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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Robbing Paul to pay Peter....

I am completely baffled by the report below in the Daily Mail that suggests that Zambia plans to give Zimbabwe money. Has Zambia got any money to give Zimbabwe ? Anyone who says we should be good neighbours must remember that charity begins at home. We are planning to rob Paul (plus loan interest from the IMF) to pay Peter. Until, I see evidence to the contrary, I am in no doubt that this move is purely for egotistical purposes and at worst a showcase of remarkable incompetence :

Zambia to aid Zim RB, By Kasuba Mulenga, Daily Mail, News Report :

President Banda says Government will in the next two weeks decide how much money it will contribute towards the US$10 billion economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe after taking into account the effects of the global economic crisis on the local economy. This is in line with the agreement that was reached by member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at Monday’s extraordinary summit in Swaziland.

Mr Banda said this yesterday during a media briefing at the Lusaka International Airport shortly after arriving from Swaziland where he had gone to attend the SADC summit on Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The President said all member states’ representatives at the summit agreed to make donations towards the economic recovery plan but that they would not do so as much as they could because they too had internal problems. “As SADC member states, we have been given a fortnight within which to discuss with our ministers of finance to see what we can give to assist our brothers,” he said.

Mr Banda said SADC countries promised to try their best in providing financial assistance to Zimbabwe but pointed out that each one of them had internal economic problems that arose from the global economic crisis.

The President said Zambia would make a donation towards the economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe but not as much as it would be expected to. "So, after a fortnight and consultations with our finance ministers and other Cabinet ministers, we will be able to see how much we can give,” he said.

Mr Banda said SADC leaders also agreed to make an effort to sensitise the international community to help Zimbabwe with finances to enable it implement its economic recovery plan. “Since we have reached a point where the two leaders (President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai) are now able to sit together, we would like to prevail over our co-operating partners so that they can lift sanctions which were imposed upon Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr Banda said countries which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe should now give that country a chance to redeem itself from economic problems. The President said SADC countries and co-operating partners had been instructed to work towards the goal of ensuring that sanctions on Zimbabwe were lifted. Mr Banda said as a neighbouring nation, Zambia would work hard to see Zimbabwe return to its original status.

16 comments:

  1. Now it's $10 Billion? Last week it was 5. It seems that Zimbabwe can't get over its habit of hyperinflation. Personally, as long as ZANU continues to absolve itself of all responsibility for creating the situation, I don't think they should get a kwacha. By all indications, if they had been able to succeed in maintaining total control in the last elections, then they would not have changed their policies one iota. As I have said before, the sanctions are certainly a factor, but they must stop being used as an excuse.

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  2. Yakima,

    The cause of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe was the UK and the Bush Administration, and it's Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, specifically Sections 4C and 3:

    SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

    (c) … the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against–

    (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or

    (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.



    SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

    (1) INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS- The term `international financial institutions’ means the

    multilateral development banks and the
    International Monetary Fund.

    (2) MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS- The term `multilateral development banks’ means the

    International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the
    International Development Association, the
    International Finance Corporation, the
    Inter-American Development Bank, the
    Asian Development Bank, the
    Inter-American Investment Corporation, the
    African Development Bank, the
    African Development Fund, the
    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the
    Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency.

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  3. MrK,

    Again with "sanctions are everything" talk? I can admit that sanctions both exist and play a role, and you have no trouble seeing corruption and/or mismanagement in the Zambian government and others. Why is there this huge blind spot when it comes to acknowledging that the same is the case with Zimbabwe? Can you see no error in how ZANU has handled their crises for the last decade? I am not one who claims that MDC is any better, just trying to get across the idea that blaming everything on outside forces is bunk. It's not like Zimbabwe's natural resources suddenly dried up when the ZDERA was passed.

    The only way to correct mistakes is to acknowledge them. Many countries have had sanctions imposed on them over recent decades, yet this is the only one to suffer hyperinflation. Explain that, without any member of the ZANU government ever making a mistake since 2001, and I will eat my humble pie and swallow the statement, "The cause of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe was the UK and the Bush Administration."

