061_Global12_InFocus_Zimbabwe

Global 13

In FocusZimbabwe the national interest), and partly because Mugabe’s Zanu PF party wants him to run again (they say, apart from him, they don’t have a strong enough candidate to beat the opposition contender, Morgan Tsvangirai). As a result, Zanu PF overwhelmingly confirmed Mugabe as the party’s candidate for 2013 at its national conference last De- cember. So at 89 this year, when most peo- ple are long retired, Mugabe will be seek- ing a new term of office. This year’s election will see the end of the inclusive government that has run the country since February 2009 and is formed by the country’s three main parties – Zanu PF led by President Mugabe, the main Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T), and the smaller splinter faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Welshman Ncube (MDC-N). The inclusive govern- ment’s major success has been in ensuring economic stability and halting the runaway inflation that had decimated the economy in the years following the country’s contro- versial land reform programme that started in 2000. Opposition supporters during the 2000 parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe So far, the land reform programme stands receiving foreign aid, or stopping West- Thus, by preventing a developing African out as the biggest landmark event in the ern companies from investing or doing country that depends partly on borrowing country since independence in 1980. By business in Zimbabwe, or intimidating, and partly on foreign aid from accessing the taking land from white farmers and giving threatening, and thus dissuading, non- international financial system, the Western it to black farmers, the land reform pro- Western companies from doing business countries that imposed the sanctions were gramme was met with animosity by West- in Zimbabwe. only pushing Zimbabwe into an economic, ern governments, led by Britain, which and some say political, catastrophe. And EU countries to impose economic sanctions The inclusive government’s 2000 and 2008.that is exactly what happened between used its kinship status with the USA and on Zimbabwe. Most of the white farmers major success has been In 2009, after the formation of Zimba- who lost their land were of British descent. bwe’s inclusive government, Arthur Mu- The effects of the economic sanctions, in ensuring economic tambara, the then leader of the smaller which are still largely in place, have been MDC faction, publicly criticised the West- stability and halting the devastating on the nation and its citizens. ern countries for refusing to lift the sanc- From 2000–2008, the sanctions virtually runaway inflation that had tions, saying they had been imposed to help cut off Zimbabwe from the international him (Mutambara) and Morgan Tsvangirai financial system, leading to a catastrophic decimated the economy to win power, and “now that Zimbabweans collapse of the economy. Britain and its al- in the years following the have come together and are working to- lies do not publicly accept that they have gether, who are these countries to say they imposed ‘economic’ sanctions on Zimba- country’s controversial won’t lift the sanctions?” bwe. They insist that they have only im- The bitterness arising from the hardships posed ‘personal’ and ‘travel’ sanctions on land reform programme imposed by the sanctions and several inter- Mugabe and his officials, and companies that started in 2000 ventions by Western governments clearly aligned with the formerly ruling Zanu PF intended to effect a regime change in Zim- party as a way of compelling them to return babwe have largely shaped the politics of the country to democratic ways. To many African observers, the conse- the country in the last 12 years. But the USA’s Zimbabwe Democracy quences of the sanctions were deliberately Not surprisingly, many Africans say the and Economic Recovery Act, signed into calculated. If the British or US government Western actions in Zimbabwe have only law by President George W Bush in No- were prevented from borrowing for even confirmed the saying that there are no per- vember 2001, expressly imposes economic half a year, they argue, their economies manent friends in politics. For until 1997, sanctions on Zimbabwe. would be bound to suffer. Even as rich and when the ‘troubles’ in Zimbabwe really The imposition of ‘personal’ sanctions well developed as they are, Britain and the started, the country and its president, Rob- on a president and his officials should not USA need to borrow, and they do borrow, ert Mugabe, were the darlings of the inter- prevent the country from borrowing on on a continuous basis to keep government national set. the international financial system or even finances and the economy afloat. Dozens of Western and other universities globalfirst quarter 2013 www.global-briefing.org l61


Global 13
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