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The world has lost patience with Zimbabwe’s ‘Crocodile’

The flickering hopes for a new Zimbabwe have now been extinguished.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's president. Image: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

A year ago this week, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa strained credulity when he declared in a Bloomberg TV interview, “We have rejoined the family of nations.” The international community was already losing patience with his inability to deliver economic reforms, and Zimbabweans were complaining of a steady erosion of the political freedoms that had come with the 2017 military-led ouster of the dictator Robert Mugabe.

Indeed, in some respects the new president, who revelled in the nom de guerre “the Crocodile,” was proving worse than his former boss.

The flickering hopes for a new Zimbabwe have now been extinguished. Mnangagwa, cracking down on dissent at home and waving off criticism from abroad, is practically indistinguishable from Mugabe. And the “family of nations” is letting its dissatisfaction be known.

In an unusually blunt joint statement last week, the governments of the US, Britain and five other European nations, said Mnangagwa’s administration was using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to restrict citizens’ freedoms. It was neglecting corruption and failing to prosecute those responsible for human-rights violations. “The Zimbabwean people have the right to engage in dialogue to build a better future for their country,” the statement said. “But the necessary discussions have so far been hindered by unhelpful rhetoric and blame assigned to several groups.”

The statement came days after the arrests of the investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, ahead of planned anti-corruption protests. They were accused of “incitement to participate in public violence.” The US embassy in Harare tweeted that the government was prosecuting Chin’ono and other activists “instead of the culprits” responsible for the corruption.

The Mnangagwa administration has accused US Ambassador Brian Nichols of “casting aspersions on the Zimbabwe government and dabbling in local politics.” It’s a far cry from last fall when the president asserted on Bloomberg TV that relations were the best they’d been in decades.

It isn’t just Western nations that are raising red flags about the deterioration in Zimbabwe. Neighboring South Africa has expressed alarm at reports of human-rights violations. President Cyril Ramaphosa sent special envoys to Harare last month, offering to help Mnangagwa address his challenges. They were told there was nothing to discuss, and that they had no business interfering in Zimbabwean politics.

But even as Mnangagwa tries to keep the world at bay, Zimbabwe’s economy desperately needs an international intervention. Food and fuel scarcities are chronic, and power and water shortages have worsened. Last year’s drought, the worst in a generation, left deep scars. The Zimbabwean dollar, reintroduced last summer after a 10-year hiatus, is in serious trouble. In another echo of the Mugabe era, annual inflation in Zimbabwe accelerated to 837.53% in July.

The Crocodile, meanwhile, has talked up $27 billion in planned investments, in everything from platinum mines, steel mills and hydropower dams to abattoirs. The government has proposed to issue a 30-year bond in international markets to raise $3.5 billion to compensate White farmers evicted from their land by Mugabe two decades ago.

But these are pipe dreams. Foreign investors and lenders are not buying Mnangagwa’s claim that “Zimbabwe is open for business.” The country has defaulted on its loans since 1991, and currently owes nearly $8 billion to financial institutions, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s pleas for debt relief have been rebuffed by multilateral lenders. The Paris Club, which includes several creditor nations and is owed $3.26 billion, said Zimbabwe must first improve its human-rights record and pay outstanding arrears.

Without international support, Zimbabwe’s top treasury official has warned, there is little hope of reviving the economy and containing inflation. But Harare is in such a bad spot that Zimbabwe has even been denied a share of the $50 billion pot that the International Monetary Fund made available to help low-income and emerging economies soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic. Ncube has been able to raise just $200 million from donors and governments.

But Mnangagwa is unwilling to undertake the political reforms necessary to secure assistance from the international community. He has shown little appetite for taking on those who benefit most from the institutionalised corruption of the Mugabe years — including his political allies and the military leadership that helped him secure the presidency. He remains in fear of being toppled, as his predecessor was, in a military coup. His deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, is the former chief of the armed forces.

The Crocodile had been hoping the “family of nations” would fatten the proverbial calf for the returning prodigal. But the family has made its terms clear. Mnangagwa cannot sit at the table before first cleaning his hands.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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Does Eskom owe more money than Zimbabwe? Yes?

