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Whither the GNU

I AM sceptical of the feasibility of the inclusive government and the ability of the prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai to raise sufficient funds to get the country back on track.

I believe that Sadc and the AU pushed Morgan Tsvangirai into the deal with Robert Mugabe on Mugabe’s terms and so they should pick up the responsibility for the initial donations towards the reconstruction of the economy.

However, with the agricultural sector having collapsed and Zanu PF supporters still taking over the few remaining productive farms the situation is still quite bleak.

The manufacturing industry has collapsed, and industry and commerce have not fared any better as many firms have closed. There is 94% unemployment and therefore no chance that the remaining tax base can support a very bloated government.

This means that the country has to live on handouts and donations until the tax base has been re-established, a thing that many government officials do not realise.

The government was printing money to cover the deficiencies in the tax base. But now having moved to hard currency which the Reserve Bank cannot print the shortfall in the budget has to be financed by other countries.

The international community may contribute towards health and the refurbishment of hospitals and tackle the water and sewerage problems. However, the agriculture sector has to be put back on its feet, commerce and industry revived, and that foreign governments will not finance.

Private enterprise in the form of companies and individuals are needed to bring money into the country to build up the tax base and provide employment so that the economy will work.

This will not happen for as long as there is no law and order in the country; it will not happen as long as there are restrictions being placed on business.

As long as there are statements from government officials suggesting that businesses and farms can be taken over willy-nilly, it will not happen.

There is nothing at this stage that is going to encourage business to open up in Zimbabwe. Again there is nothing that will encourage tourism into the country, which requires stability and law and order.

The government, local authorities, and utility companies are all looking for huge amounts of foreign exchange from a population that has nothing and with the huge unemployment figures is going to remain that way for some time.

There needs to be a degree of reasonableness and some encouragement should be given to business wishing to invest.

The prime minister could raise funds to keep going for a while but without President Robert Mugabe doing his share to restore law and order the effort may well be wasted.

On the issue of sanctions I believe that there is no problem with lifting sanctions which affect our getting financial assistance.

The IMF and the World Bank’s thrust should be to ensure that the country can regain its position as a country with good economic prospects. However, the sanctions and restrictions placed on individuals were put in place because of human rights abuses which continue even today.

Even if the rule of law was restored there are many abuses of the past that deserve punishment.

W Peters,
United Kingdom.

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