No, of course it doesn’t. What difference does it make to most of the people in the world if Zimbabwe continues under its present corrupt and incompetent government or passes on to a corrupt and incompetent government headed by different people with different priorities? It will certainly make a difference to some of the people in Zimbabwe, but, The Creator fears, not so much as it ought to.
The election has come and gone and the Parliamentary results have dribbled out; previously the MDC almost won, now they have (together with their supposed bitter enemies, the other party calling itself MDC and the Makoni-ites) a Parliamentary majority. Good luck to them; ZANU (PF) have arguably been in charge way too long. As has ZANU (PF)’s leader; if he loses his Presidency then it will be, one suspects, no bad thing. The Presidential results have not yet been released, however, and it is perfectly possible that Mugabe himself has done better than ZANU (PF), which would provide the supporters of the MDC with a conundrum; how to dominate the country when the country’s President and Parliament are from different parties?
The solution being called for by the MDC, white South Africans and the West is for Mugabe to step down anyway, even if he has won the Presidency, because — well, because President Bush resigned when the Democrats won control of the Congress in 2006, just as President Clinton resigned when the Republicans won control of the Congress in 1994. Oh, they didn’t. Well, anyway, Mugabe must resign because Western political activities in Zimbabwe for the last ten years have been devoted to getting rid of Mugabe, and the West badly needs a triumph, these days.
To be fair, the Creator thinks he should probably step down — he’s eighty-four and kind of feeble. He was probably planning to step down if ZANU (PF) won the election. Let’s suppose he does step down. Then what?
Then the biggest flipping orgy of racist cheering you’ve heard since Muhammed Ali hit the canvas will rise up from every racist mansion and Presidential palace on the planet. It’s hateful, and it’s boring, and it’s worthless. These are not people who give a stuff about the people of Zimbabwe. Some of them are angry that Mugabe dared to defeat dear old Smithy, some of them are cross that Mugabe filched white farmers’ property, and some of them are annoyed because Mugabe wouldn’t take orders (for a while, at least). Pay such people no attention.
In fact, pay as little attention as possible to anything in the media. Various journalists predicted that the poll would be rigged to ensure that Mugabe would win. They made this prediction on the basis of no information but enormous amounts of prejudice, whether racial or political. These journalists declared that the election would not be free or fair. None of these journalists has yet announced their rejection of the MDC’s victory. In other words, all of these journalists, chief among them Peta Thornycroft, are lying, corrupt hypocrites whose journalism is worth nothing whatsoever. The MDC’s politicians also told comparable transparent lies, but one expects that from politicians; from journalists one should expect at least a consistent and well-constructed lie, but we don’t get it.
Now Zimbabwe has been promised a massive injection of cash the moment they kick Mugabe out. The West is famous for breaking such promises, but probably at least some will come in. They are talking about ten or fifteen billion rand, which is a cupful compared with the buckets which are actually needed for Zimbabwe’s resurrection. However, this will probably enable Zimbabwe to stumble on for a year or so with an illusion of success. The real question is, how can non-illusory success be accomplished?
First things first. The MDC needs to identify what the problems are so as to solve them. It would appear that they have not as yet bothered to do this, which is embarrassing and supports the Creator’s suspicions that the MDC are not really a serious political party but, like Violetta Chamorro’s sleazy crooks in Nicaragua, merely a gang of compradors out to do the bidding of their foreign bosses. Let us pretend that this is not the case and ask what they need to do.
The big issue is getting the currency sorted out. The power of the state depends on its control of capital. While the currency is worthless the state is disempowered. So, sadly, the big issue is bringing the inflation rate down. How to do this? No, not by increasing the interest rate to 100 000% and await developments! Something a bit more serious than that.
Print many billions of New Zimbabwe Dollars. Declare a state of emergency and seize control of all banks in Zimbabwe from the Reserve Bank on down. (Ignore the street currency traders.) Announce that Old Zimbabwe Dollars may be exchanged for New Zimbabwe Dollars at a rate of, say, 100 000 to one, and that after a certain date Old Zimbabwe dollars are worthless. (Too bad for the street traders.) That temporarily sorts out the currency crisis. Zimbabwe dollars are not tradeable, so for the moment, you have no problems with the currency leaving the country.
However, the MDC would have the banks. Go through the banks with a fine-toothed accountancy comb looking for currency exchange fiddles. You would find plenty. No doubt some of them have been worked by foreign countries seeking to harm the country, but no doubt a hell of a lot have been worked by ZANU (PF) politicians and corporate moguls — including moguls who back the MDC. Play no favourites. Arrest everybody who’s done anything bad and send them to jail if they won’t, or can’t, sort the problem out. (Of course, be careful not to undermine the mammoth fiddles which have been worked to finance the country’s electricity and fuel stores. Just make sure you know all about them and know that the people working them know that you know.)
With the currency sort of on an even keel (Zimbabwe has enough exchange controls and financial regulations to make it possible to hold it there by command if necessary — obviously these controls have only been applied where it suited the moguls and the crooks) — you need an inventory of state assets. No doubt plenty has been stolen by ZANU (PF) and their merry friends in big business. Get that stuff back. The MDC would control the Central Intelligence Organisation, who are easily as unfriendly as they sound and have plenty of quiet cellars equipped with manacles and dentist’s drills. Get busy with them. Put money in thy purse — and make sure it’s in the country’s purse. If any MDC officials start squirrelling stuff away, have them shovelling shit in the Central Prison before you can get an American to pronounce Tsvangarai correctly.
That should take care of at least a couple of months. Now, what do you do about the maintenance of vital apparatus and the land issue? You now need an inventory of all the stolen farms. Some of them have genuinely had people resettled on them and you shouldn’t kick them off, no matter who had them before. But some of them are just lying fallow, controlled by lazy politicians and businessmen who couldn’t resist the lure of the land but couldn’t be bothered to do anything with it. See if you can get any of the Zims who were chucked out to come back and try to get them going again. Be careful — it takes years and a lot of money to build up an irrigated, mechanised commercial farm and many of the white Zims inherited their commercial farms and don’t know much about starting from scratch. But you could also try to get some agricultural experts — hell, even South Africa might be willing to help — and a teeny bit of capital. Main thing would be to show that you were getting started on reversing the calamitous consequences of the “Land Reform and Resettlement Programme”.
And ZANU (PF)? Well, who cares about them? They can get with the programme or they can refuse to get with the programme. Some of them would end up in jail for currency crimes or theft of state property. Maybe some of them might end up charged with crimes against MDC members or other victims of intimidation. But that’s not the big issue. The big issue is saving Zimbabwe from ruin.
How would we know if the MDC weren’t pursuing the big issue?
Well, let’s think. If the MDC starts screaming about human rights and how Mugabe and his cronies need to go to the Hague Court, they are trying to distract the public’s attention from their failure to do something concrete. If the MDC rush about selling state enterprises to foreigners at ridiculously low prices and claim that this is saving the country, they are fools. If the MDC leadership all move into big houses and start riding big ZANU (PF) style cars, they are crooks. If they hand the administration of the Zimbabwean economy over to the International Monetary Fund, as Mugabe did in the 1990s, they are creepy liars. If you see a mass of articles about how well-dressed, youthful and exuberantly attractive the new Zimbabwean leaders are, and how the golf courses in Harare are now better-watered than before and the shops are filled with Western cocktail dresses and Harrods food hampers — assume the worst.
But the Creator is willing to give the MDC a chance. Which is more than the Western media were willing to do for Mugabe’s merry men.