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'Sanctions are shattering economic recovery' - stop madness, must be prudent lest spoil too many tomorrows

14 Mar 2019 at 06:05hrs | Views
Tyrannical regimes have no respect of the law, fact, truth and reality. They will ignored well established historic facts that do not suit their narrative. In his recent article, "US sanctions shatter Zim's economic revival roadmap", Elijah Chihota, a well known Zanu PF apologist, has been distorting historic facts to blame Zimbabwe's economic mess on sanctions.

"By addressing the land question to correct colonial historical land imbalances, Zimbabwe seemed to have stepped on a lion's tail as Britain sounded the trumpet of distress," wrote Chihota.

"Zimbabwe never interfered with the USA business interests, but because of the above dispute with Britain, the US took sides with the country's former colonisers. The result was the imposition of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of December 2001. With it came the so called "targeted sanctions" which are not targeted after all but affect all people even those not on the sanctions list."

There are a number of historic facts that Chihota has air-brushed out which must be reinstated.

1. When the West imposed the targeted sanctions, they said these were imposed as punishment on the Zanu PF leaders for denying ordinary Zimbabweans their basic human freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections and even the right to life. Whilst it is highly probable that the West had another ulterior motives for imposing the sanctions, still it cannot be denying that Zanu PF was riding roughshod of the ordinary people. For the regime to belittle its corrupt and tyrannical rule is therefore to rub hot chilli into the open wounds it had inflicted on the long suffering masses.

2. By 2001, the time the sanctions were imposed, the Zimbabwe economy was already in serious trouble. The country had already gone through two five-year economic reform programmes designed to revive the economy. The programmes failed to revive the economy because Zanu PF never implement the core reforms called for such as the reduction of the country's bloated army, civil service and cabinet, end the mismanagement and corruption, etc. Indeed these core economic structural problems have remained to this day or be it have grown worse. Corruption, for example, has become so rampant the country lost $15 billion of diamond revenue alone in 2010 to 2014, according to Mugabe's own admission.

3. During the 2008 to 2013 GNU the Zimbabwe economy registered a 12% growth rate after a decade of economic decline. The country scrapped the Z$, after inflation had soared to a record 500 billion per cent, and one or two other things was enough to restore some order and sanity. The sanctions remained in place throughout the GNU and yet the country enjoyed so economic recovery; proof that sanctions are not the ones fuelling the economic meltdown.

4. The Americans promised to lift all the sanctions if Mnangagwa honoured his promise to hold free, fair and credible elections in 2018. And they explained to him what exactly they were looking for. They wanted to see the 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora allowed to vote; a free public media; etc.; etc. Mnangagwa failed to deliver on any of these things and so the Americans are right to retain the sanction. Every Zimbabwean who appreciates the importance of ending the curse of rigged elections as the key to good governance, welcomes that decision.

5. As long as Zimbabwe remains a pariah state ruled by corrupt and vote rigging thugs there is no hope of any meaningful economic recovery. Investors do not do business with thugs for obvious reasons, they do not trust the thugs, there are too many risks, etc. Whilst Zanu PF can deny the reality; what the regime cannot do, however, is change reality. Zimbabwe's economic meltdown is real and cannot be wished away.  

"Learning from yesterday, today acts prudently lest by his actions he spoils the future." This is the message encapsulated in Tiziano Vecelli's (Titian) great painting, The Allegory of Age Governed by Prudence.

Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because for 38 years Zanu PF has denied the nation the opportunity to learn from the past. We must change this here and now or we will continue to forfeit our chance get out of the mess and build a better and brighter future for ourselves and posterity.

Mnangagwa and Zanu PF rigged last July's elections, the regime has no mandate to govern and it must therefore step down. If Mnangagwa et al are still in office in 2023; we can be certain of one  thing - they will rig the 2023 elections and extend their corrupt and tyrannical rule. We must not let that happen!

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