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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Updated: Oct 23, 2019

When ever I read articles by Hope Chin’ono I’m left wondering if the man has any grasp of world history, global political economics and the parasitic nature of western colonial capitalism.

That’s until I remember that he works as a mouthpiece for CNN, engineering consent for colonial capitalism to influence economic policies in Africa for the advantage of his western handlers.

Zimbabwe’s Economic Crisis

My first rejoinder to his proposition that Zimbabwe must stop conducting elections to spend the next ten years uniting our people and crafting appropriate electoral or economic reforms. Is to remind him that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and disunity does not emanate from the country lacking appropriate electoral reforms or economic policies. But it’s precisely because Zimbabwe instituted relevant developmental state economic reforms to take control of its national resources, land, water, wave spectrum, central bank, currency, economy, labor and put them in the hands of the Zimbabwean people for growth.

That saw Zimbabwe become a victim of western economic sabotage and attacks. Yet the country was simply following in the footsteps of the United States which broke off British colonial rule, took over factors of production and gave them to their citizens so that they could produce to lift the country from a third world backwater into an economic powerhouse in a very short period.

These natural resources [factors of production] in turn gave rise to the first American resource tycoons, the likes of Vanderbilt, who grew his wealth from exporting animal pelts, John D Rockefeller controlled global crude oil and John MacKay was the world’s biggest gold and silver miner at the time.

From these resource barons came the demand for more labor, transportation, steel and electricity which birthed the Carnegies, Edisons and financiers like Morgan as the next generation of wealthy entrepreneurs who brought innovation, electricity, voice communication, air travel, steel, the financial industry and vast employment creation that leapfrogged the United States into the world’s first Super Power economy in just a few decades.

All credit to the United States giving its citizens free access to labor [slaves], natural resources and control of their own wealth at a time when any white man with the grit and energy could prospect, mine gold or silver, walk into a mint, have them refined and stamped into coins as he waited.

The result was vast capital creation that then bought technology, attracted immigrants from Europe to bring skills into America, invent, build industry, create employment and grow the nation. A success formula that now sees the United States fighting to control other nation’s resources and prevent their progress to maintain leadership.

US Miracle Replicated

However, when the Zimbabwean government followed the same example, giving its citizens control of their labor, resources and education to replicate the United States miracle. The country became an unusual and extraordinary threat to the US and her western allies who imposed economic sanctions on the country to deprive Africa the same development formula.

What is interesting, is the rights of nations to control the same factors, were established as the core tenants of the U.N. Charter, Human Rights Declaration, the 1960 Declaration on Decolonization and the corollary treaties for economic, social and cultural rights, to drive all nations out of poverty through economic development and self determination.


Contrary to the spirit of decolonization and the Human Rights Declaration, in 1999, the MDC was formed and sponsored by the Commercial Farmers Union, ex-Rhodesians, western governments and presented to the world as the working people’s voice.

What we didn’t realize then was that their reason for existence was to fight against Zimbabwean citizens’ rights to control their own land and resources, hence their first act was to fight a government referendum to change the constitution and take land without compensation.

Today they are supported by western sanctions, sponsored media, churches, civil activists and NGOs in pushing for economic and electoral reforms that are now being linked to a unity government.

The whole conspiracy clearly not aimed at advancing Zimbabwe’s economic interests but coercing government to take resources [real wealth] back from the Zimbabwean people and to place them once again into the hands of a few colonial capitalists.

Meanwhile, the sanctions are fortified by economic sabotage, money laundering, hoarding and currency manipulation advanced by the machinations of leading financial institutions like the Reserve Bank and Ecocash (who benefited from access to resources) to ensure that the country loses value, inhibiting the government and its people from leveraging the resources for growth.

Reforms By Duress

To maintain the pressure, MDC is tasked with maintaining an atmosphere of division, belligerence and animosity, until they extract adequate resource transfer concessions from government. Failing which they are to continue agitating for the perpetuation of the collective punishment of 16mil innocent civilians by sanctions to weaponize them into turning against government through violent protests in retaliation to the pain caused by the same sanctions.

This pressure is to be maintained until government transfers wealth back to western capital, people are forced to vote for MDC or they overthrow the government through violent protests and a western aligned government takes over.

In essence, Zimbabwe is in its current economic quagmire because it dismantled the colonial capital order to give black Zimbabweans (the same way America gave white Americans those rights) the rights to property, control of resources, economic, social and cultural rights that western nations fear will leapfrog Africa into being competitive economies in the shortest time.

This is where Hope comes in, to weave pro-reform indoctrination to distract us from the obvious need for the removal of economic sanctions imposed by a super power and the entire western world upon a third world nation to choke its progress. Ironically, these are the same measures and limitations used to hold back black people during slavery and colonialism which people like Hope support today.

