Zimbabwe Sanctions Stay - Us Senate

"Elections? What are those", President Bashir of Sudan seems to be saying to President Kibaki of Kenya. They were both in Zimbabwe for the COMESA Summit, a trade bloc of most of sub-saharan Africa, which is now chaired by Mugabe. As Mugabe hosted these men, the American government was announcing that they will not be lifting sanctions at all.

A month after Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn into office, I overheard a tout in town who was haggling for change with a neatly dressed young woman. The problem was US coins, which the woman wanted as change.

The tout had none.

As he called out to his friend to see if he had change, the woman started complaining that this was an ill-considered move by government, using US dollars and Rands when there was no change to make the currency switch-over smooth for shoppers.

The tout replied:

"Don't worry, Morgan is now PM and there are truckloads of money at the border waiting to come in."

This is a mentality that was bred and encouraged by the MDC-T leadership and its band of zealot followers. I remember arguing with one of these zealots in the Daily News before The Solution closed that paper down.

I was pointing out (it must have been 2002 or 2003) that the MDC had no policies and no vision. It had promises (food, jobs, housing). Even these promises made it a "Basics" party. I wanted something more, a grand vision, an indication that future rulers would actually seek to make this the Switzerland of Africa, a nation that used its bootstraps to pull itself up. A nation that would become one of the wealthiest in Africa within 5 years (it can be done, just not by the MDC-T)

The zealot responded in one of the editions by telling the world I was wrong, ideas were not important, "The moment Morgan Tsvangirai takes over, the economy will automatically come right", he said (emphasis is mine).

It was as simple as that: autopilot. No need for strategy. No need for vision. No need for careful planning. No need for stimulative policies to which business could respond and lift us out of economic doldrums.

All this I mention because, once in government, because there were no policies in place, the MDC-T's only route for salvation was aid from the outside world. (This also explains why we see them implementing ZANU PF policies now)

They need those dollars to provide those basics: A mud hut, three square meals a day and a job in a factory somewhere.

It is extraordinary that this government is failing to meet even these rudimentary needs now, with the resources it has within the country.

Everything they have is being spent on salaries and perks. The priorities are wrong.

So, we come to the announcement by the US Congress that they are maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mugabe and the MDC-PF government. They will continue to block lines of credit and to vote against any assistance for Zimbabwe at the IMF and World Bank and African Bank.

That great Woooosh sound you hear is of the wind being taken out of Tsvangirai's sails.

On this, he had pinned his hope for meaningful existence in government.

It appears this is not about to happen.

Meantime, the people are getting more and more impatient with the non-existence of any improvement in their fortunes.

As one man I gave a lift to yesterday said: "Nothing has changed. It's just that we are using US dollars now and the shops are full, but how do you buy those goods? We are still where we were before."

This is unlikely to change.

As opposed to rescuing Zimbabwe, it is increasingly appearing like Morgan Tsvangirai has rushed to embrace a man who was falling off a cliff. All indications are that, as far as the ordinary person is concerned, Tsvangirai has simply joined a doomed man on a doomed mission.

Still, he insists that Mugabe is 'the solution" to our problems.

Ain't that grand.

Below is the full text of the American Resolution:



1st Session

S. RES. 176

Expressing the sense of the Senate on United States policy during the political transition in Zimbabwe, and for other purposes.


June 9, 2009

Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. KERRY, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. BURRIS, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. CARDIN, and Mr. BROWNBACK) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Expressing the sense of the Senate on United States policy during the political transition in Zimbabwe, and for other purposes.

Whereas, over the course of the last decade, the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), led by Robert Mugabe, increasingly turned to violence and intimidation to maintain power amidst government-directed economic collapse and a growing humanitarian crisis;

Whereas the Department of State’s 2008 Country Report on Human Rights Practices states that the Government of Zimbabwe ‘continued to engage in the pervasive and systematic abuse of human rights, which increased during the year,’ including unlawful killings, politically-motivated abductions, state-sanctioned use of excessive force and torture by security forces against opposition, student leaders, and civil society activists;

Whereas Zimbabwe held presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29, 2008, with official results showing that Mr. Mugabe won 43.2 percent of the vote, while Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 47.9 percent of the vote;

Whereas, in the wake of those elections, Mr. Mugabe and his allies launched a brutal campaign of violence against members and supporters of the MDC, voters and journalists, and other citizens of Zimbabwe, leading Mr. Tsvangirai to withdraw from the June 27, 2008, runoff presidential election, which Mr. Mugabe, the only remaining candidate, then won with 85 percent of the vote;

Whereas, on September 15, 2008, ZANU-PF and the MDC signed a ‘Global Political Agreement’ (GPA) to form a transitional government under which Mr. Mugabe would remain President, Mr. Tsvangirai would become Prime Minister, and the parties would divide control of the ministries;

Whereas the Global Political Agreement, as written, included provisions to restore the rule of law and economic stability and growth, establish a new constitution, end violence by state and non-state actors, and promote freedom of assembly, association, expression, and communication;

Whereas the installation of the transitional government stalled for five months as Mr. Mugabe and his allies refused to compromise on control of key ministries and security agencies and continued to use the state security apparatus to intimidate and commit violence against political opponents;

Whereas, according to the United Nations, the humanitarian situation during that time deteriorated to unprecedented levels, with an estimated 5,000,000 people in Zimbabwe susceptible to food insecurity, and collapsing water and sewerage services giving rise to a cholera epidemic that has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people;

Whereas, on February 11, 2009, the parties finally formed the transitional government;

Whereas there has since been some progress toward the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, including positive steps by the Ministry of Finance, such as the issuance of a Short Term Economic Recovery Program (STERP) and the abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar in favor of foreign currencies;

Whereas many of the reform-minded individuals within the new transitional government are limited by a severe lack of qualified personnel and material resources;

Whereas the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement continues to be obstructed by hardliners in the government, and important issues regarding senior government appointments remain unresolved, notably the status of the current Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General;

Whereas ZANU-PF officials have made efforts to obstruct implementation of the Global Political Agreement as they continue to arrest legitimate journalists and human rights activists and delay the swearing into office of properly designated officials nominated by MDC; and

Whereas the security forces continue to operate outside the rule of law, condoning land invasions, restrictions on media access and freedoms, and harassment, arbitrary arrests, and detention of civil society activists in Zimbabwe: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the United States Government, in coordination with other democratic governments and international institutions desiring to help the people of Zimbabwe, should–

(1) continue to provide humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of the people of Zimbabwe;

(2) make available increased resources for nongovernmental entities to provide assistance and to pay salaries or fees to appropriately qualified people in Zimbabwe to enable progress to be made in the critical areas of education, health, water, and sanitation;

(3) welcome and encourage responsible efforts by the international community to support, strengthen, and extend reforms made by ministries within the Government of Zimbabwe, especially the Ministry of Finance;

(4) provide concrete financial and technical assistance in response to requests from the people of Zimbabwe and civil society organizations in their efforts to draft and enact a new constitution based on democratic values and principles that would enable the country to hold fair and free elections at an early date;

(5) work with and encourage regional governments and leaders to promote human rights, the restoration of the rule of law, and economic growth in Zimbabwe;

(6) maintain the existing ban on the transfer of defense items and services and the suspension of most non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance until there is demonstrable progress toward restoring the rule of law, civilian control over security forces, and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe; and

(7) support the continuation and updating of financial sanctions and travel bans targeted against those individuals responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and other ongoing illegal activities in Zimbabwe.


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