Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mugabe must Go

The Zimbabwe Government is broke. So we are told now by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirayi and his Finance Minister, Tendai Biti. The South African press pick this up as headline news. Where have they been all this time? Of course the Zimbabwe Government is broke. It has been broke for years. The only way it has survived so long has been the printing of ‘money’ and the raiding of Foreign Currency Accounts by Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor. What Gono has done over the years amounts to nothing more than straight theft. He – and the ZANU PF government should be prosecuted in the criminal courts for these criminal acts. But instead they are propped up by their fellow Africans in South Africa and yesterday listening to a news bulletin, I heard that President Banda of Zambia thinks that Mugabe is one of Africa’s greatest leaders. Banda may live to regret that statement, but then again, he may not as Africans in the region continue to support this despotic criminal who has deviously managed to retain his grip on power. But he wouldn’t be able to do it now, without the support of SADC. So SADC has become complicit in the continuing disaster that is Zimbabwe.

There are of course, more reasons why the government is broke. Zimbabwe still has an army of some 30,000 men and women who do nothing, but they do get paid $100 a month. Then there are the thousands of civil servants who do nothing – and in the last week we have heard that there are at least hundreds, probably thousands of ‘ghost’ workers who have been paid in the past and continue to receive their $100 a month. We have local government employees who do nothing – although some of them do manage to send out bills for water that is never supplied, vehicle tax for vehicles that travel on roads that are never repaired. This last week I had a puncture on my car. When I took the punctured wheel for repair, it was not a puncture at all, but a wheel rim that was damaged in four places from striking potholes on the city roads. Then we have the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings who want $100 for every television set that is owned – not that the TV sets are used for screening local television. So the attempts at ‘getting something for nothing’ which is a polite way of saying ‘looting’ continue.

All the while the demands on the west to provide aid to the country continue. If this is the sole approach to the problem Zimbabwe will remain a long term aid dependent economy. There is one way to get the Zimbabwe economy moving again and that is to re-establish production on the farms, then in industry. And these acts are within the direct control of the Zimbabwean people who are tasked with running the country. These acts should be conditions applied by all those who are being asked to provide aid that must be implemented before any aid of any kind is forthcoming. They are simple enough to do if the current government has the will. Regrettably, there is no will to do this as long as Mugabe remains in control. Zimbabweans know this – nearly all of them. But the South Africans, the Zambians and a few other African leaders still fail to see this simple truth.

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