Zimbabwe is in a serious economic mess, let us all agree on that! Unemployment has soared to 90%, ¾ of our people are living on US$1.00 or less a day, millions of our people are in the diaspora as economic and/or political refugees, etc., etc. If that does not spell a very serious economic mess, then I do not know what does!
Why is the country in this mess and, more pointedly and urgently, how are we ever going to get out of this mess? Is the question that has occupied the nation’s mind.
When it comes to addressing our national problems, we have blundered from pillar to post; which explains why we have fallen from our perch as one of the top five rich countries in Africa to the poorest in 38 years! We have clearly learned nothing in these last 38 years, because we are still blundering from pillar to post!
“No matter how pessimistic you are, you cannot tell me that nothing will come out of this. President Xi of China is at the moment the most powerful man in the world. He is heading a country with the most powerful economy right now. Even UK, France and Germany are queuing to work with him, so why not Zimbabwe?” Wrote Eric Knight, according to a Zimeye report.
“Listen, I don’t really care what Party you support, it is your choice and your right. I am talking about my country. What kind of a person would be angry when efforts to change our economy are being put? Are you normal!?”
A normal person, Sir Knight, would go where the evidence leads him or her and not blunder blindly. It was none other than former President Robert Mugabe himself who has called China Zimbabwe’s “all weather friend” and for the last 20 years the country has pursued its “Look East” policy, to underline the special relationship. And yet that has not stopped Zimbabwe sinking into this economic mess.
President Mugabe signed many “mega deals” with China, Russia and many other nations and nothing has come out of those deals; that is a historic fact.
Meanwhile, China has benefited greatly from its close relationship with Zanu PF taking full advantage of the political and economic chaos that has ensued under this Zanu PF dictatorship. The Chinese have been at the centre of the wholesale looting of Marange and Chiadzwa diamond, for example.
Zimbabwe is in this economic mess because for 38 years the nation has been stuck with a corrupt and incompetent Zanu PF regime that rigged elections to stay in power. Guess which foreign nation has played the biggest role in helping Zanu PF rig the elections – the Chinese.
The most important deal President Mnangagwa signed with the Chinese during his recent state visit is between Zanu PF and Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP will be giving Zanu PF the financial and material support to rig this year’s election to guarantee another Zanu PF landslide victory.
Everyone, including President Mnangagwa himself, knows that Zimbabwe’s economic recovery will dependent on Zimbabwe being able to attract foreign and local investors and getting financial assistance. “Zimbabwe is open for business!” is President Mnangagwa’s clarion call to underline this point. He has also acknowledged that Zimbabwe needed to end its image as a lawless nation to attract investment and capital and hence his promise to hold free, fair and credible elections.
It is one thing promising free and fair elections and another delivering on one’s promise, especial for when it is almost certain that Zanu PF will lose such election. For President Mnangagwa and his junta who had risked all to stage the November coup to lose power hardly a year later was clearly out of the question.
Everyone, especially the West’s investors and financial donors, could see that the junta was not going to hold free and fair elections. All the claim that Zanu PF had changed after the coup was a lie. The country was still ruled by thugs and no investor wants to do business with thugs.
The flood of investment and capital the Junta had hoped for with the “Zimbabwe is open for business!” call has failed to materialise. By the time ED went to China, last week, he knew and so too did the Chinese, that Zimbabwe’s hopes of reviving its economy by renewing investor confidence was dead in the water. Mnangagwa, just like Mugabe before him, had no choice but to turn to the Chinese and hope they will not give him the same run-around they gave Mugabe.
The Chinese signed more mega deals with Mnangagwa than they signed with Mugabe but, as before, most have strings attached and will never materialise. Opposition leader, Joice Mujuru, has dismissed most of the mega deals as “MOU (memorandum of understanding) and not MOA (Memorandum of Agreement)”.
The only MOA China signed was one to help Zanu PF rig this year’s elections which will slam the door shut to Western investors and financial help. Zimbabwe has always enjoyed good relations with China and has even signed a string of mega deals with the Asian economic giant but that has not stopped Zimbabwe’s economic decline. It is naïve to believe that things would be different this time when nothing has changed!
If we are serious about ending Zimbabwe’s economic mess, then we must start by ending the Zanu PF dictatorship that has left the nation stuck with a corrupt and incompetent regime all these last 38 years! We need to make Zimbabwe attractive to investors and for that we must hold free and fair elections.
China has exploited a corrupt and impoverished Zimbabwe and it is helping Zanu PF rig the elections to ensure we remain in its sphere of influence for its continued benefit! Those who think China will bankroll Zimbabwe’s economic recovery are day dreaming!
“If you are one of them, then you have a BIG problem, we can’t help you. Well done Team Zimbabwe for the efforts. We need friends and funds! Its coming. God is not a fool!” concluded Eric Knight.
No, God is not a fool! But you and many others out there are! Zimbabwe’s economic recovery will come from meaningful democratic change to ensure competent and accountable governance and not from Chinese bankrolling a corrupt and wasteful, vote rigging and murderous Zanu PF dictatorship.