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  • Writer's pictureRutendo Matinyarare

Zimbabwe Needs A State Of Emergency Against Sanctions Part1.

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for the greater part of 18yrs, and these sanctions are beginning to take their toll, dividing Zimbabweans and pushing them to the brink of civil unrest.

Even though most might not recognize the cause and effect, generally the humanitarian crisis and resultant internecine divisions in our business, politics and society directly and indirectly emanate from the impact of these sanctions.
Such divisions speak to the effectiveness and success of these sanctions, considering that sanctions are designed as covert weapons to disrupt an economy, impact its people, destroy institutions and sow division with the objective of influencing behavioral change, regime change or conflict that will deliver regime change.

Sanctions Are Designed To Destroy Lives

History shows us that sanctions caused the internal divisions that resulted in civil war, UN intervention, the fall of the Libyan government and the nation losing its ability to safeguard its citizens and resources.

Today it’s reported that various warlords control separate parts of the oil rich nation, engaging in slavery, human trafficking and peddling of Libyan oil to US oil companies in exchange for weapons.

From being one of the richest countries on earth, Libya now resembles a defunct failed state where the revenues of oil are now misappropriated and unaccounted for. As a consequence the nation is now plagued by economic stagnation, fuel shortages and a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Zimbabwe In Crisis

Zimbabwe finds itself at the precipice of a similar quagmire resulting from the related US executive order sanctions. Since the irregular leadership transition last year, the nation has descended into conditions ripe for civil war if Zimbabweans don’t get their act in order and unite.

The question being asked by many is how can Zimbabwe begin to rebuild and change people’s lives to stave off the brewing crisis? Among other things most agree that progress in Zimbabwe requires the removal of sanctions, unity and the reduction of corruption.

Clearly, Zimbabwe has many other challenges outside the issue of sanctions. Of particular concern are corruption, mal-administration, over consumption and the prevailing lack of productivity. However, topping these scourges are these sanctions that have fueled a lack of patriotism, causing disunity which now forms the fulcrum of Zimbabwe’s condition in the same way similar factors collapsed nations like Libya.

Sanctions have created divisions where there were none before, while turning previous divisions into irreparable rifts that are disintegrating the nation.

ZCTU Moment.

A case in point is ZCTU, a trade union which began as an ally of a socialist government and the working class against capital, up until union leaders were turned to partner with capital against government during the compensation of warvets and fast track land reform in Zimbabwe. This split in the political body became the cornerstone of national division.

Straw That Broke The Nation

Politicians felt betrayed by the black worker, union, black business class and public who they felt conspired against government and the struggle it was undertaking on their behalf.

They believed that as government they had invested so much to create favorable empowerment policies to advance the indigenes in a manner that compromised their relationship with white and global capital.

A compromise that government readily took to advance black empowerment on the expectation that black capital, intellectuals and empowered workers would rise to the occasion as the bulwark against sanctions that would soon come to derail the political decolonization project.

To the dismay of the politician, black business took incentives offered by government, divested and illegally externalized their proceeds off-shore together with white capital. Black professionals absconded their empowerment positions, migrated overseas and left the nation with a deficit of institutional memory, intellect and human capital to revive the economy.

The politician was abandoned and over night the empowerment agenda was scuttled. To salvage the situation, government devised emergent strategies to bolster farming and revive industry. Grants and incentives were given to both farmers and industrialists who squandered them in short order.

The likes of Mawere registered their companies in the British Virgin Islands where they stashed their bounty, while some like Phillip Chiyangwa bought up factories where they laid off workers, stripped and sold the machinery as scrap to bolster their balance sheet.

The fortunate recipients of Zimbabwean subsidized education, transport, agriculture and healthcare had taken all they could and didn’t make a return to national coffers.

In time treasury dried up, leaving nothing for coming generations. With industry dead, government bankrupt, institutions collapsed and farmers struggling, Zimbabwe was plunging into a human catastrophe. Again politicians administered economic CPR by printing money and allocating it to farmers and industry to resuscitate the economy. Nevertheless, once again the incentives were diverted into the pockets of those who received them including some politicians.

This was complicated by sanction limitations that made acquisition of investment, tooling, technology, medicine, replacement of old British machinery and access to markets very difficult.

The bureaucrats had tried to keep the ship afloat but the ship was sinking fast with no one willing to save it. Now they began to question their sacrifice [from the seventeen years of war through to the twenty five years of independence]. Taking stock of their lives most (even though some had prospered) realized that they had accumulated nothing.

It’s at this point that many of them decided to start making up for lost time and start looking out for their own interests [as everyone else had been doing] before the ship sank.

Nation Of No Citizens

In their view it had become pointless to try and advance a nation in which the majority were self-serving, unpatriotic canker worm amassing and accumulating at their expense. The same thought process was taking hold in the minds of most Zimbabweans as the seeds of non-patriotism took hold.

Soon it was a free for all as the orgy of unabated corruption began. The looters looted [civilian & government] and put their savings in lifeboats ready to abandon ship as sanctions tightened. Life got tough and people began to resent their government and nation.

Nurses, doctors and tradesmen migrated in droves. The nation was divided: capital owners partnered with government officials to loot the masses with the hand of the few remaining professionals. The worker was left jobless after white capital left with their bounty.

As individual corruption festered so did institutional market harvesting, profiteering, tax evasion and externalization. Jobs got lost, tax revenues dwindled and government dispensed less services to the masses as health, education and social welfare facilities became decrepit.

Prohibitions placed by sanctions prevented state enterprises from importing or exporting strategic commodities, opening the door for Rhodesian style sanction busting cartels (Trafigura, Glencore) to become agents for these commodities at an inflated retainer. The materialistic Zimbabwean continued the gluttonous importation of ostentatious consumables with proceeds of corruption and Forex trading, making foreign currency scarce.

Sanctions Make Their Mark

The hardships now had people blaming each other for the degradation. Politicians believe the unpatriotic citizens were the cause of the crisis, while the people saw the corruption of politicians as the source of the problem.

No one wants to take responsibility for their dereliction, neither do they understand the contribution of sanctions to this disaster.

The intellectuals and workers who went overseas are now mentally indoctrinated Europeans in thinking. They feel civilized enough to tell those at home about democracy so they begin to drive an anti-government and pro-western rhetoric.

They influence discourse with a neo-colonial outlook, using their finances and online presence to sponsor alternative voices and media that maps an anti-African cognition in the minds of those left at home.

In true American form, the American Embassy jumps to take advantage of the divisions. They deny that they have imposed the sanctions that are causing the suffering on Zimbabwe. Instead they manufacture the consent that sanctions are targeted at those contravening human rights and the suffering of the people is a result of government corruption, mal-governance and mal-administration.

Zimbabweans lap up the narrative, grow to hate their government and begin to look to alternative leaders and the US government for salvation. Political differences have now turned into life and death affairs. Elections become bloodletting events and to counter the regime change aims of the sanctions, the ruling party employs its own counter measures.

War Is Looming.

The culmination of these 18yrs of division has seen Zimbabweans now begin to entertain the idea of seeking weapons, assistance and funding to initiate hostile resistance of the government.

Such murmurs are a stark indication of how effective sanctions have been in dividing the nation and putting it on a knife’s edge. The sanctions have achieved a strategic milestone.

As some Zimbabweans entertain the idea of revolution in a region where the country imposing these sanctions has their biggest embassy supported by military assets in Botswana, they could soon get their wish.

Getting Zimbabweans to this point was one of the objectives of the sanctions and it constitutes a present and imminent threat on Zimbabwe which we need to address as a nation urgently.

To be continued in Part 2................

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare

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