Tendai Biti, what a phenomenal climb down on US sanctions

Tendai Biti, what a phenomenal climb down on US sanctions
Published: 25 January 2012 (1243 Views)
Reports that Finance Minister Tendai Biti has lambasted the decision by the United States to slap two Chiadzwa diamond companies with sanctions is admittedly a phenomenal climb down for a political functionary who had rabidly maintained that the punitive measures by the West were nothing but "restrictive measures" targeted at a few individuals in Zanu-PF.

Biti and the rest of officials in the MDC-T have always argued ad nauseaum that the debilitating economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West were not responsible for the economic morass currently saddling our country.

They have mischievously maintained that the punitive measures were only targeted at a few Zanu-PF officials and thus were of no consequence to the populace.

Now the mercurial Minister and his coterie of party officials have experienced their Damascene as they had come face to face with the indiscriminate negative economic effects of the sanctions that are likely to scuttle the Ministry of Finance's budgetary plans.

The Minister had planned to use US$600 million from diamond sales to implement some developmental projects but this could remain a pipe dream as the US Treasury Department has added Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources to its list of companies sanctioned under its Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

The recent ranting and ravings from Biti clearly showed that the minister has been peeved by the US' latest sanctions salvo that squarely landed on his ministerial portfolio. It is an awakening call to him and his ilk that their imperial masters have no magnanimous intentions towards Zimbabwe.

It is now abundantly clear to all and sundry that the heinous sanctions are not targeted but shrewdly designed to strangulate our economy so as to justify the regime change drive.

Once our economy is paralysed, the Westerners have envisaged that the citizens will rise against their government and in the ensuing melee the imperialist will find the opportunity to hand back our economy into the ravenous hands of their pliant imperial tentacles of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

One will have expected that since Biti has seen the light he is likely to abandon his treacherous plans to mortgage our country through the ill advised Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative.

But alas, the minister appears to be patently myopic and determined to foist the new paradigm, which will definitely justify the meddling by the IMF and World Bank into our economic and political spheres.

Like the disempowering Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) of the 1990s, the HIPC is an exploitative IMF and World Bank driven initiative subtly designed to divert government spending from social services to privatised imperial ventures.

Experiences from other countries have shown that the HIPC initiative, set up in 1996 by the rich countries through the IMF and World Bank, will not provide lasting relief from debt for the highly indebted countries.

It is common knowledge that the process is not aimed at rescinding debts but to ensure that they are repaid for the benefit of the Western creditors.

Typical of all imperial programmes, the HIPC initiative is replete with politically emasculating conditions that should be fully satisfied by the participating country if ever it is to qualify for the evasive debt cancellation.

The conditions often undermine social services and poverty reduction efforts by government since they encourage the privatisation of basic services such as healthcare and education thus phenomenally raising their cost beyond the reach of the majority of citizens.

The privatisation of social services and the accompanying structural adjustments will result in retrenchments and severe shortages, which will significantly enhance unemployment and poverty. Interestingly, no country has yet received debt cancellation through the HIPC route.

These negative ramifications clearly show that Western authorities have no intention of cancelling any debt from the heavily indebted countries but are intent on maintaining their economic stranglehold over the poor nations.

They are latently interested in using debt relief as a political tool to buttress their imperial interests. In a cunning way, they are trying to use the deception of debt relief to infiltrate economies of developing countries and subsequently open them up to the whims of the disempowering imperial twins of IMF and World Bank.

In this regard, Biti should know that once a country becomes dependent on these institutions, it is hard if not impossible to salvage itself from their well-calculated debt traps.

In his letter to the US Treasury Secretary, Charles Collyns, Biti expressed his palpable dismay over the Americans dishonesty in previously backing the lifting of the Kimberly Process ban on Marange diamonds only to unilaterally impose sanctions on the same gems. At least the imperial surrogates have learned that the US and its European acolytes cannot be trusted.

Imperialists are inherently dishonest and should never be trusted. It is against this submission that recent reports that Biti had engaged the British Embassy to work out modalities to clear the Zimbabwean debt become mind boggling and illogical.

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The writer is a Harare based social commentator.

- zimpapers

Tags: Biti, Sanctions,
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