DIPLOMACY, some say, is the idea of telling someone to go to hell and they look forward to it.By Paidamoyo Muzulu
Zimbabwe has been used to the idea of being a country that is a pariah State and more specifically for the
last two decades. However, there was a brief moment when everyone, practically everyone, including the European Union and the United States supported the November 2017 coup as a window of opportunity to restart Zimbabwe’s development trajectory by making political and economic reforms.
The international community waited, waiting for the country to cleanse the coup by an election in July 2018.
Many had anticipated the parties in parliament would have allowed the suspension of the election for a period of two or three years and President Emmerson Mnangagwa would, in that period, set up a transitional government that would make/implement the suggested economic and political reforms.
This did not happen. Zanu PF like hounds smelt blood (power) and immediately wanted to consolidate it and
to hell with the reforms.
No one had foreseen the COVID-19 pandemic. A pandemic that has ravaged world economies and changed
social lives. The epidemic has emboldened non-politicians like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa to come to the forefront in turning around the economic and social status of vulnerable groups.
Masiyiwa, whether with prior knowledge or not, this week made a bold statement that the Zimbabwe regime cannot be trusted with resources. It needs to be handheld by an international panel to help it navigate the
economic and political changes that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I don’t want to get into the issues around how and why there are sanctions, everyone knows that I personally had to flee my country, Zimbabwe, because of persecution 20 years ago,” Masiyiwa said in a statement.
“I have not been back since. For the avoidance of doubt; This is not an appeal for the lifting of sanctions.”
He added that the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions should create
humanitarian trusts for each country (Zimbabwe and South Sudan), which are managed by third parties.
In so few words, Masiyiwa told the world the emperor was naked. Masiyiwa is a respected man, His voice carries weight. He is entertained in palaces and courts that many African leaders can only dream of.
Fortuitously, Masiyiwa’s thoughts found resonance with Mnangagwa’s Finance minister Mthuli Ncube who
prostrated before the IMF in a letter that will become a must read for students of national and international
Ncube wrote: “The government is proposing to have a holistic effort, which is well coordinated and monitored by the IMF, WBG and AfDB to ensure consistency in the financial support, near-term macro-economic stabilisation and long-term sustainable private sector-led growth, and allow us to build a rack record towards macro-stabilisation and potential debt relief.”
Ncube surrendered the country’s sovereignty. He accepted to have the Brettonwoods institutions coordinate
and monitor the Zimbabwe reform process. Furthermore, he promised to neuter the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
in all quasi-fiscal activities, eliminate all the central bank’s direct lending schemes and limiting the fiscal costs
of financing agriculture and ensuring transparency and resolving all the related governance issues, among other
It is curious that Ncube and by proxy Mnangagwa can agree to be emasculated, handheld and give free
rein to capital in their search for “long-term sustainable private sectorled growth”. It is surprising because all
other central banks worth their salt the world over at the moment are involved in quasi-fiscal activities to rescue their economies albeit under the term – quantitative easing.
Masiyiwa has not only painted the picture of the regime as a dwarf in giant robes, but an emperor lacking capacity hence the need to appoint a regent (multinational panel) to oversee Zimbabwe’s management. This is a slap on democracy, that the citizens lives will depend on men and women who are not accountable to Zimbabweans through any structure.
The communications mogul, Masiyiwa, has further showed that the government is incompetent and cannot
lead the economic revival from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Econet has taken the initiative, it asked all its suppliers to cut their prices by 20%, yes – a fifth, if they still
want to trade with them. A 20% discount is something massive during the recovery phase and a significant saving for a player of Econet’s standing.
“It is in this context that we request that all our suppliers of goods and services to Econet Wireless Zimbabwe
bear with us by reducing their prices to Econet by at least 20% with effect from May 1, 2020,” the company wrote
How long can not only a humiliated but also exposed emperor trudge along? Can he still claim to be wearing silk robes when in actual effect he is nude? If there is a shred of pride and honour, the emperor has to exit the stage. Adios.