War vets dismiss “sanctions” mantra

Zanu (PF) should not use so-called “sanctions” as an excuse for failing to deliver on the promises the party made to the electorate ahead of the July 31 elections, says the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association.

Jabulani Sibanda: Zanu (PF) must fulfil its campaign promises.
Jabulani Sibanda: Zanu (PF) must fulfil its campaign promises.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the association’s chairperson, Jabulani Sibanda, said Zanu (PF) must fulfil its campaign promises if it is to retain its supporters.

“Sanctions must not be used as an excuse for failure because we are only sanctioned by some nations but we have some nations that are friendly to us. For Zanu (PF) to continue winning the elections, there is need to ensure that promises outlined in the election manifesto are fulfilled.

“People need freedom, peace and policies that will enable them to be either employers or employees. They need good roads. All these things were outlined in the election manifesto and they should be fulfilled,” said Sibanda.

Western countries and the United States imposed targeted measures against President Robert Mugabe ad his inner cabal in 2002 at the height of human rights violations and are on record saying that credible elections were a pre-requisite for removing them.

They have expressed reservations over the manner in which the July 31 elections, which Zanu (PF) claims to have won overwhelmingly, were conducted. The party says it will rely on friendly countries such as China and India to move the economy forward. It launched the Look East policy in 2003 as a means of snubbing the west.

Sibanda urged Zanu (PF) to put in place policies that would curb corruption so as to ensure that the majority, rather than just a few political elite, benefit from the country’s natural resources. He rapped politicians who abused their positions to enrich themselves by looting .

“Political positions must never be seen as an opportunity to engage in corrupt activities. The positions were created so as to ensure that the people’s needs are fulfilled, not that the persons appointed to those positions abuse them. The President has made a statement that those acts cannot go unpunished. The culprits should be investigated and brought to a fair trial. But we also need to ensure that we catch the bigger fish,” said Sibanda.

Statistics released this year by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority show that China is topping the list in terms of Foreign Direct Investments to Zimbabwe with the Asian country having invested $100 million in the first five months of the year. Following China is Malaysia with an investment of $11 million while South Africa and Israel invested $7 million and $2,6 million respectively.

Analysts said Zimbabwe-China economic relations had resulted in insignificant benefits with the Asian country getting far more than it contributed. Economist John Robertson said: “The Chinese have a different approach to what we expect because you would discover that they even send their own labour and do not create employment here. I think it’s wrong to think of China as a government directed business sector.

They are individuals looking for customers and payment for the work they do in the cheapest way possible way. So I do not believe we should look to China and expect any improvement. Even if you look at the Chinese involvement in diamond mining – it has left our country with hardly anything of value. If the Chinese produce anything, it would be for their own benefit.”

Analyst Innocent Makwiramiti concurred, saying “I do not think we will be able to get massive investment from China and the situation will be worsened by the fact that the indigenisation regulations are keeping foreign investors away. As long as we keep those conditions in place, we cannot expect much investment to rescue our economy.”

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