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Eric Bloch: Destruction of Economy Criminal

AFTER Zimbabwe belatedly attained Independence in 1980, the country enjoyed economic recovery and growth for four years. 

However, thereafter for almost 25 years it has been in almost continuous economic morass, save for a few distressingly brief intermissions when some relatively minimum economic upturns materialised.

The most pronounced of these upturns were from 1994 – 1997 when, very reluctantly, and several years later than declared intent, government implemented the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme. Of the quarter of a century of almost constant economic decline, the most pronounced deterioration commenced in late 1997, and continued until the end of 2008.

Throughout the prolonged period of the decimation of the economy, government steadfastly denied any culpability, and endlessly sought to attribute fault to circumstances beyond its control.

More often than not, it contended that the emaciation of the economy was due to the intentional, malevolent actions of others.

Over the years it vociferously claimed that any and all of Zimbabwe’s economic ills were consequences of actions of Britain, the US and various Commonwealth countries, motivated by a desire that Zimbabwe be recolonised.  It blamed those of Caucasian origin in general, and commercial farmers, industrialists and others in commerce, political opponent, and others, with the sole exception that from time to time it also attributed the economic ills to climatic conditions and other acts of God.

From 2002 onwards it intensified its diatribes of vitriolic attributions of blame for the deteriorating economic conditions to the international community and in particular, inflation to the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank), and to the British/American political leadership (especially Tony Blair and George Bush).

It sought to give credibility to its contentions by recurrent reference to allegedly “illegal” economic sanctions.  This was with a dogmatic flouting of the facts that the reason for the international financial institutions ceasing to provide funding to Zimbabwe was that they were constitutionally barred from doing so, due to the magnitude of Zimbabwe’s default in servicing its debts to them.

They also steadfastly and studiously ignored the fact that until 2008, none of the “sanctions” were of economic nature, but were solely targeted at specific individuals within Zimbabwe’s political and governmental hierarchy.

In addition, they conveniently disregarded that there was nothing illegal in the imposition of sanctions, targeted at individuals or otherwise, for any country has the right to determine who may enter the country, who may possess assets therein, and whether or not to trade with such countries as they deem fit.

However, the Zimbabwean government was constantly determined to defuse any suggestion that it was the catalyst of Zimbabwe’s economic woes, and it was convinced that the majority of Zimbabweans were sufficiently gullible as to be misled by government’s contentions of Machiavellian actions by Zimbabwe’s supposed enemies.

The reality was, and still is, that the Zanu PF government that existed until the establishment of the so-called “inclusive” government was almost wholly the cause of all that debilitated the economy.


The collapse was triggered, and continued, by intense governmental profligacy, with expenditure vastly in excess of means, by widespread corruption, by ill-conceived policies which deterred investments, by defective service delivery of parastatals, by excessive economic regulation, and much else.


That destruction of the economy was thereafter exacerbated by ill conceived, and grievously mismanaged, land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement policies which almost annihilated agriculture, which was the foundation of the economy.

As if all these calamitous actions did not suffice, government then further demolished the economy by resorting to endless abuse of the international community, thereby alienating the goodwill and support which could have considerably facilitated economic recovery.

Government contemptuously repudiated all international community willingness to aid a Zimbabwean economic resurrection, resorting to unmitigated disregard for obligations under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas), to human rights abuses, and to indifference for the fundamental principles of justice, maintenance of law and order and compliance with international good governance norms.

It did so for long (almost a quarter of century), that inevitably it must be assumed that it did so deliberately and intentionally, perceiving the economic quagmire as a justification for authoritarian rule, in turn enabling endless retention of power.


That the people it had been elected to serve were being subjected to horrendous suffering, misery, ill-health, malnutrition and, for many, life-endangerment, was irrelevant: all that mattered to it was its own ongoing national domination and self-enrichment.

Then, in 2009 the “inclusive” government was established.  That was not because Zanu PF wished it to be, and it certainly did not welcome it.  It was because it eventually perceived no alternative but to yield to regional demands and pressures.

That it was impelled to do so, rather than voluntarily, was evidenced by its initial prolonged resistance to concluding a power sharing  agreement, and thereafter for many months it has failed to implement much that it had agreed to do.  It was clearly resentful of the Global Political Agreement, and has continuously strived to comply with its provisions minimally.

Nevertheless, the inclusive government brought about cessation of the economy’s endless downward slide to a significant extent because most of the more substantive economic ministries ceased to be in the hands of Zanu PF, and constructive economic policies began to be pursued.


Monolithic hyperinflation was halted, and Zimbabwe began to enjoy deflation.  Commodity shortages diminished, and government spending was massively curtailed.  The endless printing of unsupported money ceased, and economic deregulation progressively pursued. Vigorous efforts were made to restore harmonious international relations.

The economic recovery in 2009 has been minimal, as against that which is desperately needed, but nevertheless is a significant change from the never-ending previous decline.

But the sharing of power is transparently anathema to Zanu PF, which deeply hankers for total resumption of its authority and power.  There can be no other credible explanation for its continuing failure to fulfil many of its obligations under the GPA.

It continues to hinder and obstruct the full implementation of the GPA, undoubtedly hoping that the inclusive government will cease to exist.

But doing so is yet again a criminal destruction of the economy, with absolute disinterest that as a result widespread suffering will continue to be the lot of most Zimbabweans.

Eric Bloch

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