When the European Union and its big brother, the US, imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, the central object as the then US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker put it, was to make the economy scream so as to separate Zimbabweans from Zanu PF.
The sanctions were a means to an end. Indeed, the economy has been screaming, but remained resilient. The sanctions only achieved the first part of the objective — to make the economy scream, but miscarried dismally on the second part of alienating Zanu PF from the people.
Noting that the sanctions have been falling through, the EU has been easing some of them against Zimbabwean firms and citizens. If the Zimbabwean economy was not as robust as it was when the embargoes were imposed — thanks to the God given endowments — it would have absolutely collapsed.
Right is might, as such, some countries in the eastern part of the globe realised this and resolved to bailout Zimbabwe. Domestically, some compatriots have been working diligently to make the national vision a success. Indeed, their collective efforts were not in vain as the economy has been showing signs of life.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) almost doubled (from 3,1 percent to 6 percent) its forecast on Zimbabwe’s economic growth citing bumper harvest. The World Bank also projected that Zimbabwe’s economy was expected to grow faster than its neighbours, rising from 3.9 percent in 2021 to 5.1 percent in 2022. On account of its haughtiness, the West, particularly the US, cannot easily concede failure.
The sprouting green leaves on the economy have riled the West, forcing them to devise other means of suffocating the key pillars that are enabling the economic regeneration. This explains why there have been efforts to revisit the definition of conflict diamonds, demonisation of Chinese investors in the country, imposition of sanctions on, and media onslaught of the local business magnate, Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
Attempts to redefine conflict diamond
Last month, from June 21 to 25, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), held a virtual intercessional meeting where the issue of revising the definition of conflict diamonds took centre stage.
The current definition of conflict diamonds, which entails the precious stones being used by rebels to fund their wars against legitimate governments, is no longer fit for the purpose. The West is the chief sponsor of the rebels in most of the developing countries. Seeing that diamond is one such mineral that is buoying up Zimbabwe’s economy, the West wants to cripple its trading by incorporating issues of human rights, poor working conditions, and environmental degradation, among others. Already, Zimbabwe is on the list of countries unjustifiably accused of human rights violation.
The redefinition of conflict diamonds is also designed to curtail Chinese and Russian investment in diamonds in Africa. For example, Russian diamond miner, Alrosa has interests in Zimbabwe, Angola and a few other African countries which are already listed as human rights abusers. Other diamond producing countries that are listed as human rights abusers are Central Africa Republic, Tanzania, Lesotho and Brazil. Oddly, countries such as Botswana where the West’s interests are being advanced through De Beers, are not on the list.
There is also a plot by the West to influence the market not to buy natural diamonds from countries such as Zimbabwe even if they have KPCS certificate. Already, they are influencing certain diamond buyers to purchase synthetic diamonds made in laboratories. All this is meant to cripple natural diamonds trading in countries such as Zimbabwe.
Demonisation of Chinese investors
After the West imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, the country adopted the ‘Look East Policy’ that culminated in China being Zimbabwe’s fourth largest trading partner. The Asian giant is the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco, cotton and minerals. The Zimbabwe-China trade runs into billions of United States dollars and is now the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).China has been playing a pivotal role in the construction of infrastructure in Zimbabwe.
The Chinese government has offered loans, grants, concessions, and preferential loans to Zimbabwe, with no strings attached as is the norm with some from the West. Politically, the Chinese, along with the Russians have fought in Zimbabwe’s corner during the sanctions epoch. The pinnacle of China-Zimbabwe political relations was the former’s use of its veto to axe the 2008 United Nations Security Council resolution that sought to apply additional sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic got plaudits from various organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The outstanding response is attributed to the Zim-China’s all weather relationship.
China donated and sold to Zimbabwe vaccines that have very high efficacy. As a result, the impact of the pandemic politically, socially and economically is not as catastrophic as the prophets of doom in the West had projected.
With these interventions from China and other friendly countries, the economy of Zimbabwe is growing instead of screaming.
