Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Terence Rusirevi: Zim problems are caused by corruption and cruelty, not sanctions

By Terence Rusirevi

There has been another wave of anti-sanctions propaganda festering across social media platforms. Those who know the dark arts will have twigged that the regime’s agents of disinformation are hard at work in their drive to manufacture consent in the general public that it is the sanctions which are the cause of the catastrophic state of the Zimbabwean economy.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa during an interview on Carte Blanche in 2018
President Emmerson Mnangagwa during an interview on Carte Blanche in 2018

What is putting one into a bit of a sulk is that some of these lies appear to be working their magic on a few  progressives who are beginning to question their position on the matter. The fact remains, though, that the sanctions are targeted at the regime and its cronies, and the people who believe otherwise are Zanu supporters or those with porridge for brains.

The sanctions have absolutely nothing to do with the rot in the country, it’s corruption and cruelty by those in power and their rich friends which is causing the rapid degeneration of living standards. People need to bear this in mind;  Zimbabwe has a big government, a ubiquitous government that is in total control of everything that happens in the country.

So everything that is going wrong is in their hands – the dodgy currency, the rise in commodity prices, the satanic cartels controlling fuel, the egregious racket also known as command agriculture; shortages of water, electricity, healthcare and the pestilence in the public sector.  All these issues are a result of corruption and cruelty by the ruling party and their cronies.

These people are stealing money on a day to day basis and this will continue since there is no mechanism within the state which punishes theft or corruption. In fact, those at the top – especially the unprepossessing leader – have a notorious history and current practice of kleptomania and wasting public money.

These people know that if they steal,  not  only will they get away with it but  they will probably be rewarded so long as they bung those at the top. The whole thing is a racket, ‘la cosa nostra’, a mafia syndicate, infested throughout the state.

It’s no wonder the orgy of thievery happening throughout the state structures has resulted in the most basic facets of a civilised society like clean water and electricity becoming a luxury.  What is even more galling is that, despite being rich (from the thievery), these people  continue to steal.

That’s because they are greedy people. They see the consequences of their corruption but they are not moved by the public suffering, and so continue to steal.  That’s because they are also cruel people. When one bears in mind all this skullduggery, the notion that the suffering in the country is a result of western sanctions becomes even more dishonest and daft than it already is.

These people have no regard for the general public and they demonstrate this disdain quite brazenly. Even if they were given £10bn today with no strings attached, they would divvy up the money amongst themselves via the usual avenues of corruption – command agriculture, fuel cartels, salary and allowance increases for ministers, top civil servants, top judges and military top brass; new vehicles for all of them, luxurious foreign trips, public services subcontracted to companies part owned by the leadership who take the money but don’t deliver the service to the public.

Before long, the £10bn would have disappeared and the public will not have benefited diddly-squat from it. This is not an exotic supposition –  this has happened before, remember the diamonds?

The point here is  that, in Zimbabwe, the money which goes into the government’s coffers goes through a long and thick column of thieves before it reaches the public in the form of a functional economy and public services.

And because of the ruthlessness and greed of these thieves who like I said know that they will not be reprimanded for corruption, there is barely anything left for the public.

The reason why things have been so bad like never before is that the current regime is  comprised of the most virulent of thieves that Zimbabwe has ever seen. Just look at the characters and their history with public money. One wouldn’t trust this mob to run a mill (chigayo) let alone the country.

Now, there are some who have argued that the targeted sanctions have had a ripple effect on the general public in that the regime has become more ruthless in its corruption and human rights abuses. Therefore, the argument goes, the sanctions should be lifted to stop the regime from further harming the citizenry.

Well, even if we accept the threadbare merits of this argument, it’s still as clear as day that the spanner in the works here is the regime. Moreover, this argument requires people to suspend their common sense and assume that Zanu will be less vile when the sanctions are lifted. What about what happened in the early 1980s when Zimbabwe had a booming economy, inherited as it was?

Didn’t tens of thousands of people get massacred? Didn’t the war vet compensation fund disappear? What makes people think that this vile group of human beings is going to stop stealing when they are given freedom to whizz in and out of the west?

Isn’t the contrary much closer to reality, that with freedom to prance about in the west, this lot will be stealing with even more impunity? Unless, of course, those who subscribe to this point of view about the need to lift sanctions are subtly conceding that Zanu can never be replaced in government and so the best way is to give them access to so much wealth and western hospitality that they may leave a little bit for the general public.

Now, not only is this a deeply flawed way of thinking but it is probably the most cuckold form of trickle down economic theory in history. It’s the sort of public subjugation described in Greek mythology.

What is even more sad is that it is a stance that some in the general public would welcome because of desperation. But they will be hoodwinked just like the people who cheered and fraternised with the army that November in 2017. It’s not the sanctions, it’s the corruption and cruelty by those in power which is causing this mess.