Thursday, 12 November 2015

Zim economic woes were not caused by sanctions "Chinamasa admitted" said USA Ambassador!

The American government imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and a select few in his inner circle for the regime’s bad human rights record and failure to hold free elections. I applaud the successive American Administrations for holding that position in the face of all the rhetoric and bombastic abuse coming from Harare.


The US, EU and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle in 2002 following yet another rigged elections. Mugabe countered by launching his vitriolic denunciation of “illegal sanctions imposed by evil British and their white imperialist allies”. He has blamed all Zimbabwe’s economic ills on the sanctions although the economy was already in deep trouble by 2002, for example. He has used ever public platform in the country or outside to blast the West and demand the lifting of the sanctions.


Whilst the EU has bowed to the relentless attach and lifted most of the sanctions the US has said no and maintained the sanctions! The sanctions were imposed for a very good reason; to focus attention on Zanu PF’s bad human rights record especially the failure to hold free and fair elections. Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections and so why should the sanctions be lifted. Mugabe was using the sanctions as an excuse for his failed economic policies and thus pressure point to get the sanctions lifted; only a fool would fall for that one.   


Time has proven the Americans were right to stand firm on the sanctions as outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has reaffirmed.

"Sanctions are not the reason Zimbabwe's economy is performing badly, but rather bad or inconsistent policy decisions by the government. Sanctions are not the problem; no correlation to economic growth," Wharton said.

"There are more fundamental economic issues that Zimbabwe can focus on other than sanctions. Murkiness in the indigenisation policy is the problem, not the concept itself. On Black Friday when the Zimbabwe dollar value fell by 75%, that was not due to sanctions."


Indeed by choosing to hide behind sanctions excuse and ignore the task of addressing these “more fundamental economic issues” the regime has allowed mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness, the three big economic cancers, to grow and spread. Today these cancerous tumours have grown to the size of tennis balls and they are in every sector of the economy.


“Even [Patrick]Chinamasa [Finance minister] admitted that the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe is bigger than sanctions," Ambassador Wharton told his audience.


Of course Chinamasa would have never admitted sanctions are not the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown if Americans too had given in to Zanu PF propaganda as the EU has done. So instead of the regime dealing with the real causes it would still be wasting time on the imaginary sanctions. Now the regime must make a similar admission on the political front. 


“The 2013 election was peaceful, that is a big step in the right direction. Elections have been a problem both in Zimbabwe and in the US, for example, the Florida elections. The US government believes the 2013 elections were not credible,” said the Ambassador.


The 2013 elections were “peaceful” compared to the 2008 elections which were marred by the worst wanton violence in recent human history. It was Zanu PF operatives aided and abetted by Police, Army and CIO who were responsible for the mayhem in which millions were beaten and/or raped and over 500 were murdered. In 2013 Mugabe had gone to great length and expense to blatantly rig the vote. He paid an Israeli company, NIKUV, a princely sum of $13 million, for example, to produce a voters-roll with 6 million registered voters, an impossible figure given the country’s population is 12 million. The high number of registered voters was to cover, amongst many other voting irregularities, for the multiple votes cast by Zanu PF supporters bussed from one polling station to the next.


The regime has stubbornly refused to realise the voters-roll although it is a legal requirement that the roll must be realised at least one month before voting day. The voters-roll was the smoking gun in the rigged 2013 elections.


The AU and SADC election observers accepted the 2013 elections results on the grounds they were “peaceful” compared to the barbarism of the 2008 elections. If the barbarism of 2008 is the yardstick against which our future elections are to be judged then Zimbabwe will never ever have free, fair and credible elections. Of course the imposition of such a standard is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe; we deserve free, fair credible elections to internationally accepted standards, some as anybody else. 


After all the years of blaming sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic ills it is gratifying that Minister Chinamasa has finally admitted that the sanctions was just an excuse. The admission was long in coming and the nation is paying dearly for it with company closures, 90% plus unemployed, 16% living in abject poverty, etc.


The real game-changer admission from Zanu PF is the accepting the implementation of all the GPA democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections. Mugabe has fought long and hard to impose this de facto one-party state on the nation complete with its “no regime change” mantra; he will now finally be forced to dismantle it with the implementation of the reforms.

Mugabe swore to uphold the nation’s democratic constitution and the rule of law and he has insisted that all Zimbabwe’s past elections have been free, fair and credible without exception. He will now be force to admit that it is impossible to hold free and fair elections and still achieve his “no regime change” mantra; it is in fact an oxymoron.

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