• Mugabe And Tsvangirai Stuck


    Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe, is watching with glee as the MDC squirms in the hot seat of government, with the latest blow to Tsvangirai's hope for alleviating the people's suffering coming from the United States Ambassador in Zimbabwe.

    The Ambassador told SW Radio that sanctions will not be lifted any time soon. The European Union is indeed showing signs of fracturing, which is Mugabe's long-cherished dream and prediction. The Zimbabwean leader has said privately on many occasions that the Nordic countries will be first to break ranks with the EU.

    He has also predicted that Germany will do the same, once Chinese investments for rebuilding Zimbabwe start coming in. German is an industrial powerhouse, was the thinking, and it would not stand idly by while lucrative contracts were dished out......

    So far, ministers from two Nordic countries have come to Zimbabwe, but their commitment has been muted and they are still saying they will help on the humanitarian front only. The state newspaper, The Herald, is shouting itself hoarse, cheering every landing at Harare International Airport by an EU minister and promising wonderful things as a result of the visits.

    The truth is that it is all wishful thinking. Even Harare's streets, which were full of the usual bluster barely two weeks ago, with people telling each other that the West has promised Tsvangirai US$5 billion, have now all gone quiet.

    It is starting to sink in. There is no bailout coming for this country. The only hope lies in South Africa, whose Finance Minister said recently that he could revive an old line of credit extended to Ian Smith's Rhodesia by Vorster's apartheid regime through the South Africa Reserve Bank. "We could resuscitate that," he said at the time.

    But help from South Africa, whether through a line of credit or full monetary integration into the Rand Monetary Union, can only be looked at in May. This is because South Africa hold its elections in April, which is next month. 

    Zuma and his camp would not want to be seen to be giving money to Zimbabwe in the run-up to elections. The xenophobia attacks in South Africa last year show just how touchy the subject of foreigners is in the country.

    If the ANC government were to give Zimbabwe money before the election, they could suffer heavily at the polls, as the opposition would be able to take advantage of this to preach about giving money away to Mugabe while service delivery and the housing needs of South Africans are not yet met.

    Meantime, the IMF is still saying Zimbabwe needs to repay its debts first before discussions can take place. Gideon Gono now knows from bitter experience that, even after the debt is repaid, the IMF will simply find another reason not to lend money.

    The IMF are taking their cue from the Americans and as long as they and the British maintain sanctions, then there will be no change of heart at Bretton Woods either.

    Anyway, you will recall that Finance Minister Tendai Biti told gathered diplomats and businessmen at the launch of "Economic Recovery Programme" that the Mugabe/Tsvangirai government was in talks about the lifting of sanctions, especially the America Law ZIDERA.

    "As far as the USA is concerned, it is imperative that the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) be repealed and representations and consultations have already begun in this respect," Biti told the gathering.

    Later on that day, Robert Woods, acting Spokesman for the State Department in the USA, contradicted this when he pointedly told his daily briefing audience, "We are not in consultations with any persons or any group about that.

    The bottom line is that, no aid is coming to Zimbabwe, certainly, and there will be no influx of the skilled Zimbabweans back into the country from the diaspora where they went in search of better lives. This means there will be no recovery, the skills are simply not here anymore. And we will not have the money nor the stability to attract them back.

    Which means Mugabe and Tsvangirai are stuck, basically. The sad thing is that Tsvangirai has taken on some of Mugabe's culpability as far as the people of Zimbabwe are concerned.

    Tsvangirai will now be identified with this failure and my greatest fear is that faith in democracy, politicians and the fruits of transparent and honest government will also suffer the same crisis of confidence as people decide that all these people are the same and nothing will ever change.

    SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WHY NO AID, NO HELP FOR TSVANGIRAI?

    Well, as I have said on this blog before, and as one of our readers, Nyatsimba Mutota, pointed out yesterday, the lack of policy direction from the MDC is definitely counting against them. Donors look at the bloated government, which is essentially going to gobble the entire US$1 billion budget announced by Biti and they run.

    The issue now is not about Mugabe or whatever certain ignoramuses may want you to believe. Biti made provisions for circumventing ZANU PF, Mugabe and the Reserve Bank in his operations.

    He says in his new budget statement that the country's accounts will now be held at Treasury, meaning his ministry. Which means Gono has no power over any money the country will have, either donor funds or revenue from taxes and duties.

    In his Blue Book, which details the votes for each ministry, money that is kept in reserve for specific contingencies for various ministries has also now been put under the sole control of Treasury (Ministry of Finance). Each item listed under these reserves in the blue book is headlined by a statement stating that none of the money will be released without the approval of the Finance ministry.

    So, having put all these measures in place to reassure donors and aid agencies, Biti, Tsvangirai and the MDC are still being kicked in the teeth by their allies, who were "promising" ten billion US dollars during the March 2008 elections?

    Funny? It would be if it did not have such devastating consequences for the people of Zimbabwe and the  future of this country.

    ***************
    As for the earlier story about the fight between soldiers and policemen, it appears it was nothing organised at all but started when one soldier accused a policeman of stepping on his shoe in the bank queue at First Street.

    The two challenged each other and went into the park, followed by their comrades, where the fight between the two men degenerated into a melee. 

    This evening, there was a riot police lorry parked at the park, along Third Street, in front of our offices. It appears even this inclusive government is not leaving anything to chance.

1 comments:

  1. Thokozile says:

    This Finance Ministry is a very hot seat, and if Tendai Kukiya-kiya Biti is not very careful he will soon turn himself to public enemy number one. The way I see it the President seem to be giving Biti a very long rope to hang himself.For example the civil servants who went to his office over the cashing of their vouchers. Their anger will be directed towards Biti in person, and to the ordinary person Biti represents MDC. Come election time it will be MDC was given the chance and they failed.Gono who is seen as Zanu Pf will be safe.
    I recall from a previous article Denford wrote on this forum, that Mnangagwa was heard saying, he does not mind Tsvangirai being his Prime Minister. I foresee this arrangement (inclusive gvt) is likely to live much longer, until Zanu PF is viewed positively regionally and internationally. Already MDC itself has started the cleansing of Zanu Pf, there has been a lot of positive public statements, starting with Tsvangirai's son, Tsvangirai himself and Biti. They now say they are beginning to see the true side of Mugabe, he is a wonderful father, to the ordinary men Mugabe represents Zanu PF any good you see in him is translated to a positive for Zanu Pf.
    There is another big doubt, is the election going to be conducted, given the costs of running it. If Biti as Finance Minister is going to get the funding and circumvent the Zanu Pf, Mugabe (I do not know how?)and provides the funds to run the election. That will be an effective trump card for Zanu Pf campaign, that an MDC minister is opting to print ballot papers at such a cost, and yet failing to pay $100 to civil servants. They do not care about the people, all they want is power. People will be asked what they prefer an election or their salaries.We aint seen nothing yet, this is ZANU PF.

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