Monday, September 12, 2005

Super Saturday--Zimbabwean Style

Zimbabwe is a divided nation. Not only are the people divided over whom to ally with between ZANU or MDC. The country's leaders are anathema to one another. Both within ZANU-PF and between the ruling party and MDC leading figures don't things the same. This past Saturday which will go down in history as Super Saturday not only at the US Open but also in Zimbabwean politics proves just that.

With inflation climbing to 265% confirming Zimbabwe's economic woes are far from over, leading figures in the dramatic battle for control of that country's economic policy came out swinging on Saturday.

On Friday, the IMF had voted to stay the expulsion of Zimbabwe for another six months after Gideon Gono's antics which included a huge payment to the institution early last week.

Predictably, Gono's response to the reprieve was nothing short of a cautioned outlook. Speaking to the Sunday Mail, the reserve bank govenor said,
"The close range in the voting is indicative of how serious and close the country had gone towards being expelled and how critical it is for Zimbabwe to urgently implement radical policy measures that will stabilise and grow the economy, especially in areas such as agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing as well as in the parastatal and local authority fields."
Unlike Gono, who was in Washington to plead the country's case, Mugabe, welcomed to Cuba with full military honors, stayed to true to form chiding the IMF for being "willed around by the big powers." "We have never been friends of the IMF and in the future we will never be friends of the IMF,” he callously charged. Whether he was only saying this because he had been overcome by the anti-market spirit in Cuba or whether he was just appeasing his hosts is yet to be determined.

But Mr. President, wasn't it you who was so enamored with the IMF that you led the nation to adopt the two-phase 10 year Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) which you decided not to complete?

Addressing a rally in Bulawayo, Morgan Tsvangirai decried last week's lumpsome payment to the IMF charging that expulsion could have been averted by accepting the conditional South African loan. The 121 million dollars (payed to the IMF) could have been better used bolstering national food supplies which have been rumored to be so low they'll run out in a matter of weeks.

Tsvangirai also challenged the people to think about the role they will play in solving Zimbabwe's worst crisis yet,
"If we continue the way we have been doing these past six years, then people will say we are mad. If we remain quiet we will not get any help and we will continue to suffer.

Mugabe must be confronted by the power of the people not just the leadership. If you are afraid, Mugabe will remain in power and we will continue to suffer. As a party we can't fail to organise and confront the regime."
Some level of collegiality between our leaders (especially within ZANU-PF) must exist in order to end the stagnation and decay that has become the Zimbabwean economy. When that will happen, and it if it will happen at all is still to be seen.

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