Friday, March 30, 2007
SADC Weasel Out Of The Zimbabwe Issue
Southern African Development Community is a regional body consisting of 12 Southern Africa countries formed in 1980, its ultimate goal is monetary and customs union, regional security and economic development. It saved its purpose during apartheid when the South Africa's closest neighbours vowed to reduce member states's dependence on apartheid South Africa to increase its isolation and force over changes. Over the years it has become an ineffectual body, a club of ageing African dictators who hold their own countries at ransom over dubious liberation war credentials. At a time when they were needed not to shirk on their responsibilities they ducked out of the very essential issue Zimbabwe's deteriorating state of affairs which is dragging the whole region down.
They met for an extra ordinary summit to discuss worsening political and economic situations in Zimbabwe and renewed violence in Congo. They have again failed the people of Zimbabwe by getting behind the despotic dictator who has single handedly destroyed Zimbabwe. They swallowed hole the lies and conspiracy theories that Mugabe cooked up for them. They were told that Zimbabwe's economic decline was due to sanctions, the same bared faced lie that Mugabe churns through his propaganda machinery to fellow Zimbabweans at home.
There are no sanctions against Zimbabwe, as a matter of fact right now Zimbabwe has a positive trade relationship with the United States and United Kingdom alike. Zimbabwe's trade with United States is worth $74 million a year in orders versus approximately $50 million a year. These numbers are small and will continue to shrink as the overall decline of Zimbabwe’s economy continues under the poor management of the Government.More and more companies are shutting down for lack of materials, lack of foreign exchange therefore the trade balance will be diminishing because the Zimbabwean economy is disappearing. Many Zimbabwean companies do business with the United States, leading exports include automobile windows, doors, sporting equipment, trade goes on in a variety of areas and there are more than 40 or 50 American companies represented, usually by local representatives right here in Harare that import goods from the United States. United States provides US$50 million in food assistance to Zimbabwe and another US$26 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The UK is one of the largest suppliers of goods and services to Zimbabwe and remains one of the largest investors. However UK exports and new investments show a downward trend owing to the current unstable economic and political situation. Trade has declined from UK exports of £78 million in 1998 to £34 million in 2002, while exports from Zimbabwe have declined from £123 million in 1998 to £86 million in 2002. Despite the political and economic differences, UK companies continue to show limited interest in this market. Trade Partners UK is ready to assist such companies. The UK remains Zimbabwe’s most favourable trading partner, with a significant deficit in Zimbabwe’s favour.
So for the SADC to come and ask for sanctions to be lifted on Zimbabwe is absurd given that there are no sanctions against Zimbabwe. The only sanctions that are imposed on Zimbabwe are personal sanctions which prevent Mugabe and his inner circle of flying to US and Europe to spend looted foreign currency while the UN has come out today saying more people face starvation this year in Zimbabwe. This was a chance for SADC to be firm on Mugabe and urge to restore the rule of law and stop victimising members of MDC and its supporters.