    By the way, have you ever bothered to look at the governing structures of the various multilateral institutions you mention, because I have. Not one of them gives the US or UK a veto, hence the phrase, "to oppose and vote against." If the rest of the world had wanted to keep loaning money to Zimbabwe, they could have. Even money contributed to the banks by the US and UK, over their objection. Most of them had already stopped issuing new loans to Harare before the ZDERA was passed. You just won't read that in the Herald.

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  4. What's wrong with communal responsiblities? Helping your brother out when you yourself haven't got enough is charity not egoism. Recognising the terrible shortcomings of ZANU-PF (while remembering the role played by international sanctions, as described above, and IMF structural adjustment before that in the current catastrophe) should not preclude us from helping Zimbabwe to establish some breathing room for political, civil and economic reform.

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  5. Although the blog allows for anonymous comments to encourage free dialogue, I don't respond to comments which are anonymous. However inthis instance I'll an exception.

    There's something wrong with helping Zimbabwe at this time and it has nothing to do with ZANU Pf. It has to do with common sense.

    We have 64% of our own people who need a helping hand everday. These live on less than $1 a day.

    The best help Zambia can give Zimbabwe is to be a prosperous and thriving economic hub where the rule of law and social protection are cherished.

    I fail to see any other motive for our position aside from pride to be seen before men.

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  6. Zambia simply has no capacity to contribute to the Zimbabwe fund. How can RB justify this?
    Is someone actually running the country or we are just freewheeling?

    The PANEL

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  7. Surely we (Zambians) have harsh lessons to learn from the days of the region's freedom struggle, don't we? KK sacrificed his own people in providing moral and significant financial support to freedom fighters in the region, (without consultation of the Zambian people) for which we have received little gratitude, if any.

    This time, I am quite happy to provide moral support, and no more!

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  8. Yakima,

    Why is there this huge blind spot when it comes to acknowledging that the same is the case with Zimbabwe?

    I am sure there is corruption in all governments. However, that does not lead to world record hyperinflation. Forcing the government to operate on a cash only basis does. I don' see how anyone can downplay making a government operate on a cash only basis.

    By the way, the IMF threatened to do the same to Zambia, TWICE. Once in 1991, which forced the MMD and Frederick Chiluba on the country, and the second time in 1999, which saw the sell-off of the mines, and the loss of at least $10 billion in taxable revenues.

    The real problem I have, is that the MDC keeps lying about things - big things. Like:

    1) The existence of economic sanctions

    ZDERA doesn't exist, or if it exists, it isn't important, because 'sanctions' are all 'smart' and 'targeted' against individuals in ZANU-PF, etc.

    2) The beneficiaries of land reform

    Land only went to 'friends and cronies of Mugabe', when in fact hundreds of thousands of people benefited from land reform.

    Table 2. Beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme by Province, May 2003

    A1 205,823
    A2 28,665

    Source: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation

    That is over 230,000 beneficiaries by 2003, over 300,000 today. How would this constitute 'friends and cronies of Mugabe'? On the contrary, Robert Mugabe is the only President in Africa who has taken land redistribution seriously and has done something about it.


    3) Their source of funding

    $26 million in ZDERA every goes to 'support democracy' in Zimbabwe - this from the Bush Administration. From ZDERA:

    (b) FUNDING- Of the funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out part I and chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 for fiscal year 2002--

    (1) $20,000,000 is authorized to be available to provide the assistance described in subsection (a)(2); and

    (2) $6,000,000 is authorized to be available to provide the assistance described in subsection (a)(3).

    With (Section 5) (a)(3) being:

    (3) provide for democracy and governance programs in Zimbabwe.

    So who did those $6 million per year go to? And did nothing stick to the MDC officials? When where they 'elected' on their incorruptability? Was Frederick Chiluba uncorruptable, just because he came out of the Trade Union movement, like Morgan Tsvangirai?


    4) Their economic policies

    They are neoliberal. Well neoliberalism has been tried in Zimbabwe from 1991 to 1996, with disastrous and deadly results. It was called ESAP in Zimbabwe (Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes), which saw the reduction in social spending, deregulation and privatisation. The effect on the health of the population was so bad, that the ZANU-PF put a stop to it.

