The EU and aid to Zanu PF PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 08 June 2014 12:59

“ZIMBABWE could receive €234 million (about US$318m) in development assistance from the European Union (EU) if the bloc lifts its decade-old embargo on provision of direct financial support to Harare at a meeting set for November,” reported the New Zimbabwe. The EU is being totally irresponsible!


The last thing the people of Zimbabwe want is for anyone to encourage Mugabe that his regime can somehow fudge the economic recovery by getting a few million dollars from the EU, the Arabs, AFDB; sell even more of the nation's treasures to the Chinese and Indians for a fraction of their true value and so on. And thus avoid having to tackle the two tough issues that this nation must deal with: decisive now or pay an even bigger price if we delay any further


The two tough issues the regime has tried to avoid but cannot do so any more are:


1) The cancerous problems of mismanagement and corruption. The national economy is in this mess because no economy can thrive when it is subjected to so much criminal waste of material and human resources as has been happening in Zimbabwe these last 34 years. 


For example, two weeks ago Nehanda Radio reported a “US$654 million dodgy deal involving the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of power utility Zesa Holdings” in which new subcontractors had been surreptitiously added after the Solar Panel Projected had been awarded and the agreed contract price was then doubled in some areas. Ultimately it is the impoverished ordinary Zimbabweans who will end up paying one way or the other the additional costs.


Over the years, mismanagement, corruption and looting have become worse and worse in Zimbabwe and today they are rampant. It is nonsense to talk of economic recovery when there is so much waste!


Mugabe has allowed the mismanagement and corruption to go on all these 34 years because they constitute the very heart and soul of the Zanu PF patronage system that has kept the party together and in power. Mugabe’s and the party’s popularity with the electorate are rock bottom and the party’s iron grip on power is now totally dependent on political patronage system. The party cannot afford to dismantle it; not now!


2) The need to attract direct foreign investment. Whilst the loans from donors like the EU are supposed to be used in rebuild the country's economic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply, roads, etc, this alone is not enough to produce the much hoped for sustainable economic recovery. The country needs direct foreign investment too. (The regime is so cash strapped it will use infrastructure loans to pay the boasted civil service wages too.)


The regime has been told again and again, particularly in the last few months, that to attract foreign investors back in the country Zimbabwe must restore investor confidence that their investments will be safe. The Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe compared investing in Zimbabwe to swimming in the crocodile infested Zambezi River. No investor would want to see 51% of his or her investment taken away and be yoked to a partner from hell which is what Zanu PF’s indigenisation policies have been calling for! 


Since the rigged July 2013 elections Mugabe and his Ministers have been forced to accept that no investors will want to swim in Zimbabwe’s crocodile infested economic waters and they have been have been toning the anti-white rhetoric, cutting back the number of shares investors will be obliged to sell and even scrapping this requirement in some cases. Of course the would-be investors have remained decidedly unimpressed. 


After 34 years of lawlessness and disregarding trade agreements with other nations, the Mugabe regime has opened a credibility gap as wide and as deep as the Grand Canyon; bridging it now is proving to be impossible. 


For anyone to give the Mugabe regime money whilst these two core problems of mismanagement and corruption on the one hand and failure to restore investor confidence on the other remain unresolved is being totally irresponsible because the loans will be wasted and added to the country’s mountain of debt. But, worse still, the loans will keep Mugabe in power for a few more months and thus postpone the day of reckoning compounding the problems and making recovery even more costly. 


The only realistic solution for Zimbabwe is for the country to hold fresh free, fair and credible elections, get a new government that will have the people's mandate to rule and the respect and confidence of the international community and investors. Fresh elections is the cure; EU loans are but painkillers to someone with a broken leg. The patient would not have broken the leg if Mugabe had not rigged the July 2013 elections; the leg could be save if fresh elections are held without further ado but gangrene will soon set in. Once gangrene has set in then the leg must be amputated or the patient will die! 


The EU has forced its own member countries like Greece and Spain to take some bitter medicine to address their fundamental economic weakness as a condition for financial aid from the rest of the union. Yet the same EU is now telling Mugabe that the Zimbabwe economy will recover regardless of the rampant mismanagement and corruption and with no foreign investment! How dishonest is that?


Zimbabwe is subject to the same laws of thermodynamics and basic economic as any other nation; it is very patronising, to say the very least, of the EU to be tells us otherwise!


Wilbert Mukori


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