|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
So was Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, successful on his recent foreign tour to the United States, Britain and South Africa or did he fail ? The state media have pronounced his mission a success and claimed that this new economics “guru” has brought in millions in forex and effectively saved the nation from bankruptcy. But then they would anyway and who among Zimbabwe’s adult, thinking population believes for one moment the propaganda spewed out daily by the Herald, the Chronicle, or the dead BC ? Let us rather consider the facts.
In Washington Gono met with IMF officials in an attempt to persuade that august body not to expel the rogue state he represents and indeed to restore the balance-of-payments support suspended five years ago. Did he succeed ? Well the best that can be said of his efforts is that “the jury is still out”. In practice however it is difficult to see how he can possibly succeed given that Zimbabwe is seriously in default in its international debt-repayment obligations, that the economy is in free fall and that the crucial political decisions for the country are still made by a ruling elite which believes it is fighting a bush war rather than managing a modern economy. Before his arrival in America Gono had already claimed, in a speech read on his behalf by Herbert Nkala at the launch of the “Homelink” campaign, that “the future of the Zimbabwean economy looks bright”. But Zimbabweans now living in the US are not likely to be duped by such a propaganda offensive. Like most products of the capitalist society they tend to be very realistic when it comes to deciding where, and how, to invest their hard-earned dollars.
From Washington Gono flew on to London to join his team who were engaged in a hard-sell of the Homelink plan – encouraging the millions of Zimbabweans of the diaspora who are supporting destitute relatives at home to remit their forex through official channels rather than along the parallel market. This would have the obvious benefit, from Gono’s perspective, of augmenting the exchequer’s very slim forex reserves. In passing it is surely a curious anomaly that Gono was even permitted to enter the UK. One might well ask how, as the most significant maker of Zimbabwe’s financial policies, this man’s name came to be omitted from the list of 98 other key ZANU PF officials barred from entering the EU. Indeed a leading economist in Zimbabwe quipped: “I wonder what Kichener would have done if Smuts or Reitz sent their financial counter-parts to England to raise money for the Boers in 1900 ? A closer, more fitting scenario would be the thought of Hitler’s personal financial adviser nipping off to London in 1940 to raise cash for the Nazis – what would have been the reaction from Churchill and the British people ?” The EU sanctions list is obviously in need of urgent review.
This aside however Gideon Gono hardly had a ball of a time in the UK. He was greeted by angry crowds of Zimbabweans as he made his way around several British cities. At his first stop at Zimbabwe House in London he was confronted by protestors who accused him of trying to raise money to prop up Mugabe’s “collapsing regime”. The publicity officer for his team, Supa Mandiwanzira, had his camera seized by protestors. The camera was only recovered after police intervention (leaving one to wonder what kind of photos this servile servant of the Mugabe regime was able to show his masters in Harare upon his return)
The same scenario greeted Gono’s team at each stop along the way. In Luton scores of protestors disrupted a meeting even before Gono’s arrival. In Birmingham 300 Zimbabweans greeted the traveling road show with jeers and placards. Again and again Gono was asked about human rights abuses’ and repression in Zimbabwe. Again and again he refused to even attempt to answer these questions.
From London it was back to Africa for Gono and his team, with a final stopover in South Africa. An estimated two million Zimbabweans have fled Zimbabwe to take up (in most cases, illegal) residence south of the Limpopo. The vast majority are destitute yet still prefer such a precarious existence to the tyranny back home. A few of course have prospered, and it was in an attempt to get his hands on a share of their hard-earned rands that Gono made his way to a public meeting at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. Was he welcomed by the assembled crowd and assured of their full co-operation in remitting their rands to prop up the bankrupt regime in Harare ? Hardly. In fact he didn’t get the chance to get started on his sales talk because as he began speaking MDC supporters, many of them wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Mugabe must go”, stormed the stage. The protestors were waving placards and shouting “Go home, go home !” The rowdy crowd pelted the stage with Homelink caps and T-shirts. The half dozen police officers present had to call in reinforcements, and Gono and Zimbabwe’s high commissioner to South Africa, S.K. Moyo, were escorted away to the sound of jeers.
Three cheers then for Gideon Gono’s efforts – or should we say rather “jeers all the way” ?