Nobleman Runyanga Correspondent
A Washington-based political scientist, Alexander Noyes has released a report entitled “A new Zimbabwe? Assessing Continuity and Change after Mugabe” which was published by Rand Corporation, an American organisation which defines itself as “a non-profit institution that helps to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis”.
A perusal of the report indicates that it is a biased document meant to paint a picture of a President Mnangagwa who has failed to move the country forward through putting in place reforms at the rate which would please the United States and its cronies at Harvest House.
It is a document meant to justify America’s planned interference in Zimbabwe’s affairs to create circumstances that would enable its local political project, the MDC, to assume State power which it has been consistently denied by the electorate in the ballot booth every election season due to its lack of meaningful policies and general inelectability.
Noyes’ report is shamelessly biased against President Mnangagwa and his administration.
For example, while acknowledging reforms such as the repeal of laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the replacement thereof by more acceptable legislation, Noyes shamelessly claimed that “government continues to prevent and violently suppress political protests and the media remains heavily biased in favour of the ruling party”.
This claim was despite the fact that the Government has, in some circumstances, been forced to issue prohibition orders against planned opposition violent and destructive protests after getting intelligence on the planned abuse of the constitutional right to protest to unleash mayhem in the country as a way of getting back at ZANU PF for its own electoral loss during the 2018 harmonised elections.
This is what happened in August last year. The MDC is so fond of naming Section 59 of the Constitution which gives it the right to demonstrate and petition, but in most cases it abuses this right by destroying other people’s properties.
Noyes claimed that his report was based on interviews with Zimbabweans, who he did not name, but given some of the material in his report one is convinced that these people were more of Martian visitors to Zimbabwe than the country’s citizens.
For how else can one explain sentiments such as “the electoral playing field remained acutely uneven” despite MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa travelling the breadth and length of the country chalking up over 80 campaign rallies including areas which were regarded as opposition no-go areas under the previous administration?
On the economic front, Noyes, while acknowledging the surplus realised as part of austerity measures announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, claimed that the country’s “economy is close to collapse”.
Yes, the economy is facing some challenges, but classifying it as collapsing can only be described as witches’ wishes.
The only time that the Zimbabwean economy came close to collapsing was at the height of the 2007-8 hyperinflationary era when shops were virtually empty.
The report blatantly lied that the decision to dollarise the Zimbabwean economy in 2009 was taken under what Noyes described as power-sharing period in reference to the Government of National Unity (GNU) of 2009 to 2013. This was obviously meant to stroke the ego of the MDC co-vice president, Tendai Biti who was the Finance Minister at the time.
It is clear that Noyes and Rand Corporation took hook, line and sinker all the falsehoods which were put in their basket as research responses.
This is because the decision to dollarise was a Government position which was announced as part of the 2009 National Budget on January 29, 2009, by the then Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa.
In a clear case of hate-driven responses on the part of Noyes’ respondents, the report described President Mnangagwa as “one of the wealthiest people in the country with commercial interests — including in diamonds, gold mining and fuel.”
These claims were not supported by any evidence and were obviously calculated to present the President as incongruously rich amid the ongoing economic challenges, the ultimate aim being to engender disaffection towards him.
Noyes and his MDC colleagues should, however, know that the President is a well-known farmer and even if he had the claimed wealth, it is his right as a Zimbabwean to work for and accumulate wealth. It is neither criminal nor sinful to be wealthy especially if it is born of hard work as is the case with the President.
Noyes’ report concluded that “despite some progress in certain areas, Mnangagwa’s economic reform efforts are incomplete or falling short across a variety of sectors, including the new currency regime, inflation, corruption, land, mining, and privatisation”.
President Mnangagwa has been in office for just 26 months. It is grossly unfair to expect him to clean up after his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe’s mess of nearly 20 years.
His administration needs time to get everything right. Most Zimbabweans are aware of this and it is only the ambitious MDC members such as Biti who are choosing not to understand this because they are after power which the electorate has demonstrated every five years that they do not deserve it.
As a way forward, Noyes and the Rand Corporation proposed a number of punitive initiatives to corner and press President Mnangagwa into agreeing to a National Transitional Authority (NTA) which is the only avenue for Chamisa to taste State power given that, despite the advantage of his young age, he is unlikely to ever win a Presidential election in Zimbabwe given his woefully poor political mettle.
The most outstanding measure proposed by Noyes is the proposal “to withhold support for debt relief or any new lending until clear and unambiguous progress has been made on political and economic reforms and respect for human rights”.
Given Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to climate change and the resultant effects as well as the ongoing economic challenges, the decision is obviously calculated to bring Zimbabwe’s economy to its knees and force people to revolt against Government which the MDC would leverage to unseat ZANU PF for the US’ benefit.
Although Noyes prefaced the evil raft of punitive measures against Zimbabwe by claiming that “Zimbabwe does not have much strategic value to the United States,” it is clear that the US nurses a grudge against the Southern African country for daring to act against the white man in particular and the West in general by taking back her land from them.
It is against this background that stakeholders should read the report and its claims against President Mnangagwa.
The report and its content are a foundation and justification for the West to continue punishing Zimbabwe for setting a precedent and example to other African countries which America and the rest of the western world fear could be replicated in other African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo where they are looting resources.