Letter from America with Ken Mufuka
No man intentionally disgraces himself. But brother Mthuli Ncube should have known the possible risk, and the possibility of being thoroughly disgraced if such confidential communication was broadcast to the whole world.
We will follow the rules of argument. First, we must recapture what Ncube said in the letter in his own words before we apportion the disgrace that came with it.
Ncube gives his letter a lofty title: Debt relief and arrears clearance strategy for Zimbabwe to support the authorities’ response to the Global Covid-19 pandemic.
The brother argues that because the coronavirus pandemic will have a “devastating humanitarian and economic impact on Zimbabwe” and since resources at the local level to support any meaningful response by the Zimbabwean authorities “and external financing is severely constrained due to external debt arrears”, he is proposing a “high-level dialogue on mitigating the economic and social downfall from Covid-19”.
In the following sentence, the brother shows a mastery and fluidity in word play, which would have made former US president Barack Obama look like a seminarian.
He is seeking free handouts (free money), but does not say so. Instead, with tongue in cheek, he says that in the high-level dialogue he proposes, the subject will be the formation of a “transformative arrears clearance and re-engagement plan” with the creditors.
If Zimbabwe is not given this help immediately, “the country will suffer a health and economic catastrophe”.
Now brother Ncube takes the role of the Nigerian super trickster, Anansi the Spider. He must receive financial help immediately in a quid pro quo arrangement. The “normalisation of relationships with Zimbabwe’s creditors both bilateral and multilateral” is indispensable for us to respond effectively to the global pandemic.
Why Ncube has disgraced himself?
Throughout the letter, the learned brother, through language puffery and Obamaspeak, believes that he can woo veteran world players at the World Bank. He also assumes that Zimbabwe has any cards left to play.
Obamaspeak is the exhilarating pronouncement of well-crafted words whose flow and sequence appear at first sight to import great ideas, but when examined after he has left, are found to have been empty of practical advice.
The sentence below surpasses the rhetoric of the master himself.
Ncube promises what he has no authority to promise or ability to prosecute. Ncube promises a time-framed response in a “holistic effort, which is well-coordinated and monitored by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank, to ensure consistency in the financial support, near-term stabilisation, and long-term sustainable private sector growth, and allow us to build a track record towards macro-stabilisation and potential debt relief”.
Beautiful though the sentence means nothing and does not offer any tangibles.
Let us begin here.
While he expects an immediate “giveaway”, say, US$200 million for the health sector ability to cure or control the coronavirus pandemic has nothing to do with economic stabilisation. There are two reasons.
First is the desire of Zanu PF to control every aspect of Zimbabwean life. Second, according to US State Department officials, is “the grand corruption and state violence”.
The economic problems of Zimbabwe originate in the inability of the political entity to respond to the needs of the plebeians.
The dictionary meaning of monitor is to “observe, record, detect — without altering the operation or condition”.
Any monitoring by external powers will not influence the sovereign power of the Zimbabwean state to transform the nature of its political Mafioso.
As I speak, the Zimbabwe Registrar-General’s office is embroiled in a shenanigan where 11 motor vehicles were ordered and only six were delivered.
In another shindig, a Chinese diamond mining company has muscled out the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Company.
In the 25 July, 2018 report by five Southern Africa State Department veterans, they eviscerated the idea of a “new dispensation and reforms” as a charade.
The gist of that report is that Zanu PF is a master of intrigue, doublespeak and non-reform. The response to Ncube’s urgent letter for help and promise provokes the response: “We have been there before.”
The arrogance and sense of invincibility is shown in the last sentence of Ncube’s letter. If after Zimbabwe has received all the monetary support it has asked for, a high-level dialogue purposed to achieve “rescheduling” of debt.
For a country that has not paid its debts since 1990, Zimbabwe must be admired for making itself to be a power in the universe when Chitungwiza pensioners have not been paid for several years.
Ncube himself has boasted of a Z$3 billion surplus.
Reasoning is wrong
My information is that while Ncube’s “demand for help” has gone viral, it is only a piece of the arrogance of Zimbabweans. A correspondent in the UK said Zimbabweans are a disgrace. When they attend meetings, they fly in a special jumbo jet, are the best dressed and loquacious. They have come to beg for money.
Here is another example of the disgraceful assumption behind the letter. Ncube promises to limit the amount of money going to command agriculture in order to ensure “transparency, limit the fiscal costs of the financing of agriculture”.
Surely a reasonable person, seeking to advance agriculture, would not by-pass the Farmers’ Co-op in favour of an oil company.
The thinking is wrong. Full stop.
Ncube confesses that arrears (Para.1 and Para. 5) are in the way of debt relief rather than sanctions. It is misleading to call them arrears. Zimbabwe stopped payment of debts in 1990. Arrears are temporary late payments in a period of 90 days. This is simple refusal to pay.
Doublespeak and justification
Ncube indicates clearly in his letter that the World Bank must “give him money” because Zimbabweans will be driven into unspeakable poverty. Remember he is addressing the mother of all imperialists and running dogs.
He shifts the responsibility of feeding the poor in Zimbabwe to the imperialists. These brothers never accept responsibility for anything. He wants the World Bank to save his Mafioso from domestic collapse. Secondly, this letter is a complete turn-around to the 1990-1995 Economic Structural Adjustment Programme.
There is a flourish in his conclusion, implying that his word is significant in Zimbabwe and in the world. “Please be assured of my highest consideration.”
It is a very pretty thought and pleasantly presented but means nothing.
I wish the brother well, but I must judge him harshly, with love. The great apostle advises the Romans thus: “Do not consider yourself more highly than you ought.” Brother Ncube has disgraced himself thoroughly by saying and implying far-reaching actions of which he cannot possibly achieve. He is not the president of Zimbabwe.
l Ken Mufuka and Cyril Zenda spent 10 years researching the Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed (Innov Bookshops in Zimbabwe). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is collecting eyewitness stories from Gukurahundi