Tackle graft before sanctions removal, Zimbabwe urged


ZCP General Secretary, Ngqabutho Mabhena

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) WHILE they support calls for the removal of sanctions against their country, some Zimbabweans in the Diaspora first want the government to tackle corruption, seen as the biggest impediment to economic revival.

The sentiments by the Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP), based in South Africa, that the United States and the West must remove the embargoes against Zimbabwe, is the latest endorsement of demands by the government and continental unions like the African Union (AU).

“We are opposed to sanctions. They must be removed,” Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena, the ZCP General Secretary, told CAJ News Africa.

However, he said sanctions on their own were not the sole cause of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse.

“At the centre of our economic collapse is corruption and neo-liberal policies dating back to 1991 when Zimbabwe adopted the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP),” Mabhena said in Johannesburg.

He said the Southern African country must end corruption and neo-liberal policies that saw the country in International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank debts.

“Unless we end corruption and neo-liberal policies, we will remain indebted to IMF and the World Bank. They will keep saying we are in areas (and that) we must pay up,” Mabhena said.

He discounted the notion that the sanctions imposed in the early 2000s were imposed following the land reform programme.

“Sanctions were imposed because of Zimbabwe’s participation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war,” Mabhena argued.

The government of then-president, Robert Mugabe (now late), deployed troops in 1998 to back up then-president, Laurent Kabila, also deceased now.

“The chaotic land reform and violent elections became a cover-up,” Mabhena reasoned.

“The issue was that Mugabe went to defend Kabila when the USA used Uganda and Rwanda as proxies to topple Kabila over mining rights,” Mabhena alleged.

Mabhena maintained opposition to bailouts by IMF and the World Bank, known as the Bretton Woods Institutions would not see light of the day as they were used to pin down Zimbabwe’s economic revival.

He advocated for the exploitation of resources Zimbabwe was endowed with, to rebuild the economy.

Apart from natural resources, the country of more than 14,8 million boasts human capital, most which fled the country because of the impact of sanctions.

“We are opposed to IMF and World Bank financial support,” Mabhena insisted.

“We have enough resources to rebuild the economy. We are told gold worth millions in American dollars is smuggled to foreign lands daily. That money is enough to finance our developmental projects.”

With agriculture, at its peak the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy, Mabhena urged the government to offer financial support to new farmers and train youth in the sector.

“We must never accept any intimidation to the extent that we return our land to imperialist forces,” Mabhena asserted.

In conclusion, the ZCP senior official said Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were open to exploring investment opportunities if impediments such as corruption were tackled.

“The Diaspora community is willing but the environment back home is not conducive,” Mabhena said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made the fight against corruption a priority since he assumed power after the resignation of Mugabe in 2017, and his election the following year.

– CAJ News

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