The Herald (Harare)

28 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai's Chatham House Monologue

Photo: New Zimbabwe
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

TSVANGIRAI's address at Chatham House was as inspiring as an empty bottle. It was hollow and substance-free to be more precise. He started off by talking about the "debilitating economic problems Zimbabwe is facing which are 'supposedly' symptomatic of a deep-rooted political crisis stemming from a disputed election". What?The election was exactly a year ago and Tsvangirai is hanging on to a done deal convincingly, freely and fairly won by the ruling party.

Even Tsvangirai's then Secretary General Tendai Biti was honest and admitted that they lost to the well-oiled revolutionary machinery and that the MDC-T was ill-prepared, lacked a convincing strategy and was totally outmanoeuvred.

The elections were widely endorsed by African election observers from Sadc, AU and Comesa as free, fair and credible and instantly given the not-credible seal of approval by the EU and USA.

Instead of Tsvangirai coming forward and laying down his proposed strategy for the country's current economic challenges his address was a mishmash of sweeping statements minus any specifics. It was his usual 'stolen election mantra' and a veiled invite for further interference from what he casually terms 'the international community'. He dragged on about the past elections, the so-called disputed polls and his futile and meaningless quest for the voters roll to be made public.

The Chatham House address by Tsvangirai was clear as mud, to put it kindly it was tired, devoid of any substance and pointless all together. How is Zimbabwe going to benefit from this lacklustre lecture, a repetition of the usual MDC-T themes of demonising the ruling party and mobilising western support for own self-serving motives?

It sounded like a manipulative child enlisting the favours of a parent by telling on others. The whole address was predominantly about what the Government is not doing and no mention whatsoever of what the Government should be doing to improve the economic fortunes of the country.

There was no presentation of the shadow strategy to the country's economic woes. It seems the speech was specifically meant to appeal to his usual donors and 'international community'.

It was all doom and gloom and this is from a man who was in the inclusive Government for five years and the economic challenges he was going on about he failed to address when he had the opportunity then.

Tsvangirai went on to lecture the audience on how "Zimbabweans have no faith in the Government in Harare because they know they did not vote for it".

I am not sure if Tsvangirai is aware that over 60 percent of Zimbabwe's electorate voted in favour of the ruling party? I am not sure if his entourage told him?

The opposition disputed the election results and were well within their rights to challenge the result and file a petition at the Constitutional Court which upheld President Mugabe's victory. The International community (another term for the US and Europe) expressed and have continued to express reservations publicly on the 'credibility' of the electoral process which has meant delays in their re-engagement with the Zimbabwe Government.

During this dreary address Tsvangirai provided details of what he fondly termed "global players and stakeholders" and what they had to say about the supposedly 'disputed' election. The names were exclusively 'international' and included US Secretary of State John Kerry, Former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and of course the ever-submissive government of Botswana.

This list is telling and a true reflection of Tsvangirai's naivety and unhealthy preoccupation with what he terms 'the international community'. The names Tsvangirai provided here are from countries that did not participate in the monitoring of the general election. There are no names of the African countries that actually monitored and concluded that the elections were free, credible and a reflection of the will of the people.

Tsvangirai's address was not reassuring, at most a public quest for readmission to the elite neoliberal circles he so thrives in. Here is a man regurgitating the party line of 'chaos in Zimbabwe, come and rescue us those from the 'international community'

Tsvangirai also made a futile attempt at mentioning the state of the economy and here is where lines should be drawn and Tsvangirai should stick to what he knows best.

I have no idea what that is but he should stick to that. In his address he provided the audience with some spurious and ill-researched economic indicators from the World Bank's Doing Business Report ranks.

He confidently tells the audience that Zimbabwe was 133 out of 143 countries and your point Mr Tsvangirai?

What Tsvangirai does not realise about these Doing Business indicators is that they are highly subjective and not symptoms of the economic downturn facing the country.

He also made some sweeping statements about the liquidity crunch, FDI flows into the country and he also mentioned a US$1 billion figure that was 'spirited out of the economy barely a week after the election'.

What Tsvangirai did not address was his continued stay in the state provided dwelling in the plush and leafy Harare "Dales" and his expensive playboy lifestyle on the high seas. Now those are economic indicators worth exploring from a man who claims to be the champion of the economically abused Zimbabwean people.

In the final part of his address Tsvangirai made some frail attempts at 'mapping a way forward' and his first statement was about national dialogue and from that he seemed to be alluding to another government of national unity. Tsvangirai termed it 'an internationally brokered national dialogue of all stakeholders' and we know very well who he is referring to when he talks about the 'international community'.

He chastised the Government's Look East policy saying it had not yielded direct financial support. Hence why earlier it was indicated that Tsvangirai should stick to what he knows best whatever that is.

It is an open secret that China is currently the country's biggest source of FDI. Figures from the World Investment Report (2013) indicate that FDI inflows from China in 2013 amounted to in excess of US$400 million while those from the EU countries fell below the US$100 million mark. Even the EU has been borrowing money off China. So Mr Tsvangirai I ask again, under those circumstances would you not look east?

Tsvangirai continued with his painfully tedious monologue about dialogue and re-engagement with the EU yet seemed oblivious to the fact that the Government has remained widely open to positive re-engagement with all its international development partners, former and present. Following on from the landslide victory in 2013, the Government has put emphasis on economic revival.

There has been a genuine commitment to address the issues of re-engagement with the 'international community', employment creation and regenerating the desolate and dilapidated infrastructure.

The finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently went to the IMF and World Bank as part of the re-engagement process and to reopen lines of credit and attract the much needed direct foreign investment.

The IMF has placed Zimbabwe on a Staff Monitoring Programme (SMP) as a condition for re-engagement with Zimbabwe if successfully implemented. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry delegation was also recently on EU wide re-engagement drive.

Lastly Tsvangirai went on to lay down 'the conditions' for the removal of sanctions saying 'removal of sanctions without a framework that plods and entices the nation towards full democratic values'.

This is very disturbing and we have history to back this claim. The sanctions are illegal and should never have been imposed in the first place. It is Tsvangirai and clueless lieutenants who advocated these devastating economic sanctions and when he starts like this the nation should seriously start to worry.

This article is reproduced from bernardbwoni.blogspot.com.

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