ANC, are you listening? Don’t be arrogant and think we’re a self sufficient “island” on the tip of the continent

The global economy has become one, intertwined and without the International Community’s investments we’re stuck

Take heed and start Governing like a decent bunch of politicians should lest our country is headed for disaster, much like our Northern “friends”

But then again we all know “arrogance diminishes wisdom” of which the ANC posses none

It was the “family of nations” that insisted that the Zimbabwe people be allowed to choose their leaders. This they have done for four decades. Their leaders have indulged in ethnic cleansing of white people, the murder of circa 30000 Matabele in the early 1980s, election rigging, dispatched the economy back to the palaeolithic era, made a large fraction of the population into economic refugees, impoverished the middle class, entrenched themselves as a cabal of corrupt tinpot dictators and destroyed the currency (version 2.0 hyperinflation currently in progress).

There was ample evidence that this was exactly what would happen and many warned the “family of nations”. Such a warm and fuzzy term.

Why then the indignation ?

The ‘Crocodile’ is Zanu PF, not just Mnangagwa.

And the same is true in SA.

Restricting the economy of its free market principles, forcing price control on goods and services whilst Goverment neglects it’s primary role of creating law and order results in Economic Destruction and the Regression of Society to the point where village lifestyles of subsidence is not even possible.

Politicians quite literally get on my nerves when they think that they should be in business, when a Goverment gets into business they end up ensuring value destruction of the economy and create uncompetitive businesses who are above the law and get bailed out when officials have looted tax payer and consumer money.

International observers including the UN,USA,RSA and the EU are being selfish and are showing the ignorance by not sending in their military to sort out this humanitarian crisis.

1) Mnangagwa cannot and will not surrender power. For the same reason as Robert didn’t. He, and some others will be tried locally and before the ICC for the atrocities committed during the Gukurahundi. 2) once again the ANC does not cover itself in glory. The 2000 elections have lost fairly and squarely by zanu. But they used military and excessive force to stay in power. Mbeki had the option of not supporting this behaviour and let the democratic process take its course to a new and fair democratic Zimbabwe. But alas. 2004 elections if memory serves, was also lost by zanu and a government of national unity was formed with MDC. We know how that turned out. Again ANC sit by and did nothing. Shameless political behaviour which affects the poorest of the poor the hardest. Zimbabwe became independent when the John Vorster pulled the plug on Ian Smith. Zimbabwe will become truly independent when SA pulls the plug on Zimbabwe. History, once again, have a funny way of repeating itself.

What a sick mess.

Why should anyone send their military to sort out Zim? Nobody really cares about Zim, do they?

South Africa, read about your future should the ANC continue to govern this country.

The people responsible for keeping the ANC in power don’t do a lot of reading.

@Colson: It’s not “…. should the ANC continue ….” but “…. as the ANC continue ….”. If it’s not the ANC in name it will be a variant cut of the same cloth. I do not expect to see any positive change within my lifetime. I’d love to be proven wrong but facts suggest otherwise.

Worst of all is that enough of the Zimbabwean voters still vote for ZANU-PF – just like the voters here.

A total absence of voter education in both Zim and SA.

Anti-capitalism has a face, and that face is Mnangagwa, Hitler, Amin and Pol Pot. Anti-capitalism has results, and those results resemble the Zimbabwean situation. Zimbabwe and Venezuela are prime examples of the anti-capitalist fallacy in action. How can South Africa escape a similar fate when the ruling party is anti-capitalist? An anti-capitalist society, per definition, rejects law and order and embraces plunder and oppression.

Collectivist societies vote for corruption, oppression, poverty and famine, and when it arrives, they flee towards capitalist societies and plead for food aid from their enemy, the capitalist. Capitalists did not conquer the wealthy nations by force. The consequences of collectivism merely drove the collectivist cultures toward extinction while the capitalist cultures survived to take their place. This natural and logical process of “economic/political cleansing” is ongoing in Zimbabwe and has only started in South Africa. Over time, both countries will be ruled by capitalists, simply because no alternative system can sustain population growth. The collectivists will wipe themselves off the face of the earth through ignorance like they are doing in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Ludwig von Mises described it best. “A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society.”

I wonder how long before the “family of nations” will say the same thing of the Frogboiler.

I’m assuming Squirrel is the frog boiler?

A pot full of so called “WMC”

Nicolae Ceausescu was the last “crocodile” communist leader of Romania. His last desperate days in power were marked by an incredible dogmatic approach during which many of his opponents were incarcerated and some murdered. Not surprisingly the people of Romania unceremoniously had him and his dear wife defecated from an army truck into the city square where they were summarily executed by firing squad to the joyous cheers of the gathered crowd. Romania has not looked back since then.

A desperate measure taken by desperate people for sure but one that drove the message home, or did it?

End of comments.

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