Where is the hunger for educated Zimbabweans to see their country be a trailblazer like the Americans to get out of colonial dependency and black infantilization?

Debt Default Propaganda

Instead he places the blame of Zimbabwe’s economic dilemma on the fact that the country defaulted on its debt repayments to the Paris Club. Conveniently, overlooking the fact that ZDERA was not imposed for debt default but because Zimbabwe took its land back, participated in Congo to stop western sponsored regime change and for that the American government decided to facilitate regime change or as they phrase it “to assist Democratic Change in Zimbabwe” through economic terrorism.

He also doesn’t make any attempt to explain how a resource rich country like Zimbabwe that was exploited for 90yrs by illegal British occupation, could legitimately be indebted to European colonial institutions like the Paris Club without being owed reparations and damages by the same.

The fact that most don’t understand is our leaders were manipulated into a debt trap from independence, when they were cajoled into waiving demands for reparations and colonial damages, in exchange for lines of credit and building mutually beneficial trade relations with the west, which never materialized.

Debt Trap

As a gesture of goodwill to initiate these “relationships”, the west persuaded our leaders to inherit $800mil [$2.7bil today] of Rhodesian debt built up during the liberation war busting UN sanctions.

It turns out that the European nations that lobbied for Rhodesian sanctions, did it not because they wanted to liberate black people but because they intended to pass on the underdevelopment caused by sanctions, debt and war destruction onto the liberated black nation as a yoke of debt to keep it a vassal of the colonial power.

During the liberation war and sanctions, Rhodesia is said to have borrowed extensively from private German and Swiss banks in contravention of U.N. sanctions, to service their war [murder] expenditure.

It’s said that by 1977, Rhodesian military expenditure was sitting at over 50% of government expenditure, hence they had to take short term (due by 1987), high interest loans of between 10%-15%/annum to keep the white regime in power.

These [illegal] loans were passed onto Zimbabwe and the country had to use its government budget to pay these high interest loans, yet the loans were issued illegally through money laundering to Rhodesia, in contravention of international law.

Willing Buyer Willing Seller

Secondly, the Zimbabwean government was persuaded to buy back stolen land from settler farmers in scarce foreign currency on a 50/50 split with the British, Americans and their European partners during the willing-buyer-willing-seller period.

This meant government had to use the proceeds of the trade surplus Zimbabwe was enjoying at the time, to buy back stolen ancestral land, against Zimbabwean kuripa custom and prevailing international legal customs for remedying illegal occupation as established by the Versailles and Potsdam Agreements with Germany and Japan.


As fate would have it, in 1982, the country was struck by one of the worst droughts since 1967. IMF lending policies induced currency devaluation, drastically escalated US dollar debt repayments as a recession hit Zimbabwe in 1993 and 94. Forcing the government to borrow $300mil [$549mil today] from the IMF and another $500mil [$915mil] from the World Bank to pay debts and mitigate the drought.

Aggravating this mounting colonial debt, the all white land valuation committee tasked with determining the value of land during the willing-buyer-willing-seller period, began to escalate the value of low quality land to put land values out of the reach for government and black citizens. An issue flagged by Joshua Nkomo in 1989 when he complained that whites were deliberately overpricing land to bankrupt the government and make land unaffordable to sabotage land reform and the development of Zimbabwe.

Reconstruction And Development

While this was happening, the government had the added burden of addressing post-war reconstruction and colonial underdevelopment by providing basic services, building 5249 schools, 1231 healthcare facilities, giving sanitation to 52% of the people and building 1.9mil houses. The most costly project being the building of the Hwange Power Plant that cost over $450mil [$900mil today] although the output of the plant would never meet the projected energy output because of non-competitive, preferential contracts given to mediocre British and Italian contractors linked to the debt givers.

These were colonial obligations not carried out by the colonizer in contravention of the U.N. Charter and Human Rights Declaration, which mandated colonizers to give their non-self governing colons basic services.

As a result the government was forced to borrow money from the Paris Club to cover British colonial obligations and colonial debts despite it pillaging Rhodesia for 90yrs without reinvesting into the people of Zimbabwe or paying damages for their exploitation.

Currency Devaluation

During this period, Zimbabwe was labeled a middle income country, meaning it was lent money by institutions like the International Bank Of Reconstruction at a higher interest rate. With the devaluation of the currency against the US dollar, repayments became prohibitive to a point where Zimbabwe was struggling to meet its foreign repayment obligations so more money was lent to Zimbabwe to repay its debts.

By 1990, government was spending in excess of $600mil/yr about 30% of export revenue on debt repayments. All due to compromises reached by inexperienced leaders (most of whom had no economics experience beyond teaching in classrooms) who came out of the bush to negotiate with well seasoned, deceitful and racist European bureaucrats who believed that Africans had no human rights to resources, property, compensation, development and self determination.

