[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Prediction of Zim GNU collapse
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Apr 21 22:51:16 BST 2009
(Seems like a way way exaggerated opening sentence.)
Zimbabwe Unity Government Faces Collapse
Mxolisi Ncube | Bio | 17 Apr 2009
World Politics Review
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's national unity government faces
imminent collapse, due to its failure to get critical financial aid from
the international community. Experts have now warned that the government
might soon fail to pay its workers, with the potential for serious civil
unrest as a result.
Zimbabwe needs at least $8.5 billion in financial aid in order to
reconstruct its economy. But its appeals have so far drawn blanks due to
donors' skepticism over President Robert Mugabe's sincerity in working
with the opposition.
Even the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- which
brokered the accord establishing the unity government and remains its
custodian -- has so far failed to produce assistance, despite its
approval last month of Zimbabwe's reconstruction plan.
South Africa's foreign affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said on
Monday that the SADC was lobbying the U.S. and EU to lift their
sanctions on Zimbabwe, while also canvassing for economic support.
However, that mission might fail if Mugabe -- whose populist policies
and mismanagement of resources are largely blamed for destroying one of
Africa's erstwhile model economies -- does not change his ruling tactics.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which sent a fact-finding team to
the former British colony two weeks ago, said that Zimbabwe would not
receive fresh funding before it clears its burgeoning arrears. Those
date back to February 2001, and stood at $137.4 million last month.
"Assistance from the IMF will depend on establishing a track record of
sound policy implementation, donor support and a resolution of overdue
financial obligations to official creditors, including the IMF," the
fund said in a statement last week.
The IMF cut balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe in 1999, after
differences with Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues.
Zimbabwe is also in arrears of $656 million and $449.5 million to the
World Bank and the African Development Bank, respectively.
Western donors have demanded the creation of a democratically elected
government and bold economic reforms -- including reversing
nationalisation policies -- before they make financial commitments. They
also want guarantees of human rights, the release of all political
prisoners, the restoration of press freedom and an immediate end to
Mugabe's violent land seizures.
However, Mugabe, who still remains fully in charge of state security
organs, has so far refused to comply. More than 10 activists from Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
are still missing, after being abducted late last year. The state denies
any knowledge of their whereabouts.
The few that were released from custody -- including Roy Bennet, the
MDC's nominee for deputy minister of agriculture -- are still facing
terrorism charges. MDC officials claim the charges have been trumped up
to stifle opposition, but Mugabe has refused to drop them.
Mugabe's supporters have also launched a new wave of farm invasions
against the few remaining white farmers in the country. The Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) reported that more than 100 farms belonging to its
members have been impacted during the past few weeks.
"Mugabe seems to be determined to see the remaining few white farmers
leave the country," said a CFU spokesman Tuesday. "Police are also
wantonly arresting our members for trying to resist the evictions, while
some of them have been assaulted, detained, or had their property
Agriculture Minister Hebert Murerwa dismissed the reports as false. But
several analysts have blamed the invasions on the hidden hand of Zanu-PF
hardliners who are opposed to the government of national unity. Among
the hardline Mugabe loyalists are security chiefs who in the past have
vowed never to salute Tsvangirai, even if he were to become president of
the country and commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).
The MDC has complained about the farm seizures, which it warns will
undermine the unity government and block the desperately needed
financial assistance. "This is a threat to the rule of law, to decency,
to hope and to economic recovery," said party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa.
"The farm disturbances and arrests of farmers are not only a threat to
food security, but to the goodwill that the international community had
started to extend to the inclusive government."
However, Mugabe told his Zanu-PF party's central committee last
Wednesday that the land seizures would continue despite the MDC's
objections, demonstrating Mugabe's executive powers and the opposition's
lack of influence in the new government.
Mxolisi Ncube is an exiled Zimbabwean freelance journalist based in
Johannesburg, covering politics and human rights. He used to report for
the Zimbabwean, a privately owned weekly newspaper, and various
political Web sites both locally and abroad, until fleeing government
persecution in August.
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