Sanctions don’t create potholes, US envoy

via Sanctions don’t create potholes, US envoy NewZimbabwe 13/02/2014 by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S economic and political problems are self-made and a shift in policy could assist in developing a new trajectory for the country, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton said Thursday.

“My fundamental point in all of this is that Zimbabwe has the right and the power to make policy decisions.

“Some of these have had significant demonstrable effects on the economy, effects far greater than the targeted sanctions,” Wharton told a Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES) meeting in Harare.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party insist sanctions imposed by the US and European countries are responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic problems.

The sanctions were imposed over allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud which the Zanu PF strongman denies.

But President Barack Obama’s top man in Harare said blaming sanctions for Zimbabwe’s problems was a diversionary tactic by Mugabe’s administration.

“The US takes great care to minimise any unintended consequences from targeted sanctions and I can tell you that my embassy works hard to try to resolve any that may arise. But, blaming targeted sanctions for Zimbabwe’s serious economic challenges or for issues such as potholes and road accidents is diversionary,” he said.

“Worse, such statements do not acknowledge Zimbabwe’s agency, its ability to address its challenges and to mobilize its magnificent natural resources and human capital.

“Zimbabwe is tremendously blessed in human and natural resources, and the narrative that targeted sanctions are the reason for economic woes undermines and obscures this nation’s vast capabilities.”

The US is willing to work with the Zanu PF government.

“We are also willing to work with members of the Zanu PF government that are willing to work with us,” Wharton added.

“As a Zanu PF-supporting friend of mine said … yes, I do have those … the burden of diplomacy is to keep seeking engagement until all conflict is ended. I agree with that and I am willing. The US government is willing”.

Wharton said decisions including the unbudgeted 1997 cash-pay-outs given to war veterans and the economic turnaround witnessed between 2008 and 2010 provide insight into the positive and negative effects of critical policy decisions by government.

“There were no sanctions in 1997 and they had not been varied in 2008. Zimbabwe’s sovereign policy decisions are the primary drivers of its economic performance,” he insisted.

“Zimbabwe’s economy has been through dramatic ups and downs in the last 15 years. You all know that better than I do. But the idea that targeted U.S. sanctions have caused Zimbabwe’s economic woes simply does not hold up to critical analysis, the evidence is clear,” he said

“Now, this fact ought to be encouraging to Zimbabweans because it means that Zimbabwe need not wait until real or imagined external forces create the conditions needed for economic growth.

“Zimbabwe’s economy is in the hands of Zimbabweans. While businesses, labour unions, trade associations, courts and schools all have important roles, economic destiny starts with decisions made by the government of Zimbabwe.”

Mugabe had hoped that his victory in last year’s violence-free elections would lead to the immediate removal of the sanctions but the EU and the US have backed claims by the opposition that the vote was fraudulent, infuriating the Zanu PF leader.

However, the EU has indicated it will lift its remaining sanctions next week, although not on Mugabe and his wife Grace.
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27 comments on “Sanctions don’t create potholes, US envoy
  1. “Now, this fact ought to be encouraging to Zimbabweans because it means that Zimbabwe need not wait until real or imagined external forces create the conditions needed for economic growth.” said the ambassador. Mr ambassador how will this happen? Do you think these people will return all they have stolen? I am sorry to say the western world is out of touch with the situation in Zimbabwe. These clowns (Zanu pf) have caused this. Short of a free and fair election supervised by the UN this will just be a farce (working with unelected people)

  2. John Thomas says:

    He’s trying to insert a wedge. Hope it works, but likely it won’t.

  3. We need more more tougher stricter sanctions on the zanoid looting criminals. No lifting. It is this evil zanupf that has imposed sanctions on its poor zimbos while engaging in criminal acts. The obscene stolen money being spent on two oxygen wasters wedding soon is proof mugarbage zanupf is only all about self enrichment and giving a two up to the suffering masses. This wedding is a cruel evil. Aren’t you ashamed bona? I thought not!!

  4. Nyoni says:

    The Ambassador has made an opinion and is aware of our plight. But being the diplomat he is trying to woo the Zanu on a side. The game of Politics. Unfortunately killer Zanu has cast a spell on them all so they have forgotten that we are the victims of Zanus incompetence and not the other way.

  5. LUCY says:

    Takambonzi its ESSAP

    Zvikazonzi it’s the West

    Zvikanzi ndi Tsvangirai

    Iyezvino hanzi ma sanctions

    Its never the fault of greedy vulture in ZPF

    • Chana Chatete says:

      It’s sad isnt it? Kudai vana baba mudzimba vakangogara kutadza kushandisa maoko nezvevanazvo vachingo pomera chero kuti hatina cheku bata nekuti ndingi wakazoti….makurakura/mahumbwe chaiwo.

  6. I like it when he says he has friends in Zanupf. This is very true. That is why we have no solution. Some Zanupf wine and dine with the West and then go back to sit next to Mugabe and say Gushungo Gushungo while they loot whatever is left. And the US are not happy if that loot does not go to them so they falsely clamour “restrictions restrictions”

  7. Mixed Race says:

    The Ambassader is 100% right because I lived under real sanctions during the Mr Smith era but our roads both in towns and highways were well maintained with street lights working.They managed to go around these sanctions to purchase huge items like the Boeing 707 planes via other countries.The international community tried to squeeze the country through telecommunications but it had good machinery to go around the problem of accessing international systems.
    This is what I call bursting real sanctions and we have increased to be resourceful not to be too dependent on looting for so-called empowerment.I never stopped complaining about racialism ,sometimes I would naively support majority rule openly hoping for better race mixing but instead those we helped to empower politically have now let us down badly.
    Some of these guys who left to join the war were just criminals who ran away from normal justice system thus why they are now looting again because stealing is in their blood system.You have to act strongly against such people to stop the rotten practice otherwise the whole nation collapses.

