Do we really need aid?


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British author Andrew Morton is better known for his best-selling books on Princess Diana and Monica Lewinsky, the girl who almost got United States President Bill Clinton kicked out of office.

There is hardly any mention of his book: Moi- the making of an African statesman, a book that is more relevant to Africa and to Zimbabwe in particular because there are a lot of similarities between Kenya under Daniel arap Moi and Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

Morton says the four-wheel drives of the United Nations and aid agencies on Kenya’s roads, read Zimbabwe, are a clear indication of the government’s inability to serve the needs of its people.

He asks what relevance does the government have when teachers’ salaries are paid by the United Nations Children’s Fund, AIDS drugs are provided by the Global Fund or Population Services International, doctors are paid by Britain’s Department for International Development, people in the rural areas are fed by World Vision or Care?

The answer is simple. “Donor countries adopt arrogant, patronising postures towards developing nations, while the Africans themselves lose political will to work out their own solutions to their own problems.”

This seems to be the pit in which the inclusive government is. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been globe-trotting looking for aid. He has been to Washington. He is currently in London. The answer has been clear and simple. “You are not yet democratic enough for us to give you aid.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was clear about who is in power. “There’s nothing Mugabe does without me approving and there is nothing I do without him approving.” What more does the West want?

Why should our government, united as it is now today, continue to look for aid when it knows quite well the West will not give it any aid as long as Mugabe is part of the government? If the inclusive government is working well as Tsvangirai says, why not forget about aid and kick-start our recovery with what we have.

The West is fond of humiliating Africans. Moi was quite clear about this. “The Jews are the most persecuted people on earth while the Africans are the most humiliated.”

If one really looks at it, Zimbabwe does not need aid. It needs credit lines. It needs sanctions to be lifted. It needs to get back the money that was siphoned out of the country over the past nine years both by ZANU-PF big wigs and by the corporate world.

One business leader even suggested to the government and business community at a business conference in Bulawayo on Wednesday that the country needed accountability. Something like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa but the country would be focussing on economic crime alone.

Everyone has to account for their actions over the past nine years. Give us back what they stole. No recrimination. No detention. Just owning up and we can forge ahead.

In the run-up to the 2008 elections, there were promises that the country would get as much as US$10 billion in aid if the Movement for Democratic Change or Mavambo won. Where has that money gone? Whose money was it?

There was talk that this was money that had been siphoned out of the country but it would be brought back as if it was aid. Why don’t we try to trace that money? After all, it is much more than what the Prime Minister has said the country needs to get back on track.

If we get the US$10 billion, we will still have $1.5 billion change to play around with. Yes, it might not get to US$10 billion, but let’s do it. It will give the country a good start.

Going begging and getting humiliated in not the answer. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, endowed with abundant natural resources. We can make it provided we stand up and proudly proclaim that we are the only ones who can build this country. Anyone who wants to join us should join us on our terms.

 

(46 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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