Thursday, May 23, 2019

Zanu PF dragging the nation into a debt trap

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Last week RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya, and Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, were thrilled to announce that the country secured a $500 million loan. The loan would end the shortages of fuel, wheat, medicine and foreign currency that had plagued the nation, they said.

For a nation who import bill has ballooned into hundreds of millions of dollars as its own local industry collapsed so we imported even more whilst earning less from exports; the loan will easy the shortages but only for a month or two at most. This is voodoo economics at its worst; we borrowing money to spend it on recurrent expenditure with no or little hope of generating wealth. How are we going to repay the debt?

Worse still, tomorrow, when the present loan is spent, we will face an even tougher challenge of raising enough to pay for the recurrent expenditure and repay the loan.

Governor Mangudya and Minister Ncube were thrilled with the $500 million loan but many Zimbabweans out there were not; Zanu PF is dragging the nation into a debt trap. When you are in a hole, stop digging! Many people wanted to know were the loan was coming from. Bloomberg has uncovered the source of the loan.

"The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) stepped in to provide collateral for the African Export-Import Bank's $500 million loan advanced to Zimbabwe recently," reported Bulawayo 24.

"Bloomberg has reported that the loan, which will be paid over four years when production starts, is backed by a mine that Great Dyke Investments, a venture between Russian investors and the Zimbabwean military, plans to build at a cost of $4 billion.

"Bloomberg reports that the structure of the deal was decided earlier this month at a meeting attended by officials from Zimbabwe's treasury, central bank, mines ministry, Afreximbank, and Great Dyke Investments chairwoman, Hespinah Rukato, the people said. The mine could produce about 800,000 ounces of platinum group metals a year if built."

ZNA, s***t! It does not get worse than this!

It was Tendai Biti, when he was Minister of Finance during the GNU, who first flagged the existence of a shadowy informal body, the Joint Operation Command (JOC), a Mafia type junta, comprising the top brass in the Army, Police, CIO and Prison Services headed by Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and a handful of other select Zanu PF officials operating alongside the formal government.

Central government bankrolled JOC activities and its members extravagant lifestyles notable Robert Mugabe and his family whose globetrotting have broken all world records. And yet JOC has secured even more funds from other clandestine sources such as black-market trade in foreign currency and looting.

The top brass in ZNA, Police, CIO, Prison Services and other JOC members were all granted mining concessions in Marange and Chiadzwa diamond fields. The late Edward Chindori Chininga, himself a former Zanu PF Minister of Mines, revealed the true nature of these concession in a parliamentary report in 2012 of which he was chairman. The concessions allowed the mining to take place with no records of quality or quality of diamonds, where the diamonds were sold and for how much, etc., etc. And so it was impossible to know how much was earned, the tax payable and so the concession holders and their partners did not pay any taxes.

In 2016 Mugabe admitted the country had been "swindled" out of US$15 billion in diamond revenue. A Canadian NGO specialising in diamonds estimated that Mugabe earned US$2 billion from diamonds in 2012 alone. Mugabe never arrested even one diamond swindler or recover one dollar. How could he when he is one of the swindlers himself.

When Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe following the November 2017 military coup, he promised to end corruption. A year and half down the line, he too has failed to arrest even one diamond swindler or recover one dollar. A few weeks ago he finally admitted his failure. "Corruption is deep rooted!" he confessed.

How can he uproot corruption when he and his fellow JOC Mafia junta who helped him stage the November 2017 coup are corrupt themselves and are godfathers corruption?

The confirmation that the ZNA and the other JOC operatives are extending their wholesale looting mining concessions from diamonds to platinum, lithium and many other resources and activities is most disconcerting.

Of course, the top brass in the ZNA, Police, CIO and the rest of the JOC junta members KNOW they have no business holding mining concession in Marange, Great Dykes or anywhere else in the country. If anyone of them wanted to be a miner, they must resign the position in the Army, Police, Government or whatever. They will then be issued a mining licence subject to the same rules and conditions as everyone else. This is exactly what they do not want and hence the reason they have propped up this Zanu PF dictatorship and will resist any democratic change.

Zanu PF is illegitimate and as long as the country remains a pariah state ruled by corrupt and vote rigging thugs the country's economic meltdown will only get worse. The $500m loan will buy temporary respite from the shortages but at the price of even worse hardship ahead. The use of this new loot-all-you-want platinum concession to secure the loan is proof the Zanu PF junta would rather sell this nation to the devil himself than give up power.