By Mbango Sithole
The outcome of the recent elections in Zimbabwe has exposed the gross lack of sincerity of the countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. A Robert Mugabe win was as bitter as wormwood. More so coming from a violent free election endorsed by most of the independent accredited observers to the elections. The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) were left wiping off eggs on their faces.
Over the last few years debate has centered more on the effectiveness of the sanctions rather than their justification because they seemed to portray a desire, by the West, to force a more sustainable solution that is centered on the welfare of the inhabitants of Zimbabwe. The justifications seemed understandable in the context of the violence that had characterised the elections between 2000 and 2008.
It is not debatable that sanctions against Zimbabwe have caused the demise of the economy much more than the combined effect of the corruption by officials over the whole 33 years. This has caused untold suffering to the millions of Zimbabweans many of whom found themselves scattered all over the globe, in most cases, living in near destitute conditions.
The EU was the main culprit in terms of overt manuvres to influence the outcome of the processes in Zimbabwe. We saw different carrots being dangled in an attempt to earn a role in the elections. Various conditions were given in exchange for a “free and fair” election. What people did not know was that a free and fair election was defined as one that brought regime change in the mineral rich country. With hindsight, also as cleverly observed by former President Thabo Mbeki, there were sustained attempts to discredit the outcome of the election should the result turn out not as per their desires.
When the EU failed in their attempts to be accredited as observers of the elections, it is alleged to have been ready to bankroll any organization that wanted to be involved in the elections. This is understandable if one considers how much they had spent in the MDC regime change project. We all know whose tune the piper plays. Many of the Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) that participated in this money spinning role owe their existence to the benevolence of the West otherwise they will choke with dire lack of funds. This often explains the decisions of theses NGOs.
The main culprit among these NGOs, as far as the July elections is concerned, is the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) which has often been portrayed as “an independent group with over 7000 local election observers” in the media. This group is nowhere near close to the definition of the word “independent”. Someone has to explain to me how a group funded by a country that has imposed sanctions on a regime can be independent. This group is funded by the United States of America who declared themselves as enemies to the Mugabe regime because of the sanctions that have ravaged Zimbabwe since 2003.
The group of the so called observers waited for the results of the elections to begin to trickle-in to begin to give their views. One day they said “the people have spoken”, the next day they change tune to a compliant one. Their brief, by their funders, is clear. They know when to endorse and when to discredit the result even when they have not a single proof to support their view. Such is the story of this group in Zimbabwe in these and other elections in Zimbabwe for years without end. It is a story of hypocrisy, greed and survival.
This is seen in the reasons advanced to support the bashing of the elections. These reasons, if they were to be analysed, would have been there even if the MDC had won the elections because they point to conditions which we all knew existed before the elections were conducted. These reasons fail just on that basis.
The observers who were truly independent have chronicled some deficiencies but have said that the election represents the will of the people of Zimbabwe. These are the SADC and AU observer teams and other groups which had no funding strings attached to them.
That the US and the EU have decided to base their decisions regarding sanctions on the reports of the money hungry NGOs can only betray their hypocrisy. The sanctions were meant for regime change and so can only be removed when regime change is effected, regardless of their effects on the ordinary man in Zimbabwe. This is shameful and immoral and should be condemned by every progressive individual and corporate. That could explain the dismal show by the MDC who Zanu Pf has successfully labeled as the architects of the people’s suffering as they invited the sanctions on Zimbabwe for self-serving reasons.
This is not in any way an attempt to prove that the elections were not rigged just as it is not also in any way to prove that they were flawless but just that it represented sufficiently the will of the people of Zimbabwe and, as such, should be accepted and respected.
Let progressive voices speak! The sanctions should be lifted for the benefit of Zimbabweans.