This Means WAR!
US$42 billion. That is the total economic loss that ZANU-PF reckons Zimbabwe has lost in the past decade due to sanctions placed on the country by Western nations.
That is the amount of money Zimbabwe’s citizens have forfeited as the West ploughs ahead with its bid to force President Robert Mugabe out of office.
In its manifesto ahead of the July 31 general election, ZANU-PF says these immense economic losses are essentially a declaration of war.
The manifesto is titled “Taking Back the Economy, Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment”.
“Apart from the debt burden, which threatens the goals of the people, there is also the very serious threat from the sanctions burden in terms of what they have cost the country in monetary terms.
“The illegal sanctions imposed by the West have been equivalent to a declaration of war on Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.
“Since 2001, the illegal sanctions have put the Zimbabwe economy under siege with negative downstream effects on vulnerable groups, communities and civil society.
“These sanctions manifested themselves as financial, trade, cultural, academic, sport embargoes, diplomatic isolation travel bans, freezing of financial accounts of the national leadership, influential individuals in the business community and strategic entities and generally worsening Zimbabwe’s sovereign risk,” the manifesto reads.
This is contrary to repeated claims in some quarters that the sanctions are “targeted” on certain individuals in the government and ZANU-PF.
And it is in sync with the objectives of Chester Crocker, a US legislator who played a key role in imposing the sanctions, who declared that to “separate Mugabe from the people” America must make Zimbabwe’s “economy scream”.
US sanctions – through the innocuously named Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (particularly Section 4C of that law) – clearly state that the country will be blocked from accessing multilateral financing from the world’s largest institutions, which America largely control.
According to ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe lost donor support amounting to approximately US$36 million annually since 2001. The country also lost US$79m in loans from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank, and commercial worth US$431m per annum.
Further, Zimbabwe’s GDP shrunk by US$3.4b.
“The negative publicity created an artificially-induced negative national image which attracted high-risk premium on alternative sources of offshore lines of credit and killed the tourism market. It also scared away potential creditors and reduced commercial loans by US$431 million per annum during the 2000s.
“Furthermore, interruption of trade and constraints on manufacturing and general economic activities saw GDP almost halving from US$7.49 billion in 2000 to US$4 billion in 2010,” the manifesto reads.
And while money was diverted from the Zimbabwe government, it was re-routed to a plethora of NGOs and media organisations pushing an anti-Mugabe agenda.
“An obvious and unacceptable threat to the goals of the people is posed by the NGOs that roam the country to peddle influence and whose number of more than 3 000 is scandalously disproportionate to the country’s population.
“Virtually all these NGOs have been founded and funded by the same countries that have imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe for purposes of effecting illegal regime change outside the constitutional and democratic purposes,” says ZANU-PF.
At least US$2.6b has poured into anti-Mugabe NGOs in just the past four years under the guise of humanitarian assistance, the party says.
Because of the economic decline, the health and education sectors have been “donor-fied”.
“Over the last four years of the (coalition) government, a cluster of regime-change donors have taken advantage of the fact that the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare fell under the opposition formations and they have been pouring funds into the two ministries through illegal parallel structures.”<br /> ZANU-PF says illegal structures like the Education Transition Fund (ETF) were established by opposition formations in ministries allocated to them and were being used to undermine local publishing houses as textbook printing was outsourced to foreign companies.
“Even more worrying is the fact that the donor-driven ETF has been specially targeting school development committees to transform them into political structures of opposition formations that run schools while also linking up with headmasters, teachers, school children and parents,” says ZANU-PF.
On the health front, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and other donors have apparently imposed undeclared sanctions on Zimbabwe.
According to UNICEF, health financing through donor support per person in Zimbabwe in 2007/8 was US$4 per annum.
This was in sharp contrast to US$39 in Lesotho, US$104 in Botswana, US$139 in Swaziland, US$190 in Zambia, US$192 in Mozambique and US$362 in Uganda.
Another independent estimate says on average, donors spend an average of US$240 per HIV or AIDS patient in Africa – which is 60 times what a Zimbabwean patient gets yearly.
Back in 2004, Dr Paul Chimedza, the then president of the Zimbabwe Medical Association, said: “One would expect that distribution of the Global Fund monies will be according to the burden of disease, meaning that those countries which are affected get more money to enable them fight these diseases.
“Unfortunately, the people running the Fund at the moment have a 'fairer' way of distributing these funds and that is according to which side of the political coin a country falls.”
And Dr Richard Feachem, Global Fund's then executive director, reportedly admitted that “a measure of sanctions were in place against Zimbabwe”.
He said, “Yes, the politics of a nation plays a role when we determine the country's application.”
The European Union has in the past conceded that it is in breach of its own regulations when it comes to the matter of Zimbabwe.
A 2006 study by the EU to evaluate the coherence, co-ordination and complementarity among member states in application of Article 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) admitted that the sanctions were imposed to try and influence the 2002 Presidential elections against President Robert Mugabe.
The study was carried out by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium and it can be found at ISBN 978-90-5260-264-6 (using most Internet search engines), or at www.three-cs.net/resource_corner/ongoing_studies/.