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Sanctions: Both sides must bite the bullet

THERE‌ ‌have‌ ‌been‌ ‌shocking‌ ‌levels‌ ‌of‌ ‌wealth‌ ‌accumulation‌ ‌by‌ ‌Zimbabwe’s‌ ‌elite‌ ‌since‌ ‌Western‌ ‌powers‌ ‌slapped‌ ‌Harare‌ ‌with‌ ‌harsh‌ ‌embargoes‌ ‌from‌ ‌2000‌ ‌to‌ ‌punish‌ ‌those‌ ‌in‌ ‌power‌ ‌for‌ ‌alleged‌ ‌transgressions.‌ ‌

Real‌ ‌estate‌ ‌gems‌ ‌and‌ ‌caricatures‌ ‌of‌ ‌embassies‌ ‌linked‌ ‌to‌ ‌Harare’s‌ ‌super‌ ‌rich‌ ‌have‌ ‌sprouted‌ ‌in‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌Africa’s‌ ‌richest‌ ‌and‌ ‌most‌ expensive‌ ‌shoreline‌ ‌neighbourhoods.‌ ‌

An‌ ‌army‌ ‌of‌ ‌corrupt‌ ‌wealth‌ ‌hunters,‌ ‌including‌ ‌those‌ ‌occupying‌ ‌top‌ ‌chairs‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌upper‌ ‌echelons‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌military,‌ ‌police‌ ‌and‌ ‌secret‌ ‌service‌ ‌has‌ ‌emerged‌ ‌to‌ ‌control‌ ‌swathes‌ ‌of‌ ‌prime‌ ‌farmlands,‌ ‌richest‌ ‌gold,‌ ‌platinum,‌ ‌chrome‌ ‌and‌ ‌diamond‌ ‌fields‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌lucrative‌ ‌state‌ ‌tenders‌ ‌that‌ ‌pour‌ ‌billions‌ ‌into‌ ‌their‌ ‌bank‌ ‌accounts.‌ ‌

One‌ ‌thing‌ ‌to‌ ‌note‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌obscene‌ ‌accumulation‌ ‌of‌ ‌questionable‌ ‌riches‌ ‌makes‌ ‌a‌ ‌mockery‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌United‌ ‌States‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌European‌ ‌Union‌ ‌(EU)‌ ‌claims‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌devastations‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌embargoes‌ ‌have‌ ‌only‌ ‌punished‌ ‌those‌ ‌salting‌ ‌away‌ ‌Zimbabwe’s‌ ‌wealth.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌truth‌ ‌is‌ ‌plunderers‌ ‌have‌ ‌gained‌ ‌more‌ ‌financial‌ ‌and‌ ‌political‌ ‌power‌ ‌during‌ ‌this‌ ‌period.‌ ‌

They‌ ‌fly‌ ‌out‌ ‌to‌ ‌Singapore,‌ ‌China,‌ ‌Malaysia,‌ ‌India‌ ‌and‌ ‌other‌ ‌countries‌ ‌to‌ ‌access‌ ‌the‌ ‌finest‌ ‌medical‌ ‌care.‌ ‌Their‌ ‌children‌ ‌have‌ ‌earned‌ ‌degrees‌ ‌at‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌world’s‌ ‌best‌ ‌universities,‌ ‌returning‌ ‌home‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌charge‌ ‌of‌ ‌companies‌ ‌to‌ ‌perpetuate‌ ‌their‌ ‌dominance‌ ‌over‌ ‌those‌ ‌unfortunate‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌born‌ ‌outside‌ ‌the‌ ‌centre‌ ‌sphere‌ ‌of‌ ‌political‌ ‌might.‌ ‌ ‌

In contrast, the majority that the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, and EU sanctions seek to protect from plunder, alleged human rights abuses, electoral fraud and corruption have taken the worst pain out of the West’s strong-hand tactics against kleptocracy in Zimbabwe.

