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'USA sanctions will harm the poor,' argue analysts - garbage in garbage out

13 Aug 2018 at 07:51hrs | Views
"In computer science, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) is where flawed, or nonsense input data produces nonsense output or "garbage"!" explained Wikipedia.

"The principle also applies more generally to all analysis and logic, in that arguments are unsound if their premises are flawed."

Zanu PF and its army of apologists and spin doctors has drummed into many Zimbabweans' mind the notion that the sanctions imposed by the USA, EU and other western countries are harming the poor Zimbabweans and not those on the sanctions list. This was nonsense designed to draw attention away from the real causes of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown – the mismanagement, corruption and country's pariah state status.

But like all tyrannical regime schooled in the art of propaganda and brainwashing; Zanu PF repeated the sanctions nonsense over and over again many people not only believed it but even seemingly independent media and analysts started repeating the nonsense as if it was empirical fact!

"Analysts warned the renewed sanctions will spread misery across Zimbabwe's economy, with a recession expected to hit factories and roll back production, especially those that run in partnership with multinational companies barred from the market by US sanctions. Blue-collar families also face the prospect of job losses, worsening inflation, accelerating the decline of the currency and making imports scarcer and more difficult to acquire," reported Newsday.

To start with Zimbabwe's economic troubles have their Genesis from soon after independence in 1980 when this Zanu PF pursued its socialist economic policies and reckless spending. By the late 1990s the IMF, WB and many other leading lending institution had stopped funding the Zimbabwe government because the country was up to her eye balls in debt and was failing to service the debt.

So by the time the western nation imposed the economic sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies in 2001/2 the Zimbabwe economy was already in the gutter!

The Zimbabwe economy had rallied significantly during the GNU, recording a 12% growth rate in the first year after a decade of negative growth, regardless of the sanctions remaining in place. The new found confidence was born out of the belief the GNU would produce a good and competent government. Sadly, the rigged 2013 elections brought back the Zanu PF dictatorship and, not surprising, the economic meltdown returned too.

Last November's military coup was heralded as a "new dispensation" that would end the corruption and hold free, fair and credible elections and thus end Zimbabwe's pariah state label. President Mnangagwa has done nothing to end corruption and the just ended elections were NOT free and fair.

The much hoped for flood of foreign investors and lenders will never happen because Zimbabwe is still a pariah state ruled by vote-rigging thugs. Investors do not do business with thugs!

The assertion that there will be a recession because "multinational companies will be barred from the market by US sanctions" is nonsense. What multinational company would want to do business in a country whose next regime change has to be another military coup, violent street protests or some such violent event!

Professor Stephen Chan from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies was arguing the Americans would have passed the just ended elections as free and fair is violence that started 1st August had been delayed.

"All the government had to do was wait three weeks to a month for all the observer group reports to be filed - which would have been cautiously and conditionally optimistic - and Mnangagwa's engagement policy would have borne fruit," argued Professor Chan.

"Someone in his administration couldn't wait. It was completely incompetent. The observer reports will now be much more critical. Zimbabwe needed US investment. That cannot now come. Without it, Zimbabwe will stay bankrupt."

I serious doubt that the western election observers' reports would have been "conditionally optimistic" as Professor Chan claims. The USA observers had noticed there was no free public media; ZEC had failed to register diaspora voters and to produce a verified voters' roll; etc.; etc. These are the issued the Americans had explicitly demanded as conditions for lifting the sanctions.

"There is growing evidence of the rich despots getting richer and the poor getting poorer during the subsistence of economic sanctions," chipped in another regular commentator, Saungweme.

"To that extent, I would see the sanctions as doing more harm to the poor than good. The poor will now suffer from a double tragedy of rights abuses at the hands of the dictatorial regime and unpromising economic prospects from sanctions. Dialogue and back channel diplomacy are alternatives to sanctions that work and have less human costs. Americans should adopt these than sanctions."

It is corruption that has made the rich, richer and it is corruption that has made the poor, poorer. The vast wealth the rich cream off and waste on big mansions, 45 gold watches, fleet of posh cars, overseas trips, etc. is wealth that should otherwise be invested in health, education, etc. for the commonwealth.

In 2016, former President Mugabe has admitted to $15 billion in diamond revenue being "swindled". To this day not one swindler has been arrested and not a single dollar recovered. A year ago the then Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, told parliament government was receiving 1/6 th of the expected revenue from diamonds. So the wholesale looting of the nation's resource is still going on to this day!

No nation on earth can afford to be haemorrhaging $15 billion much less one with a GPD of $10 billion. And yet many of our mediocre analysts expect Zimbabwe to thrive regardless the corruption as long as the sanctions are lifted!

There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is in a serious economic situation with unemployment now a nauseating 90% and 75% of our people living on US$1.00 or less a day. The serious economic situation has made the country very unstable politically; the people are getting restless, they cannot be expected to endure these economic hardship for much longer.

What the country needs to end the economic meltdown is a competent government that will address the root causes of the economic problems – the mismanagement, the corruption and the bad governance – head on. This Zanu PF government has failed to deal with these problems and the nation's efforts to get a different regime have failed.

 Zanu PF usurped the people's power elect a new regime and, to stay in power, the party has rigged elections for the last 38 years.

What Zimbabwe needs to get a competent government is to implement the democratic reforms to restore the people's democratic freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections. The Americans imposed the sanction of this Zanu PF junta to pressure the junta to hold free and fair elections.

The sanctions helping end the Zanu PF dictatorship and therefore the sanctions must stay! We are in this mess because of decades of rigged elections and not because of western sanctions. Anyone saying otherwise is talking nonsense, garbage.

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