Re-engagement will depend on holding credible 2023 elections” AfDB warns. At long last, some home-truths
23 May 2023
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By Wilbert Mukori- “The African Development Bank has moved to fast-track Zimbabwe’s $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers whose land was seized under former president Robert Mugabe’s reforms. The bank is leading efforts to clear Zimbabwe’s crippling debts,” reported the French publication RFI.

“A revived Zimbabwe is good for Africa. A revived Zimbabwe is good for the world,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a debt resolution forum held this week in the capital Harare.

The AfDB is co-chairing a process aimed at clearing the country’s $6 billion of external debt arrears that also includes reforms to the exchange rate and central bank.

“Zimbabwe cannot run up the hill of economic recovery carrying a backpack of debt on its back,” added Adesina.

This is just nonsense! Zimbabwe has the wealth to clear these debts without the need for outside help and everyone at AfDB knows that!

Zimbabwe has been losing US$1.6 billion per year to gold smugglers alone. We know looting has been going on in other areas too such as diamonds, lithium, platinum, in the procurement of fuel and medicine, etc. In 2016 the late dictator, Robert Mugabe, said Zimbabwe was swindled out of US$15 billion in diamond revenue!

In 2019 the Governor of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya said Zimbabwe could pay off all her debts and pay for the country’s development needs without borrowing a penny from anyone if – a big IF – the country stamped out the rampant corruption and gross mismanagement. For once, the Governor was being honest!

Besides, the whole concept of the US$3.5 billion compensation for the white farmers, for the movable assets they were forced to leave behind during the farm invasions, being born by the ordinary Zimbabweans is an outrage. 

Why should the ordinary taxpayer who have paid dearly because of the agricultural and economic collapse caused by farm seizures? The individuals who profited from the farm seizures, some of them to the tune of 21 commercial farms as Bona Mugabe, should pay the compensation!

The forum noted the importance of Zimbabwe’s coming elections being free, fair and credible in advancing dialogue with the West and financial institutions.

“The people of Zimbabwe and the international community will be watching very closely. The full weight of re-engagement with the international community will not just depend on the election, but on the entire electoral process that guarantees a credible election,” said AfDB president, Adesina.

After – what – 43 years of talking in riddle, it is refreshing to hear the AfDB and other busy bodies telling the Zanu PF some home-truths for a change! 

Sadly, the AfDB is bolting the door long after the horse has bolted. The Zimbabwe elections are three months away and the regime has stubbornly refused to implement even one token democratic reform, refused to produce even something as basic as a verified voters’ roll, etc. Zanu PF is rigging the 2023 elections just as readily as it has rigged past elections.

Even if there was time to implement reforms, Dr Adesina would be wasting his breathe asking CCC to boycott the 2023 elections to pile the pressure on Zanu PF to implement reforms. Others like SADC and the EU have tried and their advice fell on deaf ears. CCC leaders are hell bent on participating in these flawed elections, knowing the process is flawed and that doing so would only give SADC the excuse to grant Zanu PF political legitimacy. They are participating regardless out of greed – the same reason they failed to implement even one reform during the GNU.

“The crisis in the country is having terrible consequences for the region as Zimbabwe lies at the heart of southern Africa,” argued former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano. He is the facilitator of this high-level dialogues to help Zimbabwe re-engage with the West. 

Former President Chissano would do Zimbabwe and the whole region a great favour telling SADC leaders they must judge the Zimbabwe elections on merit. In the past, the regional body has endorsed rigged elections and granted Zanu PF legitimacy and thus perpetuating the dictatorship. This must stop!