    To quate from Antonia Juhasz (The Tyranny Of Oil) article,

    The Tragic Tale of the IMF in Zimbabwe.
    by Antonia Juhasz, The Daily Mirror of Zimbabwe
    March 7th, 2004

    Health Care Crippled

    The impact on the health care sector was particularly severe, this after a decade of improvements prior to the entry of the IMF. As the report found, "There is no doubt that the previous trends of improving health outcomes were reversed during the period of the reform program."

    During the 1980’s, the government put significant attention and resources into improving health services with remarkable success. For example, the infant mortality rate declined from 100 to 50 between 1980 and 1988 and life expectancy increased from 56 to 64 years. However, the entry of the IMF reversed this trend by imposing enormous cuts in public health spending which dramatically reduced access to services for the poor.

    Spending per person on health care fell by a third from 1990 to 1996 with cuts in services outpacing cuts in wages to health care workers. Thus, between 1988 and 1994, wasting in children quadrupled and maternal mortality rates increased. After many years of decline, the number of tuberculosis cases began to rise in 1986 and by 1995 had quadrupled. Friends of the Earth reports that prenatal care, which had previously been free, now required a fee, while primary care fees increased by over 500 percent. Low-income exemptions were all but eliminated, forcing the most vulnerable population to either pay for services they could not afford, or go without health care services altogether. The result was an easily anticipated decline in prenatal clinic attendance and an increase in the number of babies born before arrival at the hospital.


    You know, the big issues.

    This is what is so sanctimonious about the MDC. They try to talk up everything that is wrong about Zimbabwe and blow it up beyond recognition. Nowhere do they acknowledge the achievements made by the ZANU-PF. Reading their articles, you would think that Robert Mugabe is the devil incarnate, instead of the same nationalist leader who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1994. All the cries of 'corruption', of 'mismanagement', etc. do not cover up the MDC's neoliberal (deregulation, privatisation, corporate 'free trade') agenda, or the disastrous results it has had before.

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  9. MrK,

    Yes. I agree. A thousand times. However, I would like to see, for an example, an apology for Murambatsvina, which no one forced them to do, and which only hurt their own people. THAT is the sort of thing that has me upset, not the land reform, not opposition to IMF ideology. I suppose that it is equally pointless for me to point out that price fixing did damage to the poorest in society? Every time I mention the possibility that ZANU leaders made mistakes for which they are accountable like any other elected leader, you go off on some anti-MDC tirade. Oh well, I give up.

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  10. Yakima,

    Don't take it personally. I just ton't trust the MDC. I don't like how they came to power, I don't like who are members of it, I don't like how they tried to destroy the economy to get to power, how they villified the President until they joined the government, how they hide their foreign funding...

    That does not mean I have to like everything about ZANU-PF, but I'm certainly not going to gloss over their strong points. Healthcare, education (one if not the highest literacy rates in Africa). And they had successful landreform. And they're not freetraders.

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  11. MrK,

    Honestly I do sympathize! I guess that I get frustrated by the way two-party systems seem to deal with crises in general, where every measure becomes relative and everything is always the other party's fault. Probably a result of living in the US. Eight years of the Bush administration and its inability to admit a mistake surely didn't help.

    I agree that land reform was stalled by London, and criticizing the forceable seizures of farms must be weighed against the Blair administration's abrogation of their obligations under Lancaster. Unfortunately for me personally, making this argument came back to bite me when Murambatsvina displaced as many if not more people than land reform was helping, and was done on the legal basis of Rhodesian urban land use regulations designed to keep the cities white, as well as the assertion that the displaced should go "back" to the Rhodesian designated "homelands", and hurt the poorest of the poor in the country.

    I don't want to gloss over their strong points either, and I am glad that you bring up their successes. It certainly took courage to place the principles of the revolution ahead of credit ratings. The problem of the moment is that now they are asking to use Zambia's better credit, for which the Zambian poor have already paid. A repudiation of Murambatsvina would encourage me that this money would be used for the poorest.

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  12. Yakima,

    Unfortunately for me personally, making this argument came back to bite me when Murambatsvina displaced as many if not more people than land reform was helping

    If you listen to the MDC, it displaced half the population of Harare. It is another political football. I am not defending it, but it is certainly not unique to Zimbabwe. China moved more people than even Zimbabwe is accused of displacing just to make place for the Beijing Olympics.

