Their doing so is undoubtedly primarily motivated to mislead and deceive the people as to the real causes of Zimbabwe’s innumerable economic ills (those real causes being almost entirely the mismanagement of the economy by the politicians, including immense corruption by them and their underlings, failure to recognise the need for critical policy changes, pursuit of self-centred policies anathema to first world democratic countries, and the like).
Instead of pursuing reciprocal friendship and collaboration with the Western countries in general, and the former colonialist states in particular, the politicians determinedly and obliquely reject opportunities for interaction, conciliation and frank, non-confrontational airing of views with a view to restoring mutually beneficial interactions and collaboration.
They endlessly contend at rallies and other public gatherings, in parliament and through the media, that the Western countries are destroying Zimbabwe’s economy with deep-seated intents to achieve the over-throw of those politicians, the recolonisation of Zimbabwe, and to all intents and purposes to gain control over Zimbabwe’s natural resources and its people.
These policies and intents of many of the country’s political hierarchy are reinforced by a vigorous promotion and adulation of a “Look East” policy, with a concurrent oblique persuasion to be blind and oblivious to others be they north, south or west, irrespective of the benefits that could accrue to Zimbabwe from wide-ranging interaction and collaboration, and to disregard any negatives associated with concentrated focus upon eastern countries.
To a considerable extent, the attitude of the politicians is founded upon massive “chips on their shoulders” because of pre-Independence discrimination and ills inflicted by colonial powers.
They are imbued with the belief that “the sins of the fathers are visited upon their sons, unto the fourth generation”, to such an extent that they deliberately ignore the other Biblical injunctions “to turn the other cheek”, and to “forgive and pardon”. They also ignore the fact that although there can be no justification for the racial discrimination that prevailed during much of the colonial era, there were also many benefits to the country during that era, including the identification and conversion to productive usage of innumerable natural resources, benefiting not only the colonialists but some of the populace.
The colonial era brought to the country educational and health services, technology transfer, employment creation, and much else which did not exist prior to the colonial era. That this was so does not condone the discriminatory practices that then prevailed, which deserved severe condemnation but nevertheless there were some compensatory benefits.
Whilst the Look East policies of the post-Independence regime has yielded some loan financing and limited investment (including a marginally effective cement factory, some brickfields, a few gold mines and innumerable small trading outlets), the benefits to Zimbabwe have been relatively minimal. Those policies have not significantly addressed the massive unemployment prevailing in Zimbabwe, and the concomitant wide-ranging poverty. They have not minimised the magnitude of the national debt, and not had any major impact upon Zimbabwe’s continuing adverse trade balance. Nor have they materially aided the elimination of Zimbabwe’s many other economic ailments.
The harsh reality is that, in order to have a virile, nationally supportive and constructive, economy, Zimbabwe cannot “go it alone”, and likewise cannot achieve it by constraining its international economic associations to a few selected Far East countries. Zimbabwe desperately needs extensive investment into almost all economic sectors, most of which have very considerable potential in the medium and long term.
It needs not only capital resources but also technology transfer; enhanced access to international markets, substantive value-addition to its plethora of primary products; revitalisation of its utility resources and the supply thereof, and very considerable employment creation. These are not sufficiently forthcoming from Zimbabwe’s Far East friends, and Zimbabwe needs to look for them more widely. But that it cannot do if it never-endingly criticises, admonishes and insults the countries from which these economic benefits could emanate.
Numerous first world countries’ investors would very readily invest in Zimbabwe’s economy if a conducive investment environment existed, and if that conduciveness included assured investment security, but such environment does not presently exist. Many would invest if they were accorded a friendly and collaborative reception, instead of being faced with an atmosphere of resentment and apparent hatred for their countries.
The reality is that first world, Western countries cannot favour a country which only pretends to pursue the fundamental principles of democracy, the observance and maintenance of law and order, protection and preservation of property rights, and respects the rights and equality of all, irrespective of race or origin. And most of these attributes are very evidently absent from any of the policies and statements of many of Zimbabwe’s leading politicians and rulers.
Instead, those politicians and rulers continuously censure and chide Zimbabwe’s would-be friends, centring most of their vociferous hatred upon what is referred to as “illegal international sanctions”, and contending that those sanctions are the sole cause of the Zimbabwean economic morass. They found the allegation of “illegality” upon the fact that the sanctions were not initiated by the United Nations, whereas the reality is that any country is entitled to determine which countries it will interact, provide funding, and trade, and with which countries it will not do so.
The recurrent attacks upon the West for its sanctions disregard that those sanctions are not wielded against the Zimbabwean people and their economy as a whole, but only against specifically identified individuals who abuse democracy and law and order, against government and its state-owned entities, and against enterprises owned by such individuals.
No sanctions are applied against private enterprise, or against a majority of the populace. The only substantive negative economic consequences of the sanctions are that government cannot borrow monies from those applying the sanctions, and that the grossly mismanaged parastatals cannot seek recovery support from the sanction-imposing countries. Concurrently, the existence of the targeted sanctions enables the politicians to deceive the Zimbabwean population that the economic ills are solely a consequence of the sanctions.