President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been caricatured after allegedly trashing his own currency when the United States pledged US$2.5 million for Cyclone Idai which was not even being channelled through his government.
There is debate about Mnangagwa’s behaviour but that to me is immaterial. If I were Mnangagwa, I would simply have told Brian Nichols, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, the following:
“Mr Ambassador, thank you very much for the donation. But to me it looks like you are just shedding crocodile tears. You are hoodwinking my people by appearing to be a benevolent nation when you have cost my country more than US$40 billion.
“Like any bereaved person, I will, however, accept your $2.5 million because as per our custom, chema i chema. You don’t determine the amount. But you know what, you would have done me a great favour by just lifting sanctions on my country. We can rebuild our country on our own.
“Imagine what I could do with US$40 billion when my country is currently running on only US$8 billion?
“Aid has never helped in developing Africa. Instead I have been told that it is actually building your country more than mine.
“While your act seems benevolent, I have been told that for every dollar that the West donates to African countries, US$24 go out. So Africa loses US$23 for every dollar it receives.
“My God, is this not daylight robbery? Besides, you are not channeling your money through my government so that I can decide how best to use that money. Instead you are channeling it through civic organisations which in my opinion are not saints as you want to make it look.
“Just look at what I have done with the little that I have. What more would I be able to do if you lifted your sanctions?
“I know you have over the years tried to hoodwink my people to believe that the sanctions affect only designated people like myself and my top lieutenants. That is a lie?
“How do they really affect me? I can fly to South Africa for medical treatment. My lieutenants can fly to India. How many of my fellow countrymen can afford that when they are living on less than US$1.25 a day.
“So can you realty say that sanctions are meant to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans? How?
“Thank you once again. I rest my case.”