    In fact in Zambia, people are regularly displaced to make way for 'investors' (the recent announcement of the 2 million hectare Jatropha deal with China comes to mind - that is an 141 by 141 kilometer area).

    As you know, I am not a fan of displacing people. However, this issue became a political football in the attempt to overthrow the government. It is also not unique to Zimbabwe, which is how it was portrayed. Also the numbers of people involved were massively exaggerated, which also didn't win the MDC/UK/USA points for me.

    Zimbabwe's Different Path and Penalty Incurred
    By Brendan Stone
    Global Research, May 22, 2007
    Zimbabwe Watch

    The Housing Demolitions in Zimbabwe

    Baffour Ankomah, the editor of the New African magazine, toured Zimbabwe shortly after Operation Murambatsvina. According to Ankomah, "what I saw was totally different than what had been reported," wherein the Western media gave the impression that "half of the country had been demolished." Ankomah acknowledged that there was some truth to the UN report that the Operation was poorly planned and disorganized. But he also witnessed positive developments, such as the incorporation of women into the skilled labour force, in this case, bricklayers. Reconstruction involved the erection of new homes, and clean marketplaces, unlike anything Ankomah had seen over eight years of living in Britain. Both Ankomah, and Taylor, his interviewer, criticize the Western media for treating Operation Murambatsvina as if it is unique to Zimbabwe, when, as they both testify from personal experience, the demolition of illegal housing is common in other African countries.

    John Vidal of the Guardian supports Ankomah's position. He refers to the discrepancy between the BBC's claims that "bulldozers have crashed into the homes" of a half million people in the capital, and the fact that only 1.2 million people live in Harare - clearly, half the population had not fled in terror. Some alarmist reports had suggested that at least 200,000 people had been displaced in the Operation, but the UN did not list such high figures.

    "Meanwhile, the evictions are mentioned in the same breath as the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans - although perhaps only three people have so far accidentally died. Only at the very end of some reports is it said that the Harare city authority's stated reason for the evictions is to build better, legal houses for 150,000 people."

    Vidal further adds that many hundreds of thousands of slum dwellers in developing countries as diverse as China, India, and Jakarta, had been evicted to make room for construction projects, their numbers totaling millions - without similar protests from the West.

    The reason why Operation Murambatsvina was undertaken with such haste, according to Ankomah, was that the government had received word that an "Orange Revolution" was set to take place, following the model in the Ukraine in which Western powers paid impoverished city residents to stage street demonstrations, so as to put pressure on the anti-NATO Yanukovich government. This specific fear by Zimbabwe's government is not unfounded, given that Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, called for an "Orange Revolution" in Zimbabwe in 2005, and that Sokwanele, as well as other groups and individuals, likewise called for an "Orange Revolution."

    The above section suggests that the apocalyptic claims directed against Operation Murambatsvina are likely exaggerated, and Operation Murambatsvina is not unique when considered within the general African context. What the alleged "evidence" of "genocide" - as a result of housing demolitions, no less - indicates is that Western publications, and internal opposition in Zimbabwe, have a tendency to magnify the country's problems. Sokwanele published the exaggerated charges with the intent of justifying foreign intervention. Specifically, it invoked the Canadian-developed "Responsibility to Protect," a "humanitarian intervention" doctrine that has so far been applied in countries such as Haiti, legitimizing the coup against President Aristide, and occupation by metropolitan country forces.

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  13. To: Yakima, MrK:
    I have been following the jabs between the two of you – as regards Zimbabwe (ZIM) with keen interest. I can no longer remain silent.
    [[From Yakima: -Don't take it personally. I just don’t trust the MDC. I don't like how they came to power, I don't like who are members of it, I don't like how they tried to destroy the economy to get to power, how they vilified the President until they joined the government, how they hide their foreign funding...]]
    Morgan Tstvangirai is not my cup of tea, but how can he be blamed for the crash of the ZIM’s economy? MrK lauds some of Robert Mugabe’s policies (RGM) – for ex. Healthcare. Who generated Cholera epidemic in ZIM, which by the way has now spread to Zambia (ZED)? Is it MDC, USA, UK or we don’t know?
    [[From MrK: - I don't want to gloss over their strong points either, and I am glad that you bring up their successes. It certainly took courage to place the principles of the revolution ahead of credit ratings. The problem of the moment is that now they are asking to use Zambia's better credit, for which the Zambian poor have already paid. A repudiation of Murambatsvina would encourage me that this money would be used for the poorest]].