The result was the country assuming onerous and illegitimate colonial obligations instead of receiving compensation for crimes against humanity perpetuated upon our people, in line with traditional and international customs of restitution.


The final nail in the coffin came when the same western countries went behind our leaders backs to sponsor the South African apartheid government to destabilize these newly independent black SADC states through military incursions, economic sabotage and political instability. The objective being to destroy infrastructure, divide citizens along tribal lines, cause civil conflict and underdevelopment by diverting developmental resources to defense, plunging them into debt and dependency on South Africa to force them to mortgage their resources for more debt to develop.

Zimbabwe was not spared but was in fact a focal point of the destabilization campaign as the most advanced frontline economy upon which South African liberation fighters and other SADC countries hinged the hopes of defeating apartheid and building an economic region independent from apartheid South Africa.

This period witnessed the bombings of Thornhill air base, Inkomo Baracks, Zanu PF headquarters at 88 Manic Road, the Beira oil pipeline, a number of railway lines. These were accompanied by attacks on Zimbabwean freight moving from Zimbabwe to Maputo by apartheid sponsored MNR rebels as apartheid government sponsored Super Zapu rebels ignited the Matelebeland unrest back home.

The culmination was the government borrowing $400mil [$764mil today] to enhance the railway network that was being sabotaged by the South Africans. With that the government called for a state of emergency from 1983 to 1989 and deployed the army to Matebeleland and Mozambique to defend our strategic interests and national security.

By 1992 when a seizefire was secured in Mozambique, the destabilization had cost Zimbabwe another US$1.4bil [over 3bil today] that should have been spent on building schools and hospitals or eradicating the 1.9mil housing backlog.

Tribal Division

More critically it divided the country into tribal poles as western propaganda manufactured the consent that 20 000 Ndebeles had been massacred by a Shona government in an attempt to force a one party Shona state. However, evidence on the ground as collaborated by 5 independent international reports including The Catholic Commission, Amnesty International, CIA, Lawyers For Human Rights New York, Bulawayo Legal Project and even the Truth and Reconciliation of South Africa, point to the fact that the Zimbabwean government was not a strictly Shona government. Furthermore, they all reveal that less than 3500 people were killed by the combine actions of dissidents, apartheid agents and government security forces’ defensive operations in Matebeleland.

New Constitution And Land Reform

By 1990 Zimbabwe was eligible for a constitutional amendment, albeit, the country was heavily indebted and western countries took advantage by offering a structural adjustment program [ESAP] as a condition for extending lines of credit to undertake planned social development, which included fast tracking land reform.

In 1992, government held a conference with war vets to talk about land. The product was the Second Land Appropriation Act which brought into effect compulsory land appropriation onto the books with the removal of the all white land valuation committee and replaced it with members elected by the Land Reform Committee.

The same year, Zimbabwe suffered another mega drought and western powers unhappy with the new Land Appropriation Bill tightened the screws by downgrading Zimbabwe’s credit rating and demanding higher interests for drought relief debt.

With the imposition of ESAP reforms forcing the liberalization of financial markets, the dollar devalued further, making foreign currency based debt repayments more costly in Zim dollar terms.

The response of the World Bank was to lend government more for ESAP support, which basically saw funds transferred from World Bank accounts into private western bank accounts to pay off previous debts. On many occasions the money didn’t even hit Zimbabwean government accounts.

ESAP Reforms

The liberalization of financial markets saw an escalation of the externalization of capital and devaluation of currency which raised debt obligations on government. Reforms forced government to open the market for cheaper imports, killing industry, particularly the textile and footwear sectors with second hand clothes.

Reforms also forced government to remove agricultural subsidies for rural farmers to focus on commercial farmers producing cash crops that raised foreign currency to pay foreign debt (i.e. Rhodesian colonial debt, British colonial underdevelopment debt and debt taken to pay those debts).

Education and health budgets were cut to pay debts as more than 30% of the government budget now went to foreign debt repayments.

The country was now under direct foreign debt management as designed by the colonial powers. This reduced extension worker support to rural farmers, increased import dependency, proliferated hybrid seeds and imported synthetic fertilizers, which made agriculture production capital intensive and dependent on western capital and inputs, thus killing small scale farming and self sufficiency.

Land Reform Without Compensation

Between 1992-1997 the British refused to honor their obligation to pay for land. Under pressure from war vets and displaced communities that had fought for land. The government decided to notify the world that they were now preparing to implement land restitution without compensation if the colonial allies did not honor their Lancaster obligations.

When a settlement was not forthcoming at the Land Conference held in 1998, through which the west attempted to renegotiate Lancaster terms. The guillotine of debt sanctions and threats of suspension from multi-lateral lending institutions was sprung on Zimbabwe.

