Zimbabwe and it's internal interference

marksimonbrown mark at tlio.org.uk
Sun Apr 20 17:46:47 BST 2008

This is a response to Alf Mendes last post (copied below), with reference to the article he referred to by Connie White, entitled "Sanctions on Zimbabwe: Africa under attack", written in 2003.

Mugabe has been a callous, opportunistic and tyrannical dictator, who
is one of the last in line of a whole list of military-backed leaders
who assumed power through the wave of independence struggle throughout
Afica from 1960s through to the early 1980s, some of whom were
effectively toadies to western financial capital. When he had the
population's genuine support, he was quite happy to be party to the
neocolonial swindle under the supervision of the IMF and World Bank
for the benefit of global financial and multinational interests
(Mugabe made a State Visit to the UK in May 1994, which coincided with
a CBI sponsored conference on investment in Zimbabwe). However, in
1998 when the UK government started to exert a mandate of transparancy
in the disposal of grant money in relation the distribution of funds
for the land redistribution programme, in fear of the ending of
financial appropriation of this money by Zanu PF's political elite,
Mugabe then exploited the political capital out of resisting this
arrangement when his own domestic mandate was under threat.

Mugabe corrupted the land reform process by rushing it through,
appropriating major concentrations of land to his own supporters
(mainly Shona), while carrying out brutal supression of political
opponents, abandoning the rule of law and free press, and corrupting
the election counts and voting procedures of the 2002 presidential
elections. In 2003, a particularly severe drought meant that thousands
of people died from famine; however, Mugabe's blockading of food aid
convoys to regions non-supportive of the regime was effectively akin
to a Stalinist extermination policy.

Connie White said: "In every class society, without exception, the
most powerful and dominant economic class determines the political
course of its government.  Classes rule."

The trouble with Mugabe's government is that Zanu PF represents a
ethnic sub-class of the black bourgeious - the Shona. Connie White's
article makes several misleading and huge generalisations, such as
saying that "Western donors -- including the World Bank and the IMF –
have cut aid to the Zimbabwean government until that government puts a
halt to land seizures by landless peasants". Firstly, to say land has
 been redistributed to the landless is a vague statement steeped in
the self-proclimation of Mugabe's propaganda machine. In actuality,
land has disproportionately been allocated to Zanu PF members, Shona
and the war veterans. The IMF and World Bank's role is the
impoverishment of the Zimbabwean people cited by White is
overemphasised, but it is true that because of the external debt of $5
billion, Zimbabwe came under severe pressure from the IMF to implement
the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (the EASP encouraged
export-led large-scale agricultural enterprise to the almost complete
exclusion of small scale or communal farming – a focus that almost
exclusively benefited the many white farmers still in business in the
country). White is incorrect to say that The World Bank and IMF halted
aid until Zimbabwe puts a halt to land seizures. In actual fact, it
was following the announcement of extraordinary compensation for the
`war veterans', amounting to some 3% of GDP, that disbursement of new
IMF funds was put on hold. The Government of Zimbabwe agreed a Standby
Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in both June 1998 and August 1999, but
on both occasions failed to meet agreed targets, resulting in a halt
to disbursements.

For the first 20 years of independence, the Zanu PF government
dithered on the issue of a comprehensive land reform and the pace of
land redistribution was slow and land which was brought forward for
redistribution was invaribly of marginal productivity (Munjoma). The
post-colonial policy of the UK bears some responsibility for this.
Britain was anxious that large-scale land reform did not take place at
independence, and the constitution of Zimbabwe, inaugurated at the
Lancaster House agreements in 1979, stipulated that deep-seated land
reform should be delayed for 10 years. This was partly through a fear
of widespread instability should a massive land reform programme take
place, a desire to protect the white farm sector in the country, and
an insistence that land reform should follow commercial rules. The
Lancaster House Agreement insisted on a "willing buyer, willing
seller" policy, designed to ensure white farmers received adequate
compensation for land sales – (a policy not formally overturned until
Mugabe introduced a new Land Acquisition Act in 2000).

Grant money forthcoming from Britain (plus other donors) to foot the
compensation bill for this land redistribution programme since 1981
expired in 1996 (since independence, the UK has provided £44 million
for land reform; and £500 million in bilateral support for development
in Zimbabwe). The terms for this assistance were re-assessed to
redress Zimbabwe's poor record on poverty alleviation and lack of
transparency. This reassessment led to the Land Conference, held in
Harare in September 1998, where Zimbabwe agreed a set of principles to
be carried out to ensure the continuation of this financial
assistance. These principles included a commitment to poverty
reduction and transparency in the selection of settlers by the
Zimbabwean government. But the Zimbabwean Government failed to
implement these principles.

As a result, Mugabe and ZANU-PF ruthlessly manipulated the central
issue of land reform in order to entrench and maintain their own
power. Pressure into making this change came from the war veterans who
were increasingly getting impatient with Mugabe and Zanu PF to deliver
land redistribution for their largely Shona ethnic constituency. The
emergence of the MDC seriously challenging ZANU's hold on power was a
major threat to Zanu PF, it's black bourgeois, largely Shona elite,
Shona constituency and Zanu PF's knife-wielding powerbase - the war
veterans. Kate Prendergast: "During the parliamentary elections in
2000, repressive state violence and overt poll rigging was perpetrated
in order to ensure a Mugabe victory. Mugabe put a revised constitution
to a referendum – and lost. From that moment on, ZANU-PF could no
longer claim any political legitimacy as the ruling party, leaving
Mugabe to hone the policy he has continued until today: the
politicisation of land reform and a crack down on all legal opposition
to ZANU rule."

Mark.Brown - The Land is Ours UK landrights campaign 

Taken from Corporate-Watch Newsletter (Issue 14 July-August 2003)
Ref: http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/newsletter/issue14/part5.htm

- "Zimbabwe Foreign Office - Country Profile", by the Network for
Education and Academic Rights

- "This Land of Africa", by Thomas Munjoma, University of Aberdeen, 2000

Alfred John Mendes
"alfred john Mendes" <sednemaj20 at yahoo.co.uk>
(Alf's email address (above) was annoyingly stripped out by Yahoo and replaced with Tony's)

Our eyes and ears are currently assailed daily by our
media’s coverage of the Zimbabwe debacle - but they
are ignoring one crucially pertinent aspect of the
subject matter - namely, the well-documemted fact that
America, with its suborned EU and British allies
(including the latter’s Commonwealth of Nations), have
for some time now been imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe,
resulting in the serious destabilisation of the
latter’s economy. All with not-a-little-help from the
World Bank, the IMF, and the Millenium Challenge
Account/Corporation (which was set up by Bush’s
Administration in 2002). I strongly recommend you
read Nathaniel Turner’s rational explanation of the
matter at
(if you have not already read it!)...Alf

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