Friday, April 3, 2009

Stop the Looting of the Zimbabwe Economy (Please?)

The new Government of National (Dis)Unity has been in South Africa again. This time begging for money. The South African government has been largely responsible for creating the semblance of government that Zimbabweans now have thrust upon them, so clearly they have some responsibility to act. Some other SADC countries can take some apportioned responsibility.

But SADC and the SA government are now joining ZANU PF and to some extent, Tsvangirayi’s MDC, screaming for financial help from the West and the end of Western ‘illegal economic sanctions’. This would seem to be because South Africa and SADC do not have the ability themselves to fund the restart of the Zimbabwe economy and they are looking to the West to do it for them.

It strikes me as unethical. What has happened in Zimbabwe is that ZANU PF leaders and many of their followers have taken it upon themselves to loot the Zimbabwean economy. They have done this systematically and with impunity and all for their own personal wealth. There are many examples of this. The farms are the extreme and obvious examples. A once rich agricultural economic base has been reduced to almost nothing. Another recent example is that of the Vice President, Joyce Mujuru and her reported attempts to sell tonnes of gold into the European market. The Reserve Bank has been selling silver and gold. Who has profited from this one wonders? Not the gold miners who are owed millions of dollars in unpaid bills. The diamond looting in Maranke has now been going on for months if not years. Who is profiting? The Reserve Bank in its most recent Monetary Policy Statement created a policy that allows individuals to export as much as US$ 250,000 in cash, no questions asked. Why was this ridiculously over-generous export allowance created and for whose personal benefit?

While ZANU PF, Zuma in South Africa and SADC are calling for an end to western economic sanctions the looting continues unabated. The remaining farms are once again being occupied by force, the Maranke diamonds are still being looted, the export allowance of US$ 250,00 cash per individual has not been rescinded.

Why should anyone fund ‘economic recovery’ without a commitment to at least stop the looting? I would like to think that the looters should be required to re-start the economy by returning their loot, but although that might be ethically correct, unfortunately in the politics of Africa, it is unlikely to happen.

But stop the looting now! And don’t expect financial help from others until there is a real commitment to future productive growth.

No comments: