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Zanu PF policies driving poverty, not sanctions

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WITH the arrival of United Nations special rapporteur, Alena Douhan, to look into the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe, there is a danger that looking on the surface it can easily be argued that sanctions are hurting the population as a whole.

There are two easily identifiable reasons that can be and have been proffered:

  • Lack of access to international markets for goods and services which went a long way in expediting the growth of the Asian Tigers.
  • Similarly, lack of credit facilities which is the backbone of the Asian Tigers’ rapid development, because Zimbabwe does not have open access to international banking, hindering development.

The migration to better pastures in the diaspora of around five million of our largely skilled workforce is also pointed out as being detrimental to our economic development.

On the face of it, these look like reasonable arguments for the removal of sanctions. Our economic woes can be laid on the doorstep of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom for imposing the sanctions!

On closer scrutiny, it is the policies of the ruling Zanu PF party that are the main drivers of the poverty in Zimbabwe, not sanctions.

Before the disastrous land expropriation policy was effected, we had open access to markets and had a very strong economy with little to no poverty.

Government has now entrenched this policy in the Constitution, so it is obviously determined not to go back on it, no matter the damage to the country and the starvation and lack of employment it has created.

Sanctions only affect those who have control of State resources who loot government institutions like National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe and the Grain Marketing Board.

Our gold, diamonds and other valuable minerals are largely in the hands of the politically well-connected right to the top echelons of power, so it is not easy for the banks to identify sanction breakers.

It is not sanctions, but the world-wide anti-money-laundering policies that from time-to-time get in the way of legitimate currency dealings.

If sanctions were to be lifted, would the rampant corruption and flip-flop economic policies attract international money to freely pour into Zimbabwe?

The non-payment of international debts goes back to long before sanctions were imposed.

Maladministration of our economy has not changed since we started defaulting on our international payments.

Citizens started fleeing to the diaspora long before sanctions were imposed, mainly due to political violence to start with, then economic hardships after the economy collapsed due solely to the land expropriation and resultant collapse of the farming sector.

It must be remembered that the sole beneficiaries of the land redistribution policy were Zanu PF cadres and not the generality of the poor or people with farming skills or even a desire to farm.

The present government has not eased up on political violence or improved local job opportunities.

We have around 300 000 school-leavers a year and without government creating more jobs, people will continue to flee to the diaspora. The lifting of sanctions will not change that substantially.

It must be remembered that sanctions were imposed on the ruling elite in protest against Zanu PF’s handling of elections with violence as their main weapon.

They were imposed to support the citizenry as best the super powers could. The super powers were thinking rationally that government would quickly see the harm that its defiance of international human rights laws was inflicting on themselves and the country and change, but alas, Zanu PF is not made up of normal caring people.

It is so easy for a caring government to have these sanctions lifted and at the same time lift the country out of economic doldrums, adhere to good governance standards, observe human rights and hold free and fair elections.

But President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party don’t have an appetite for the above.

Mnangagwa has not openly condemned any acts of violence and abductions or seen to seriously oppose corruption, which makes him appear to be complicit.

Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled and raped the richest country in Africa, with the people living in abject poverty. There were no sanctions there to hide behind.

There is nothing to indicate that Zanu PF and its leadership is any different. Regime change is our only hope!

China moved on when the leadership saw that the population was restless after the Tiananmen Square protests as the party’s only way of survival, not because it wanted to develop the country. -A Mbire

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