    I think it is a misconception to think that ZED is obligated to help Zimbabwe. One good fact is that – they (Zambians) did their part under KK (Kenneth Kaunda). UNIP regime sacrificed life and Zambians’ resources to give solidarity to our brothers fighting against Apartheid and Colonial oppressors.
    Asking them (ZED) to offer another sacrifice is not fair. Who knows, maybe Zambians are suffering from “self-inflicted” guilt or that those we helped are taking us for granted. That Zambian generosity, may continue so long as Zambians fail to find a leader who has their self-interests and survival at heart. Unless you are an Icelander – who is such a Good Samaritan to the extent of lending his wife for a night to a good friend – IFWE CHAKANA!
    [[From MrK: - If you listen to the MDC, it displaced half the population of Harare. It is another political football. I am not defending it, but it is certainly not unique to Zimbabwe. China moved more people than even Zimbabwe is accused of displacing just to make place for the Beijing Olympics]].


    As regards to Murambatsvina: – China needed space for The Olympics. And indeed, China made a splash during the games. Do we remember the opening spectacle? But what did RGM achieve from Murambatsvina? Can we count on it as a model for eliminating “Shantys” in Africa? Hardly!
    Either Mugabe was simply displaying his “African Big-Man” mentality or he punished his people to prove his toughness against Americans, British (and The West in general). I really don’t know what he has reaped from these evictions. May be by creating construction jobs for his cadres (mostly women) in Harare?
    He got away with it because SADC (led by South African Thabo Mbeki) shielded him. Those who care to remember Ndebele massacre – when he killed over 30,000 people in Matebeleland with the help of North Koreans, would understand why MDC is demonizing him. In fact had MDC found a much more revolutionary leader, they would have jumped into the bush. Mugabe himself did it because he didn’t like color bar and the White ZIMS monopolizing the use of assets by excluding black Africans from the economy.
    [[From MrK: - Vidal further adds that many hundreds of thousands of slum dwellers in developing countries as diverse as China, India, and Jakarta, had been evicted to make room for construction projects, their numbers totaling millions - without similar protests from the West]].

    If evictions of innocent and defenseless poor people takes place else where, does it then make it acceptable? I don’t think so. Mugabe used this trick just to crash strong MDC pockets in Harare. I know that MrK would not accept this claim. Only he has correct historical facts, others don’t.
    I hope that this input gives the debate another form of energy.

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  14. Kaela,

    Other than getting myself and MrK reversed in your initial quotes, I do not object to anything you have said. I have never supported the concept of a few privileged white descendants (or participants) in Rhodesian racial policies against the native population (of any tribe). The peoples of so-called Southern Rhodesia (ie Zimbabwe) were far more impacted by racial rule than Zambians (Northern Rhodesians), and I want to take that into account. My objections to Murambatsiva are based on the human rights violations involved, and it is only insult to injury that the government used unreformed Rhodesian urban land use laws to enact the evictions.

    I will happily debate with anyone over the property rights issues that the displaced commercial farmers have put forward, as I do believe that the Blair administration dropped the ball first, before land seizures took place. But that is a Lancaster Accord issue, and has no bearing on Murambatsvina, which is my point. I am mad about that, and I want to see an apology to the affected people. Just a recognition that it was a mistake, no call for reparation, just an admission.

    Unfortunately, these were not the "cash strong" elements of MDC support, they were only "ballot strong", and it does not take a scholar in international election demographics to know that if you don't have an address, then you can't vote.

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  15. Why They Hate Robert Mugabe

    http://www.theblackchannel.net/

    Excellent summation of the hypocracy of the onslaught against Zimbabwe.

    And yes, how do you like your own credit freeze? Which is what happened to Zimbabwe back in 2001-2003 and continues to today.

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