It is quite disappointing that while Government is working tirelessly for economic revival, some local intended beneficiaries are equally working untiringly to throw spanners into that endeavoured.
By Tafara Shumba
Zimbabwe is saddled with a huge external debt that it is determinedly attempting to settle.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya, presented Government’s external arrears clearance strategy in Lima, Peru in October last year which the global financiers accepted. According to the plan, Zimbabwe was initially scheduled to settle $1,8 billion by June this year.
The deadline was, however, pushed to October this year.
The settlement of the $1,8 billion debt is very essential to Zimbabwe for it will open avenues for a fresh capital injection from the international financiers such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and African Development Bank.
However, there is a fierce campaign to barricade that effort. Those who are campaigning against the strategy include some diplomats, civic society and opposition politicians such as Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai.
A British MP for Vauxhall and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Kate Hoey slammed Lazard Chairman Peter Mandelson for trying to assist Zimbabwe on the debt clearance. Hoey actually ordered British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson to block the deal and stop Mandelson from meddling in Zimbabwe.
Lazard is a New York Stock Exchange-listed financier which has agreed to work with the African Export-Import Bank to assist Zimbabwe to mobilise $1,1 billion for World Bank debt. Mandelson was in Zimbabwe in February this year where he held talks with the RBZ Chief and Chinamasa, an engagement that Hoey strongly condemned.
“In February this year he popped into Zimbabwe and, with the help of our ambassador, Catriona Laing, held an unreported meeting with Mr Chinamasa. A few months later Mr Chinamasa was engaged in intense negotiations on a bailout — with Lazard.
“When Mandelson’s meeting and Chinamasa’s negotiations were eventually reported in the Sunday Telegraph on August 7 they caused a storm of protest both here and in Zimbabwe, and widespread speculation that the British government had secretly abandoned its opposition to a bailout while (President) Mugabe remained,” said Hoey.
“On Zimbabwe he must reaffirm Britain’s position in the most robust and colourful language he can command: No money, no bailout until (President) Mugabe disappears from power and influence forever,” added Hoey.
That is most expected, coming from a British politician considering that Britain has unfinished business with Zimbabwe. They have not yet laid down their arms on the regime change project.
Therefore, their fear is that the economic turnaround in Zimbabwe would prop up President Mugabe’s Government. The economic challenges prevailing in Zimbabwe, they presume, are actually working in their favour.
The human rights issue being raised by Hoey is neither here nor there. As she did in Zimbabwe sometime in 2003, Hoey must also sneak into Syria, Turkey, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and even Mozambique to appreciate real human rights violations.
However, it’s not guaranteed that she will live to narrate the gross human rights violations in those countries. In Somalia for instance, more than 20 people were killed on Sunday when suicide bombers from the militant al Shabaab group detonated two car bombs at a local government headquarters in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.
Unfortunately the likes of Hoey make their arguments from an uninformed position. They must get correct information on Zimbabwe’s human rights record from Catriona Laing, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe who is on the ground. This is the reason why she is supporting the Lima Plan.
The greatest disappointment comes from our own kin, some of whom are actually presidential hopefuls but are viciously lobbying against the Lima Plan. For the same reasons they invited sanctions on Zimbabwe, Biti and Tsvangirai are working hard to block the Lima Plan so as to perpetuate the untold misery on Zimbabweans.
It’s known that the opposition thrives on crisis but they should have learnt by now that this cunning strategy does not work in the Zimbabwean environment. George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was dead right for observing that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.”
Since the sanctions were illegally imposed on Zimbabwe 14 years ago and caused untold suffering to Zimbabweans, they were nevertheless swayed into effecting the wished-for regime change.
Of late, Biti has been doing a lot of globe-trotting with his anti-Lima Plan campaign. Honestly that plan will benefit the ordinary people that Biti and Tsvangirai claim to love so much. Do they get pleasure in seeing the ordinary people suffering? Do they want to lead corpses?
As for Tsvangirai, blocking the Lima Plan is shooting himself in the foot. Unlike Biti, Tsvangirai has no known profession from which to get income, Tsvangirai is not immune to the biting effects of an ailing economy. He has forgotten so quickly that the effects of the sanctions he invited pauperised him to the extent of failing to fuel his car and buy airtime.
These politicians and their gullible followers should not forget that they will also taste their own poison. -Herald