With liberalized monetary markets and high interest rates, speculative foreign capital had poured into the country through out the decade for the high returns, growing inflows from US$800mil in 1991 to US$1.8bil in 1997.

Investment came in, made supernormal returns and aided by the 100% profit reparation policy, flew profits out of the country causing currency volatility. This is why by the time war vets began to agitate for compensation and land, on one 4th of November, this speculative capital with the assistance of foreign owned local banks like Stanbic, Barclays and Standard Chartered, flew their capital out to crush the Zim dollar.

Many Zimbabweans argue that the crash was as a result of war vet compensation, but when you consider that Zimbabwe had been burdened by enormous colonial debts that had no direct benefit on the economy but foreign investment continued to pour in. It goes to show that war vet compensation fundamentally never chased away capital because it would have stimulated the economy as that money would be spent in the local economy building homes, buying food, farming and consuming. Giving the local economy and investors a good return.

The truth is western capital made a political decision not to let the Zimbabwean economy benefit from this quantitative easing if it risked sending a signal that compensating black liberators who were also agitating to take land was profitable. So they punished the country for the war vet civil activism that was threatening the capital order of resource control.


With the economy in freefall, Zimbabwe was pressed to rescue another SADC nation [Congo] from western sponsored destabilization by Rwandan and Ugandan rebels who wanted to remove Kabila by force. The nation’s participation in that war alongside Angola, Namibia, Libya, Chad and Sudan was met with more currency manipulation and eventual suspension from multi-lateral lending institutions for non payment of colonial debt.


In early 2000 MDC succeeded in getting Zimbabweans to vote against a constitutional amendment to take land without compensation. But in spite of all these developments, the government hellbent on fast tracking land reform used its parliamentary majority to amend the Land Appropriation Act to take land.

As a last ditch effort to stop the fast track land reform, the United States imposed ZDERA in 2001, denying the country the right to debt cancellation or access to the reconstruction and development debt promised for not seeking reparations at Lancaster.

In 2002 February, 15 EU nations voted to impose sanctions on 19 Zimbabwean government officials and cancelled €126mil in developmental aid to Zimbabwe.

With ZDERA having failed to deter the fast tracking of land reform, the US President declared Zimbabwe an unusual and extraordinary threat against US economic, security and foreign policy interests to impose the EO13288 executive order sanctions in 2003.

Concomitant amendments were to follow in 2005 and 2008 respectively, to further confiscate assets and block the Zimbabwean government, its companies, private financial institutions and private companies from payment systems and corresponding bank relationships. They went on to prohibit American persons from trading, assisting or selling machinery, software, technology and equipment to Zimbabwe without a license from the US President. All this was done to ensure that this third world country would not be in a position to leverage its resources for another American miracle.

The New Lancaster

Today, the west is now cunningly using these sanctions to once again strong arm our new President to renegotiate the terms of our sovereignty and humanity [as done at Lancaster] by forcing him to honor compensation of white farmers for the developments made on the same land they never compensated our people for stealing.

By so doing our government is being induced, all over again, to take a US$9-$30bil debt from the same Brettenwoods institutions to compensate thieves who stole our land, on the premise that this will assist in normalizing relations with the west to open up old credit lines for future development.

It’s the maintenance of this debt driven colonial capitalist order, why sponsored economic askari like Hope, MDC, our churches, media and civil society groups, are pushing economic and political reform, while staying mum on the removal of sanctions.

Churches are accomplices in supporting sanctions and pushing for reforms because they were major holders of stolen land during the colonial period. They are still some of the major holders of large tracts of suburban land like our parliamentary precinct in Harare, hence government can not expand the building.

For these reasons, as a people we must be vigilant to keep our eye on our national interest and heritage to defend it from agents paid to reform us into relinquishing control of our resources for debt and labor indenture to western corporations. Because for 90yrs since the colonizer arrived, they controlled our resources, while we were labor and that never lifted black people, but instead they depleted our resources, destroyed our environment, displaced and impoverished Africans. Nothing good can come with giving over our resources to westerners for them to exploit in the hope of wage jobs.

Some Zimbabweans might have issues with Robert Mugabe, but his stubbornness on the issues of leaving resources in the hands of Zimbabweans, left us a wealth account of over $5tril in resources under our soil for future use. That means the founding father of our nation and his party gave us the future that the western world covets. We better be smart enough to hold onto this inheritance by fighting the influence of the evil agents.

Any foreign motivated reforms that are imposed by force or deceit upon Zimbabweans in the way Lancaster House forced our leaders not to demand reparations, while enjoining them to inherit colonial debt, buy back our stolen land from white farmers, undertake British colonial obligations and ESAP. Are part of the reasons Zimbabwe is indebted and under developed, hence we should resist these new imposed electoral and policy reforms to prejudice us today.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare of Zimbabweans United Against US War Sanctions.

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