The West is, therefore, having sleepless nights contriving stratagems to undermine the Sino-Zim relations. Propaganda is awash in the media casting Chinese investors in Zimbabwe as labour rights abusers.
The West has appendages that carry out such a hatchet job and prime examples are the media, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) and the opposition.
Chinese investment in Zimbabwe has been portrayed as a new form of colonisation. The Assistant Editor of CAPX, Olivia Archdeacon, wrote an article which she headlined “China buys its first colony for a meagre $40m.”
This was in reference to Zimbabwe which she went on to say was entering its second century of colonial rule. In another article, she wrote that “Zimbabwe is now entirely in the hands of the Chinese.”
Recently, the media and the ZCTU were on overdrive accusing a Chinese tile company, SunnyYi Feng, of forcing its employees to endure “slave-like working conditions.”
They accused SunnyYi Feng and other Chinese investors of underpaying workers and forcing them to stay in overcrowded accommodation where they are exposed to dangerous chemicals. ZCTU and its media allies also made a strange accusation that some workers even died at the factory and their deaths were concealed by the Chinese. These entire smear campaigns are meant to undermine Zim-China relations, which have stimulated Zimbabwe’s economic resurrection.
The plot is to cripple the powers behind the resurrection. In response to the smear campaign, the Chinese Embassy in Harare aptly noted that “all these accusations ultimately target China-Zimbabwe’s cooperation and China’s foreign policy towards Zimbabwe. Obviously, this is an organised and systematic smear campaign against China.”
It is quite inspiring that the Chinese have seen through the hidden agenda up the sleeves of the West and its appendages. The embassy declared that the friendship, characterised by symbiosis, would not be affected by slander or vilification by any force.
The mission also guaranteed that the move to undermine the good relations between Zimbabwe and China would make them more assured and inspired to develop weighty bond and rewarding cooperation.
The Sentry Report
The West also targets individuals who play key roles in the economic rejuvenation agenda of Zimbabwe.
The much hyped Sentry Report, which of course was full of hot air, was designed to slander one of such patriots and lobby for more sanctions to be imposed on him.
The West profligately sponsored the production of a 38-page document that was designed to systematically smear Zimbabwean businessman, Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei, who is already on the US sanctions list. The businessman was slapped with sanctions for alleged public corruption and abetting same, a vice that they said stunted Zimbabwe’s economic growth.
Under the sanctions, the US was to freeze any assets that Mr Tagwirei purportedly has in that country. Moreover, any US transaction with him was banned.
However, the US has hitherto failed to validate their corruption claim. One doesn’t need to be too clever to see the actual reasons behind the punishment of Mr Tagwirei.
The sanctions are definitely not for the greater good of Zimbabwe. They are not sincere. Although corruption stunts economic growth of any country, the sanctions have done so in Zimbabwe to a greater extent. If they were genuine, the removal of sanctions in their entirety should be the first step. Mr Tagwirei’s company, Sakunda Holdings, has been the principal financier of the successful Command Agriculture programme.
The West was riled by the successes that the Command Agriculture programme was scoring. Even the recent economic projections by IMF and other organisations were anchored on the success of agriculture.
Faced with this reality, the West resolved to go for the brains behind the flourishing agricultural programme. The Sentry Report, which is currently being hyped on social media by the Western foot soldiers, fails to substantiate the claims of corrupt business dealing by Mr Tagwirei.
He is just being unfairly punished for his links with the Government that the West wants to remove through making the economy scream and subsequently whip public emotions.
The majority of Zimbabweans who are endowed with wisdom will not be hoodwinked into disliking a person who is helping in the rebuilding of their economy. They are not lost to the number of people in his employment.
The smear campaign attempt will be in vain. Zimbabwe’s association and cooperation with countries, corporates and individuals who are helping in the rebuilding of the economy will not be compromised by defamation by any individual or force.
The move to undermine the good relations will make the parties more confident and motivated to develop profound bonds and fruitful cooperation.
Zimbabwe will continue to resist the redefinition of blood diamonds. It will continue to have fruitful friendships with China, Russia and Mr Tagwirei, or any other person or country for that matter wishing the country well.