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What is Bloch’s excuse for working with Mugabe?

“Economic destruction not the path to political change” (Zimbabwe Independent, February 27) made some interesting and puzzling reading.

I have had

the pleasure of interacting with him in many respects as a journalist, networking partner and a resident of Bulawayo.

He has (I am not so sure that this still holds true) established himself as an authority on economic, social and political matters. Many a time people questioned me on the gentleman’s grasp of socio-economic issues and why the media found so much fascination about quoting and interviewing him. Although I had no answer to this, one academic described Bloch as nothing more than “that Bulawayo-based bookkeeper”.

Reading through his article I was amazed at how perilously close he came to confirming this perception. In a nutshell, Bloch is in the auction committee just to do that – see whether we can balance the books. The moral, social and political cost of doing so or the mechanisms of doing so are of no consequence to him.

But then who can blame him for being another prominent askari from Matabeleland following closely on the footsteps of Jonathan Moyo? It is not clear what framework of fixing the economy he is working within. It is not the people who are working in the diaspora who have caused the economic problems that the country is facing.

It is not their relatives either who have given Zimbabwe a bad credit rating but the Zanu PF government. If Bloch were to proceed from a cause – effect, problem – solution-basis he would realise that no matter how many auction meetings he attends the problems facing the country will not go away.

Somebody needs to point out some facts to Bloch regarding the queries that have been raised with regard to sourcing funds from people in the diaspora.

The primary reason why Zimbabweans have found themselves working in the diaspora, legally and illegally, is because of the calculated misrule and economic sabotage that has been perpetrated by the government of Zimbabwe that Bloch wants to support.

The amount of income they will generate from them is nothing compared to what the mines, farms, factories and holiday resorts of the country are capable of generating. Zimbabwe was never going to be run on migrant income remittances, even Wenela failed.

The only way to eat an elephant is by taking one small piece at a time but surely that does not include its droppings!

Secondly, Bloch needs to realise that there is no greater tsotsi that the people in the diaspora fear more than Zanu PF. They know fully well that foreign currency is required to support and finance either directly or indirectly the activities of the disputed presidency of Robert Mugabe.

The middlemen that they have dealt with before ensured that their families had food to eat, could pay for medication, buy clothes and bury their kith and kin. So the question of who is fooling who is resolved.

If the foreign currency is required for business purposes, the market is already settling that. Yes, there was a market called the black market – it was the market – period. If Bloch does not think this is true he can go and ask industry executives, energy and telecommunication utilities or he can do some quick arithmetic to establish how much we paid the Libyans for the oil to get a rough idea of what the market rate was. The government has basically come in to try and cheat the market.

Of all people Bloch should know better that his justification does not wash. There is no way that the Jewish community in Germany would have stood up during the Second World War to fix the economy and loudly say what the Nazis had done was wrong but that the important thing was to strengthen and re-build Germany.

The only exception to this would be the pipe-smoking Thabo Mbeki who has decided to side with Mugabe regardless of the weak moral, political and social arguments for doing so.

I trust Bloch does not get me wrong. I am not against the economic recovery of Zimbabwe. I am against the illogical reasoning by those who seek to help the Mugabe regime tidy up the mess that it has systematically created over the years. I suppose Bloch’s conscience has not allowed him a good night’s sleep over the last few days and has been forced to explain why he is doing what he is doing.

When he has tried to, he has made a big mess of it.

Everybody has an excuse for being part of the committee. It could be that they are protecting their jobs which they hold courtesy of Zanu PF or they are Mugabe’s homeboys or in fear of their lives. What is Bloch’s genuine excuse?

If you intend to work with the auction committee please go ahead and I wish you all the best. There is no need for you to stand up in public and justify your deeds. If you are going to be charged for eating a portion why not eat the whole goat?

Bekithemba Mhlanga,


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