It has been nearly two years since my brother, Zimbabwean journalist and activist Itai Dzamara, disappeared while protesting against the Zimbabwean government. Recently I penned a letter to the World Bank in response to allegations that it was planning to lend the Zimbabwean government money to settle an International Monetary Fund debt. I said the loan would “prop up our oppressor”.
In its reply to me, the World Bank has reiterated that it will only resume funding to Zimbabwe when the country had settled its debt to the World Bank.
This is the letter I received from them:
“Dear Dr Dzamara
Petition to deny government of Zimbabwe line of credit
Thank you for your letter to Dr Kim received on September 20 2016. You raise very important concerns about developments in Zimbabwe. The World Bank is committed to work with all of our partner countries, including Zimbabwe, to achieve their long-term development goals. We care deeply about the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.
Since 2000, when direct lending was suspended on account of payment of arrears, the World Bank has maintained very limited support for Zimbabwe through a variety of non-lending instruments and trust funds.
Each of these interventions is covered by strong policies and mechanisms to ensure that resources reach the intended and affected and that there is a strong protection for the poorest and most vulnerable. These mechanisms address many concerns raised by advocacy groups and civil society such as your organisation.
The World Bank can only resume direct financial support to Zimbabwe when the issue of arrears is fully resolved. The approach is standard to all international financial institutions.
Upon arrears clearance, however, Zimbabwe would be eligible as a borrowing member of the bank to a broad range of financing instruments, all of which would be subject to the strong safeguard policies and mechanisms mentioned above.
To this end, I would like to invite you to dialogue with our team working on Zimbabwe to help improve our understanding of the challenges in Zimbabwe today and to help us to carve out an appropriate engagement strategy for your country.
Guang Zhe Chen
Country director: Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia Africa Region, World Bank.”
It’s encouraging that the World Bank is not giving Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his minions a lifeline. They don’t deserve it because they are inclined towards mismanagement. They are irresponsible and corrupt. They are broke and they must face the music.
The country is heading towards a total precipice as a result of their leadership failure and corruption.
The other important aspect to note is that Zanu-PF is in its twilight zone. If they borrow, we will be responsible for paying off the debt. That’s unfair because they are the only ones who would have benefited from the facility.
Overall, Zanu-PF is like a dead log. We all know that watering a dead log won’t bring it back to life. No matter what we do or don’t do, there is no hope in Zanu-PF. We must work and look beyond them. Only a new breed of leaders will take Zimbabwe forward. We must bleed this monster called Zanu-PF to its death.