By‌ ‌the‌ ‌government’s‌ ‌2013‌ ‌estimation,‌ ‌US$42‌ ‌billion‌ ‌in‌ ‌potential‌ ‌economic‌ ‌opportunities‌ ‌were‌ ‌lost‌ ‌between‌ ‌2001‌ ‌and‌ ‌2013‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌sanctions.‌ ‌Other‌ ‌estimates‌ ‌placed‌ ‌the‌ ‌figure‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌staggering‌ ‌US$96‌ ‌billion,‌ ‌which‌ ‌represents‌ ‌a‌ ‌near‌ ‌calamity‌ ‌given‌ ‌the‌ ‌size‌ ‌of‌ ‌Zimbabwe’s‌ ‌economy.‌ ‌Annual‌ ‌inflation‌ ‌rocketed‌ ‌to‌ ‌500‌ ‌billion‌ ‌percent‌ ‌in‌ ‌2008,‌ ‌throwing‌ ‌thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌companies‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌graveyard‌ ‌–‌ ‌4‌ ‌561‌ ‌of‌ ‌them‌ ‌between‌ ‌2011‌ ‌and‌ ‌2013.‌ ‌

An‌ ‌estimated‌ ‌55‌ ‌000‌ ‌workers‌ ‌lost‌ ‌their‌ ‌sources‌ ‌of‌ ‌income‌ ‌within‌ ‌those‌ ‌two‌ ‌years,‌ ‌while‌ ‌over‌ ‌US$2‌ ‌billion‌ ‌was‌ ‌wiped‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌industries‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌16‌ ‌years‌ ‌to‌ ‌2017,‌ ‌as‌ ‌300‌ ‌000‌ ‌farm‌ ‌workers‌ ‌slipped‌ ‌into‌ ‌destitution‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌weight‌ ‌of‌ ‌aggravated‌ ‌capital‌ ‌flight‌ ‌after‌ ‌Zanu‌ ‌PF‌ led‌ ‌its‌ ‌violent‌ ‌takeover‌ ‌of‌ ‌strategic‌ ‌farms,‌ ‌including‌ ‌some‌ ‌under‌ ‌Bilateral‌ ‌Investment‌ ‌Promotion‌ ‌and‌ ‌Protection‌ ‌Agreements.‌ ‌

This‌ ‌is‌ ‌only‌ ‌a‌ ‌snapshot‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌dire‌ ‌consequences‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌diplomatic‌ ‌tiff.‌ ‌ ‌But‌ ‌clearly,‌ ‌the‌ ‌West‌ ‌has‌ ‌played‌ ‌a‌ ‌huge‌ ‌part‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌mass‌ ‌scale‌ ‌suffering‌ ‌and‌ ‌recent‌ ‌heavy‌ ‌battering‌ ‌of‌ ‌Zimbabwe’s‌ ‌currency,‌ ‌plummeting‌ ‌industrial‌ ‌output,‌ ‌high‌ ‌mortality‌ ‌rates‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌fleeing‌ ‌of‌ ‌millions‌ ‌of‌ ‌Harare’s‌ ‌citizens‌ ‌to‌ ‌other‌ ‌countries.‌ ‌

The two sides must engage‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌out‌ ‌each‌ ‌other’s‌ ‌point‌ ‌of‌ ‌view.‌ ‌Zanu‌ ‌PF‌ ‌must‌ ‌admit‌ ‌its‌ ‌transgressions‌ ‌and‌ ‌make‌ ‌concrete‌ ‌undertakings‌ ‌to‌ ‌reform.‌ ‌Corruption‌ ‌must‌ ‌end.‌ ‌Western‌ ‌powers‌ ‌must‌ ‌do‌ ‌likewise.‌ ‌Otherwise‌ ‌an‌ ‌entire‌ ‌generation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Zimbabweans‌ ‌will‌ ‌impoverished.‌ ‌ ‌

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