Thursday, November 19, 2009

Myths and realities of UK Zimbabwe policy

In a desperate effort to put to bed the many armchair theories floating about why Mad Bob decided to embark on the disastrous invasion of white farms thereby imploding the economy, the UK embassy in Harare released a communique earlier this year. It never fails to amaze me how liberals keep trying to divert the actions of people, blacks in particular, as the natural response to someone else's behaviour even when blacks are in control. It's always whitey's fault don't you know?

Mugabe is responsible for what Mugabe does. Not the West, not Britain, not anyone is in control of Zimbabwe. If Britain was supposedly not living up to its promises, then there were other avenues for Mugabe to follow including staying within the law and constitution than simply destroying what had taken generations to create with TKB. He could have said, bugger you Britain, I'll find financing elsewhere or I'll work with my farmers to come up with a solution. Zimbabwe was well positioned to obtain loans from anywhere.

Don't think too deeply about it. It was never about the land. You don't keep farms flourishing for 20 years and suddenly one day decide, hey break it all up. Mugabe if you will recall began farm hunting when he lost the 2000 election. The MDC won and shortly thereafter Mugabe set about destroying the MDC power base which was white and rural.
This is fact. It is not a coincidence. Mbeki and South Africa knew this and let him get on with it. Remember Mugabe had already shown himself to be a brutal dictator killing tens of thousands of opponents in the 1980s. The man has it in him to be ruthless.

Lately, however as people try to explain his actions away, the surmisal liberals have been trying to push is that the Zim problem is not the creation of a power mad dictator (who even to this day refuses to place the interests of his people above that of his own) rather, since no black man shall be held accountable for his actions so the meme goes, the cause must lie elsewhere. Blacks always act rationally don't you see? Blacks are always "retaliating" so who caused this effect? Fortunately, there is a whitey in this fairy tale and Britain slots in nicely as the big bad ogre.

For the umpteenth time here are some myths v facts which hopefully will explain the sorry saga of a mad little man who wants to hold onto power and riches stolen from his people at all costs. This isn't very complicated at all. Really.

February 15, 2009

Myth 1: The United Kingdom wants Zimbabwe to collapse to help bring about regime change.

Reality: The United Kingdom is seriously concerned about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, generated by Zanu (PF) policy, and the suffering this is causing for the Zimbabwean people. The Department for International Development is currently running the United Kingdom’s largest ever aid programme to Zimbabwe, and will spend around £49 million this financial year. British funding has supported the livelihoods of small farmers, helped treat HIV, improved maternal and child health, supplied essential medicines, protected orphans and assisted migrants and internally displaced people. This is in addition to contributions to the World Food Programme’s food aid operations (£9 million this year) and the £10 million package to help fight the current cholera outbreak. The only thing pressing Zimbabwe towards collapse is regime policy.

Myth 2: Western economic sanctions are causing suffering and hardship in Zimbabwe.

Reality: The United Kingdom has no unilateral or economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. The current range of European Union targeted measures is directed against those 178 individuals and organisations in Zimbabwe responsible for the worst excesses of the current regime, in terms of human rights abuse, corruption and undermining the rule of law. The measures have no adverse effect on ordinary people or humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.

Myth 3: Sanctions have denied Zimbabwe access to funding from international financial institutions.

Reality: The World Bank and International Monetary Fund suspended credit to Zimbabwe because the Mugabe government defaulted on its debt servicing payments. Other potential lenders have taken a similar view of the regime’s credit worthiness.

Myth 4: The United Kingdom reneged on its commitments to fund land reform in Zimbabwe.

Reality: The UK put substantial funding into land reform in the 1980s and 1990s (£44 million). This stopped when it became apparent that much land was not being given to the landless poor, but to senior members of the regime. Reviving the rural economy will be essential for Zimbabwe’s future prosperity. As in the past, the United Kingdom remains willing to work with others to support a fair and transparent land reform process, which will help the poor. The United Kingdom is willing to consider supporting such a land reform process as part of a wider recovery package for Zimbabwe. But we have never agreed to accept responsibility for compensation for land illegally seized — as articulated in key judgements by Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, under Zimbabwe’s Constitution as it stood in 2001.

Myth 5: The United Kingdom wants military intervention in Zimbabwe.

Reality: Those working for a better Zimbabwe, which respects the rule of law and basic human rights, are not calling for military intervention. They are pursuing their vision by democratic means. Their focus, and ours, is foremost on the humanitarian situation and what can be done to alleviate suffering. The myth of military intervention is generated by the regime to distract attention from its responsibility for the crisis and its inability to resolve it.

Myth 6: The United Kingdom planted cholera before independence and is actively spreading the disease to wage biological warfare against the regime.

Reality: The cholera outbreak — on top of a major food crisis — is the direct consequence of regime mismanagement and Zanu-PF’s catastrophic policies. The outbreak has been caused by the breakdown of basic water and sanitation services, and the collapse of the health system and broader public services. The United Kingdom has been deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation. In November 2008, we made available a £10 million package of responses to the cholera epidemic, including essential medicines and drugs to keep people alive through the crisis.

Myth 7: The United Kingdom will not accept any inclusive government.

Reality: It is up to the people of Zimbabwe — and them alone — to decide what government they will accept. But it is clear that at least 60 percent of the population voted for change in March 2008, and they are yet to see their will respected. It is also clear that long-term donor support will be key to stemming Zimbabwe’s decline. If Zimbabwe is going to attract that support, it requires a durable government that reflects the will of the people and is capable of delivering genuine reform. Given Mugabe’s resistance to change to date, his failed economic policies and his propensity to rail against the outside world, it is unlikely that any government involving Mugabe will inspire donor confidence and attract the support it so badly needs.

Myth 8: The United Kingdom has never accepted the Global Political Agreement signed on 15 September 2008 and wants regime change, not power-sharing.

Reality: It is not for the United Kingdom to accept or reject anything. This is a process led by Zimbabweans. We want to see a better future for the people of Zimbabwe. The key for us is how the agreement plays out in practice — will a new administration demonstrate a genuine commitment to change and reform? But we are sceptical that power-sharing involving Mugabe will work. In principle, we stand ready to support any inclusive government. But the extent and nature of our support will be determined by the actions taken on the ground by any new administration to reverse the political, economic and social decline. In particular, we would want to see full and equal access to humanitarian assistance; commitment to macroeconomic stabilisation; restoration of the rule of law; commitment to the democratic process and respect for internationally accepted standards of human rights.

Myth 9: The United Kingdom is directing Morgan Tsvangirai’s actions.

Reality: The United Kingdom maintains contact with a wide range of actors in Zimbabwean society, including politicians, so that we can assess how best to help the people of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai won the elections in March 2008 and leads the largest party in the House of Assembly. He and the MDC have democratic legitimacy, and only a regime that does not would suggest that he needs any guidance from outsiders.

Myth 10: The problems in Zimbabwe stem from a bilateral dispute between the United Kingdom and the Mugabe regime over land.

Reality: Mugabe likes to portray Zimbabwe’s problems in imperialist, often racist, terms to deflect attention from the catastrophe he has created. International opinion, such as that expressed by the Group Of Elders, including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is increasingly of the view that a chronic and wilful failure of social and economic policy lies at the heart of Zimbabwe’s crisis. The United Nations has taken a keen interest. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for a fair and sustainable political solution in Zimbabwe as soon as possible. It is also becoming clear that an increasing number of African countries (e.g. Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria) are of the view that Mugabe’s time is coming to an end.

British Embassy
Saturday, 07 February 2009

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