  8. Mixed Race says:

    ps-correction ENCOURAGED not increased after bursting sanctions

  9. %$#@! says:

    I agree, even if sanction were lifted tomorrow, Mugabe, his family and his cronies would steal whatever they could…it would make no difference to many Zimbabweans.

  10. I have to disagree with mixed race. The US ambassador makes some points but he is not 100% right. The Economy is not in the hands of Zimbabweans but in the hands of a few corrupt individuals who happen to be Government.

    • Chana Chatete says:

      I think he is saying Zimbabweans as the Zimbabwean Government. It is clear to me. Otherwise no one else to blame but people in Zimbabwe themselves.

      Inini hangu kufunga kwangu blaming will not improve the situation. God gave Zim natural resources and so much more but the few people just mismanaged it. That is not the Wests’ issue or anybody else but ZImbabweans in authority.

  11. Mthwakazi says:

    Its Shona tribalism and gukurahundism that creates potholes!!

    • says:

      This comment doesn’t make sense. It’s misplaced. What you are talking about Mkwananzi has no place in this world. Zimbabwe has gone past this Shona and Ndebele divide. We now have two new tribes namely MDC and ZANU people. You are still living in history my friend

      • Mthwakazi says:

        The past explains the present my friend, if you didn’t know that. Life is not about separately detached epochs. The past feeds the present and the present feeds the future.

        Zimbabwe’s current leadership crisis can be traced back to the Shona tribalism of the 1980s, that was mooted by gukurahundi ZANU PF and swallowed hook line and sinker by MDC-T. This is why the two parties are proving to be no different from each other.

        It can be corruption; it can be directionless leadership; it can be the potholes all over the country; the ruined economy – all this is a result of choosing leader, not on merit but on the basis of Shona tribalism and gukurrahundi mindsets which say:


      • Nkiwane (M'kiwa) says:

        If you seriously believe that the Ndebele people will ever truly support Shona domination in the form of a ZPF or MDC-T dominated government, then, I’m afraid that you are very much mistaken.They will at best, be apathetic toward it and bide their time.

        It is not “the past” for many, many families in Matabeleland.

        • Chana Chatete says:

          I am mixed very well balance in both my Shona and Ndebele roots. Where does this leave me in your argument.

          We will win as one people. Otherwise we will have another hurdle to overcome. Divided we will fall. I prefer we only fight ZANU PF and leave all that petty issues aside.

  12. Mixed Race says:

    @Doctor do little-noted thank you.

  13. says:

    The ambassador is being praised here because he has said what most people would like to hear. Still, he hasn’t given the answer to the cause of the pot halls. This ambassador is also out of his line of duty. An American ambassador in Zimbabwe is not a Zimbabwean minister of roads to Zimbabwe. He is supposed to represent American issues and relationships with Zimbabwe by work on hard to see a good working relationship between Zimbabwe and America regardless of who the Zimbabwean leader is. That’s where we see diplomats with mature conflict resolution strategies and unfortunately he doesn’t have those qualities and is not suitable to be an ambassador of a great country like America. How can he talk about pot halls. Where is trade and mining issues plus business. Anyway I forgive him because we all make mistakes. I don’t support ZANU PF and Mugabe but I expect better topics from diplomats.

    • Chana Chatete says:

      If you were the diplomat and you were asked (which has been happening over and over again including a woman stripping naked to prove sanctions were the cause) how would you answer.

      Saying pot holes arent caused by sanctions could be saying all things pro ZANU PF say are caused by sanctions are caused by sanctions.

      What sanctions caused is that ZANU PF’s destinations to squander their loot were limited by sanctions.

      Just a sad situation in our country. May God help us. We just need transformed minds

  14. NBS says:

    We have heard ZPF blame everyone and everything else for 34 years except themselves. A guilty person always tries to find a scape goat. “I am not the one” does not work with God! He demands that we be honest and confess our sins and short comings. The chickens are surely coming home to roost. There is a lesson in all this for each one of us. The country is in a dire and derelict state and the buck stops with the government. End of story!

    • Brian Edwards says:

      Morgan who? Zimbabwe is internationally renowned as a corrupt government with the President, his wife, Ministers and the military particularly disposed to helping themselves to whatever’s there via graft, corruption, grubby deals and extortion. But here, all I read is whinging. As someone famous once famously asked “What is to be done?” (hint, Russia 1917). There is a clear oppositional vacuum in Zim. Is the fear death by “car accident”?

  15. chirasha says:

    mthwakazi what do you mean when you say shona gukurahndi you better stop commenting if you do not have anything to this christian era where all were united by the cross i do not accept such you really have a problem .you are 100% triblistic.your comments are so digusting&irritating

    • Mthwakazi says:

      If one is a Shona gukurahundi, why should I pretend they are not? Even Mthwakazi gukurahundis are gukurahundis as long as they practise gukurahundism – there is no exception!!

      • mucha says:

        You are tribalistic mthwakazi. You forget what Mzlkazi did to the Shona in the 1830s. Shonas should revenge

        • Mthwakazi says:

          You are an asshooole

          I am not King Mzilikazi – I am Mthwakazi.

          In a similar vein, Bona Mugabe or Chatunga Mugabe are NOT Robert Mugabe. Know the difference.

          There were no SHONAS in King Mzilikazi’s time as far as I know.

          There is no historical record of that time that refers to SHONAS – that word never existed and even today, there is no so-called Shona who even knows what that word means.

          • Chana Chatete says:

            I think Mtwakazi works for the ZANU PF. His strategy is clear. What the community can do is to ignore his comments. He is not worthy anyone’s second

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