On November 26, 2015, The Herald carried a piece titled, “Politics, not accounting, the problem with IMF”, penned by this writer.The nub of the piece, which was based on an article written at the influential US think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, was that no matter what Zimbabwe could do in trying to clear its debt, which was possible, it was unlikely that it would receive fresh loans from the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF, just like the World Bank and other related multilateral lending institutions, is controlled by the US whose officials have the power to veto any extension of loans or debt cancellation.
Just as well, the influential think tank said: “The United States should have no qualms about refusing to provide Mugabe with financial relief . . . the administration of US President Barack Obama can use its diplomatic clout to insist upon clear and unequivocal human rights benchmarks ahead of any new lending or broader rapprochement.”
We have noted many times that the rhetoric about human rights is plain bull, and a convenient excuse to arm- twist opponents by a country that does worse things, and also walks in the counsel of the wicked. We will not belabour the point.
So, we noted, hostile policies of the West seeking regime change in Zimbabwe by strangling it financially and using all sorts of excuses, including laughable ones, would stand in the way.
If anyone was stupid enough not to understand this point, the story we carried yesterday in which Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote a letter to the US Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, with the same intention of urging the US to continue strangling Zimbabwe, must help clear the air.
It is a confirmation about the US’s unbridled, uncalled for and destructive hostility towards Zimbabwe which we know was borne out of the desire for regime change to revesrse the gains of this country’s independence, including, more specifically, the land reform programme.
Here is what Corker writes: “The administration should use its voice and vote at these international financial institutions as well as its influence with creditors to ensure that any new lending to the Government of Zimbabwe, including lending intended to relieve existing barriers to lending, be preceded by meaningful progress toward clear benchmarks for the restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, including respect for private property, free press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, a credible process of accountability for missing revenue from diamonds and a monitored plan for capturing future revenues and official acknowledgement of past gross human rights abuses and a demonstration that the Government of Zimbabwe is prepared to make an earnest effort to remedy those abuses such as clear steps to hold accountable those responsible for the massacres of more than 20 000 people in Matabeleland in the 1980s and for the disappearance in March, 2015 of human rights activist Itai Dzamara.”
He clarifies that: “Current law (Zidera) requires the President to make a number of certifications including the restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, satisfactory election conditions in that country, equitable, legal and transparent land reform and the subordination of the security force to civilian authority as the necessary conditions for a US vote in support of Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance at any international financial institution.
“We urge the Treasury to act quickly to raise the lack of clear meaningful governance and economic reforms with the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank and to encourage creditors to require such reforms before supporting any new lending to the Government of Zimbabwe.”
It will be useful to interrogate the so-called “certifications” and conditions so we can demonstrate the hostility of the US for which Zimbabwe must by now have had an answer and enough and sustainable counter-strategies:
(a) “Respect for private property, free press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly” – All these freedoms are not only guaranteed in Zimbabwe’s Constitution but are also practised in the country. The excuse couched on the supposed loss of white “private” property through indigenisation is unacceptable because land reform, even some US politicians have agreed that land reform was a historical restorative and economic good. Zimbabwe is about the freest country in the world in terms of speech and right to assemble, of course subject to laws that are in the interest of public order, which any country in the world has an interest in.
(b) “A credible process of accountability for missing revenue from diamonds and a monitored plan for capturing future revenues” – Let it be put on record that the US wanted to take advantage and exploit the diamond resources in the east of Zimbabwe but failed because of its vexatious relations with Zimbabwe, leaving other countries such as the China and Russia to take advantage. What followed were US attempts to keep Zimbabwe’s gems from the world market even when they were clean. And we find it obnoxious that it would interest the US to monitor Zimbabwe’s revenues. Come on, Zimbabwe has enough accountants of its own!
(c) “Official acknowledgement of past gross human rights abuses … to hold accountable those responsible for the massacres of more than 20 000 people in Matabeleland in the 1980s and for the disappearance in March, 2015 of human rights activist Itai Dzamara” – Vice President Phelekhezela Mphoko has noted that the so-called massacres in the 1980s in the Western regions were a conspiracy to destabilise the country through dissident activities in which apartheid South Africa played a key part, a position that is credible. Zimbabwe’s human rights record is clean and the last time the UN Commissioner for Human Rights was here, she gave the country the thumbs up. Now, with what authority do the rabble rousers and sensationalists speak? And if the so-called Gukurahundi is a sensationalised conspiracy, the Itai Dzamara issue is a complete joke, as we have repeatedly noted, that this plain gentleman was never any danger to, or enemy of, the State, he being generally more of a danger to his mental self. With the continuing touting of his name by agents of regime change, credence is then lent to suspicions that his disappearance, if it can be called such, was contrived and therefore fishy.
(d) “The restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, satisfactory election conditions in that country, equitable, legal and transparent land reform” – We have already discussed some of these issues. A note has to be made with respect to the so-called “satisfactory election conditions”. It is not a secret that these, in the book of the West, have to be conditions that allow the opposition to win. Now, how low can the country and its standards and conditions fall when the opposition in Zimbabwe is as fragmented as it is clueless and therefore unelect- able?
(e) Lastly, “subordination of the security force to civilian authority”: this is the jazz about the so-called security sector reform which seeks to wipe out the institutional memory of the State security apparatus by removing serving chiefs who have liberation history and replace them with those that are amenable to the idea of being commanded by Western stooges, some of whom even ran away from the liberation war.
All these conditions are hard to fulfil because they mean that we have to re-imagine and recast Zimbabwe anew: Zimbabwe without land, without sovereignty, without institutional memory and ruled by Western stooges.
Zimbabwe has little choice except to resist and stand by its principles.
It is a hard choice to make.
But we may be better off than allow regime change for the sake of a few pieces of silver.
This is the part that cries out so loud for pragmatic and systematic way of ensuring that Zimbabwe weathers the storm.
As it stands, the US continues to pose a serious threat to Zimbabwe.