Asking donors to take a gamble

morgan_jonoulistsAs he boarded the plane for Europe and America, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must have been aware as all right thinking Zimbabweans were that his mission to try to persuade Western leaders to trust the unity government and back it with financial resources would yield very little or nothing.(Pictured: Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan T

We do not doubt the Prime Ministers good intentions in undertaking his ongoing tour of leading donor countries. He means well.
But we have serious reservations about Tsvangirais strategy to ask the donor community to take a gamble on President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) that they should just pour in aid and keep their fingers crossed that Mugabe will honour his word on reforms.
Even the not so disguised attempt to blackmail the international community into releasing funds to the power-sharing government with the threat that should they fail to do so and the administration collapses Zimbabwe will slide into something worse than Somalia with an even higher price for the world to pay is simply not going to work.
As the Prime Minister was told at his first port of call in Holland, the West will not give direct financial support to the unity government until certain reform benchmarks are met.
Put differently, it saves no real purpose to try to vouch for the democratic credentials of Mugabe and Zanu (PF) who continue to cling to power and as if to embarrass Tsvangirai before his hosts last week came up with a new ploy to try to delay reforms meant to usher in a new and democratic constitution for the country.
International relief agencies will continue to give aid to Zimbabwe and Western leaders will probably step up humanitarian support to the country but we can guarantee that there will be no development cash exactly what we need to lift ourselves out of crisis flowing into government coffers anytime soon.
Not when the military generals and so-called Zanu (PF) hardliners continue with their business as usual approach to human rights and the rule of law a point Tsvangirai himself raised a few days before he was due to meet US President Barack Obama.
“Zimbabwe must understand that we need to earn the confidence of the international community. The world is not going to come forward unless there is demonstrable improvement,” Tsvangirai told reporters in Washington.
We couldnt agree more. And we would suggest that the Prime Minister should perhaps have first focused on trying to achieve this improvement by acting to enforce the rule of law, uphold human rights and freedom of the Press and that includes ensuring that the punitive duty imposed on this newspaper and its sister publication is lifted.
We believe a visit to Europe and America after the above and other key benchmarks had been achieved would have borne more fruit. For Tsvangirai to return to Harare empty handed as is likely going to happen will only help strengthen the hand of those opposed to democratic change.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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