Use long spoon Zim, you are supping with the devil

Use long spoon Zim, you are supping with the devil Bob Corker
Bob Corker

Bob Corker

Joram Nyathi Spectrum

We have always had reservations about the IMF’s intentions. It’s not a secret who owns and controls it. It is the same country with whom Zimbabwe has been at war for the past 16 years. The same country which ganged up with its cousins to oppose Zanu-PF’s land reform in defence of white minority property rights.

ONE can’t help feeling sorry for Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa. But he should not expect sympathy from the private media, which has in the past few months tried to appropriate him as the man in Zanu-PF fighting a lone battle to revive the country’s economy.

When it comes to lavishing praise on foreign prescriptions for Africa, the private media suspend all reason and scepticism, both only matched by their cynicism for anything African in general and Zimbabwean in particular.

So no one should expect to read “analysts” writing in the private media about the US’ backhanded dealings with Zimbabwe, nor the IMF’s treachery in its dealings with Chinamasa.

The IMF has been in the country for nearly two years.

They are pursuing something called a Staff Monitored Programme.

In public this monitoring is to ensure Zimbabwe trims its expenditure by cutting its wage bill. The ultimate objective is to ensure the recovery of the economy so we all live happily ever after.

The bare truth is that Chinamasa is being advised on how to reintroduce Esap without the boisterousness of the late former Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero. But we can see the same results: more retrenchments in the civil service which have been warmly welcomed by our eager private media and their numb-minded analysts.

Chinamasa has been indulging the IMF in the hope that if Zimbabwe cleared its debt, we should expect a deluge in lines of credit.

He was last year taken to the pinnacle of the mountain in Lima, Peru and told, everything shall be yours if only you fall down and worship the IMF.

He tried and came up with a debt clearance strategy.

We have always had reservations about the IMF’s intentions. It’s not a secret who owns and controls it. It is the same country with whom Zimbabwe has been at war for the past 16 years. The same country which ganged up with its cousins to oppose Zanu-PF’s land reform in defence of white minority property rights.

It is the same country which has opposed the empowerment of black people in Zimbabwe in defence of colonial white privileges.

These Zanu-PF policies run counter to those white “interests” which have become America’s.

It would be inconceivable that the IMF would seek to revive an economy America is deliberately destroying through a sanctions-chokehold.

For a start, we have repeatedly cautioned that protests about Zimbabwe’s black economic empowerment and indigenisation policies lacking “clarity and consistency” are hollow.

There can be nothing clearer than a 49/ 51 percent ownership ratio in favour of indigenous people.

Government has been equally clear about which sectors are reserved for locals, such as fuel, retail, hair dressing and other small-scale activities. In all other sectors, the policy is that partners can negotiate ownership ratios depending on contributions.

We are not aware of a single company which has been appropriated by the State in the name of indigenisation and black economic empowerment, not even those which prospered through their ownership of commercial farms.

It was only farms which were taken over, using the law as appropriately amended.

Still, the refrain about lack of policy clarity and consistency is replayed over and over.

Our own captains of industry can’t help clarify things either. They have to be told what to tell their Government.

They have to repeat the message that there is no security of property in Zimbabwe. We must improve the ease of doing business. Generous investors are standing by the gate waiting to pour in billions of dollars, if only Zimbabwe can get its politics right — a poorly framed euphemism for Zimbabwe to renounce the land reform programme, stop its black economic empowerment programmes, and to allow the IMF to do as it pleases.

Everywhere they are gathered it’s the same cliché: “indigenisation is the elephant in the room”!

Fables are repeated over and over about Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa getting more FDI than Zimbabwe. But nobody produces figures to demonstrate the benefits of that investment in terms of the human development index, that Zimbabwe is worse off because it gave land to incompetent and indolent indigenous people.

Recently, there was a near nasty fallout between two Cabinet ministers, Chinamasa himself on the one hand, and Indigenisation Minister Patrick Zhuwao on the other, over implementation of the policy.

The private media were agog with fantasies of a Zanu-PF climbdown, or how “hardliners” were losing the battle, or how Chinamasa was being “sabotaged” by fellow ministers in his bid to make indigenisation palatable to hungry investors.

Our point has been consistently simple: Zanu-PF won the July 31 harmonised elections on the strength of its black economic empowerment and indigenisation policy.

It must serve the interests of those who voted for it ahead of anyone else.

Quite contrary, if it were to strive to please an unquantifiable entity called foreign investors, it might as well apologise for the land reform and order everyone on the farms to return to the Tribal Trust Lands. After all weren’t we happy hewers of wood for the better part of a whole century?

That ugly reality must have hit Chinamasa in the face this week when America made demands on Zimbabwe which it knows can never be met.

Not only are they preposterous but they also seek to reverse everything for which Zimbabwe has been punished with sanctions for the past 15 years.

A letter of January 28, 2016 by US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker to the country’s treasury secretary Jacob Lew makes it clear Chinamasa has been labouring in vain.

The US is hostile to an economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

In his own words, Corker wrote; “I write regarding reports that the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank may proceed with a process to allow for clearance of the Government of Zimbabwe’s $1 9 billion in unpaid arrears to those institutions.

“While the willingness of a country to meet its debt obligations should normally be embraced, in this case, arrears clearance will allow for new lending to the Government of Zimbabwe.

“Without meaningful progress toward long-awaited reforms by the Mugabe regime, new lending could significantly alter internal political dynamics and help entrench the very same individuals responsible for the economic collapse and gross human rights violations.”

It is called working at cross purposes Comrade.

We don’t even believe this should be viewed as a stab in the back of Comrade Chinamasa. It is America’s modus operandi to cripple the economies of countries whose policies it doesn’t like, by placing them under sanctions, if it can’t destroy them militarily.

America can therefore never be an agent of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery so long as that recovery makes blacks economically stronger than anyone else in the region because they own that economy. That would be a bad example for upstarts like Malema and his wayward Economic Freedom Fighters.

Second, Corker’s letter lists a litany of other politically-pregnant demands which should make even our opposition politicians cringe in disgust, except that it is an open secret who led the witch into the sacred family shrine.

It makes demands on Gukurahundi, land reform, rule of law, property rights, diamond revenues, security sector reforms, free Press, freedom of expression, assembly. Let’s stop there.

The problem is not the length of the list. It is that the US is the prosecutor, judge and executioner. It is the one which sets the “benchmarks” — which means the victim can never win absolution through performance, but by the grace of the accuser.

Zimbabwe has a long war ahead, unless we want to surrender and become the laughing stock of timid fellow Africans who never ventured to get back their land, their economy.

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