of the Commonwealth, which Zimbabwe left in 2003.

"It may suit UK economic interest to trade with a Zimbabwe ruled by a Zanu PF dictatorship but there is no doubt that not everyone, particularly the private investors, will share the British's confidence. Zimbabwe's economic recovery will depend on restoring investor confidence as soon as possible and that demands a clearly defined political roadmap starting with Zimbabwe holding her first ever free, fair and credible elections."

The option of demanding democratic reforms, holds free and fair elections, etc. ahead of re-engagement is the sound, logical and only workable solution here.

We must not forget here the international community has cut a lot of slack for President Mnangagwa and his coup Junta regime already by turning a blind eye to the fact the regime is in fact illegitimate as it was born from military coup. The regime has promised to hold free, fair and credible elections just to correct its legal status.

As a Zimbabwean, I and my fellow country men and women are asking the international community to hold President Mnangagwa and his Junta to their promise to hold free and fair elections. If they fail to deliver on their promise then the international community must declare the elections null and void and open the way for the appointment of an interim administration whose primary task will be to implement the democratic reforms followed by the holding of free, fair and credible elections.

The people of Zimbabwe are in this economic mess which has forced unemployment to soar to 90%, millions of Zimbabweans have been forced to leave the country as economic and/or political refugees, ¾ of the population live on US$1.00 or less a day, etc., etc. This has all happened because for the last 38 years the nation was stuck with a corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical regime that rigged elections to stay in power. After all the sacrifice and suffering and deaths it would be an act of unimaginable folly and betrayal if the nation was to emerge out of this with the Zanu PF dictatorship complete with all its vote rigging powers intact!

With all due respect to Prime Minister Theresa May and her government, what is to happen in Zimbabwe must be decided on what the people of Zimbabwe want and what is in the country's long-term interest and NOT what the British want.

A free, just, democratic Zimbabwe is in the short, medium and long-term interest of Zimbabwe, the South Africa region, Africa and, I dare say, the international community. If President Mnangagwa and his Junta are allowed to get away with another rigged election, then the country must expect yet another military coup – this time, it may well be bloody!

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