By Wilbert Mukori
“If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with bull!”
Well Hopewell Chin’ono is certainly one individual who has taken this as his mission in life. In his desperate effort to justify and/or defend President Mnangagwa and his junta regime, Chin’ono has certainly thrown away the rule book on reason and logic, just to make a point.
Hopewell’s latest mission was to defend, with bull as he clearly could not come up with any rational reason, why the Americans must lift all the targeted sanctions on the Zanu PF leaders and a select number of companies for the country’s bad human rights record including the failure to hold free, fair and credible elections.
“Dr Chipo Dendere needs to understand that sanctions regardless of their intended targets and outcomes, they end up affecting the vulnerable and weakest in our society. The law of unintended consequences invariably ends up affecting the people suffering due to politics of the elite,” wrote Chin’ono.
“As a political science lecturer, she would have had 17 years of sanctions history to examine the impact they have had on the poor and the effectiveness or lack therefore in bringing the political elite to heel.”
Dr Dendere was one of the four witnesses who appeared before the US Foreign Relations Committee, the body that will decide whether or not to extend the sanctions or remove them. All four witnesses said the sanctions must remain in place.
Chin’ono gave some examples of people who have had problems sending donated funds from the US to Zimbabwe because someone along the line thought the transaction was affected by the sanctions. Examples of the unintended victims suffering, no doubt.
“However, as I have always argued to many proponents of these sanctions measures, the law of unintended consequences is NO defence to demand for what is essentially a corrosive set of laws to punish your own country.”
The law of unintended consequences is no defence! The issue here is in fact more-clear cut than that!
As Chin’ono himself has said, the “vulnerable and weakest in our society” are suffering from the “unintended consequences” of the sanctions on the one hand and on the other hand they are also from the intended consequences of the “politics of the elite” – vote rigging and corruption in this case. The key issue here is therefore which one would they rather have.
To demand the lifting of the sanctions just because of the suffering brought about by the intended consequences without mention the suffering brought by the other side is therefore plain foolish.
Many Zimbabweans would know this is a very familiar road because before independence the Smith regime had to deal with even tougher UN sanctions against the regime. I cannot speak for Chin’ono but I know most blacks welcomed the imposition of the sanctions as another way to pressure the regime to end its racist oppression and exploitation of the black majority.
So if the weak and politically powerless accepted the economic hardships brought by the UN sanctions for the sake of the long-term political gains why should they not want to do the same for political gains, as it happened!
Mugabe and his apologists have argued for years that the West imposed the targeted sanctions on the regime because of it had seized land from white farms to give to blacks. The sanctions were a proxy racist measure, nothing to do with human rights and failing to hold free and fair elections. The regime stole its own thunder in 2008!
Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 2008 elections by cheating in the counting and then using wanton violence that not even the AU or SADC would accept the elections as free and fair. Indeed, SADC went on to impose its own “sanctions” on then President Mugabe and his party by forcing them to sign the Global Political Agreement, agreeing to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop repeat of the barbarism of the last elections.
The Zimbabwe economy has all but completely collapsed as a result of 38 years of Zanu PF misrule. The people could not remove the regime from power because it rigged the elections!
President Mnangagwa has blamed the sanctions for the country’s economic mess, just as Mugabe before him has done. During the five years of the GNU the Zimbabwe economy recovered to register a 12% growth rate, the highest ever recorded since independence, and yet the sanctions were still in place.
Mugabe has since admitted the country was “swindled $15 billion in diamond revenue. No nation on earth can sustain much less prospect given serious haemorrhaging of wealth, especial one with a mere $10 billion GDP! Gross mismanagement and rampant corruption are cancers killing Zimbabwe; not sanctions.
“The political elites will never miss a meal because of these sanctions, it is our relatives struggling for survival who will bear the brunt of these measures,” continued Chin’ono.
“These sanctions are a political tool and statement which has never stopped Robert Mugabe from getting his multi million dollar health treatment in Singapore or his goons receiving top class medical assistance in China, India or South Africa.”
This does not make any sense; are we to believe that the sanctions are therefore effective in making the unintended targets poor and destroying the economy whilst making the ruling elite filthy rich? From what? Seeing the poor get poorer?
The truth is the rich are getting filthy rich from looting the nation’s wealth and as long as they have the carte blanche power to rig elections the looting will continue. What Chin’ono has just given is a case why the targeted sanctions should have been broader to include other countries like Singapore, China, etc. and to include the ruling elite’s family members!
“When our citizens are invited to give testimonies by the American government on their country, they should put country first and write their testimonies after carefully applying their minds to the consequences of such submissions,” Hopewell advised.
“They should understand the relatedness of the social and economic impact their testimonies will have on the ordinary women and men who have NO control over the political actions of the ruling elite.”
But that is precisely why ¾ of our people and languishing in abject poverty – they have no control over the filthy rich ruling elite. Whilst the rich fly to Singapore as often as 12 times a year @ $3 million a trip for an eye check-up, live in a $4 billion mansion, splashes $5 million of his daughter’s wedding, etc.
If Mugabe had not fallen out with his cronies in the party the tyrant would still be in power today and certain of another landslide victory precisely because he rigged elections and falsified the people’s mandate!
President Mnangagwa is dragging his feet on implementing the democratic reforms because he too believes he is entitled to the same dictatorial powers to rig elections and stay in power.
“I think as a country and as a people we need to redefine our terms of engagement regarding how we influence change and demand a better deal from our government and president.
“We cannot rationally expect Emmerson Mnangagwa to feel encouraged to implement the required progressive agenda if we are asking for impediments to be thrown in his path,” concluded Chin’ono.
The sheer stupidity of Chin’ono’s arguments is breathtaking.
The sanctions are being imposed to force Mnangagwa to implement the democratic reforms to restore the individual freedoms and basic rights of ZIMBABWEANS. Why is allowing the people to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country an “impediment”? The sanctions would have never been imposed if Zanu PF had usurped the people’s democratic powers and rigged elections.
The right to free and fair elections is not just an inalienable right, no to be negotiated or diluted in any way; it is also the very basis of good and accountable government.
After 38 years of corrupt and tyrannical rule and the country is a real serious economic mess because Zanu PF rigged elections; there nation cannot afford another rigged election.
If President Mnangagwa does not implement the reforms then there is no way the elections can ever be free, fair and credible. The elections will be declared null and void and a new administration will be appointed to implement the reforms!