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No real change = no aid

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I hear that Morgan Tsvangirai recently called upon all Members of Parliament in Zimbabwe to declare their assets. A move in the right direction in my book; we certainly need more transparency and accountability. But I wonder whether Tsvangirai and the MDC will have the bollocks to demand that Mugabe hand back the fortune that he’s accumulated over his long years in power? That would be a good start wouldn’t it? The repatriation of some of Mugabe’s money might well pay our civil service for the next few years instead of us holding out a pathetic begging bowl to South Africa or the IMF or those pesky Western imperialists.

Here’s some food for thought from an interview between Dambisa Moyo and Richard Dowden:

A lot of the blame for Africa’s failure can be placed on its elites who take their money out of the country. They live like exceedingly rich Europeans or Americans with flashy cars and huge houses. Their children all go to British schools and British or American universities and they have no confidence in Africa. They don’t want anything to do with it. In fact, when you drink with them, you realise that they absolutely despise other Africans, especially the poor. They have no interest in developing Africa. They are doing extremely well, as they are living off aid or whatever their income is, and the idea of bringing education or health to their population doesn’t interest them in the slightest. They are often the people that Western business deals with and Western governments deal with. They are the people getting the aid, the political support, even the military support and they are being kept in power.

If Western countries wanted to help they could start by stopping the corruption money flowing back into Britain, as we saw in the case of the two huge Kenyan thefts. With the Goldenberg scandal, it ended up being nearly $4 billion shipped out of the country, reducing Kenya’s growth rate from 4.5 per cent to less than one per cent. It all ended up in the City of London through secret offshore accounts. The present government’s inquiry has implicated the former President Daniel arap Moi and his family and cronies. If we want to help Africa we have to say to its leaders: “What are you doing with all this money? Where did you get it? You’ve stolen it.” Those are the sort of things that we can help with. With people like Moi in power, the idea that you can transform a country with aid is preposterous.

And the same can be said about Zimbabwe with Mugabe still in power. With such an appalling track record the fact that aid might flow into a Mugabe government is mind boggling. Tsvangirai might be in office but he’s not in power.

Dewa Mavhinga in a recent blog wrote that he wants a “bold paradigm shift on the part of government and a fresh and new way of doing things”. With news that Cabinet Ministers, their Deputies and their Permanent Secretaries will be taking a three day retreat in Victoria Falls, we can already see that there is little commitment to tightening the purse strings and curbing expensive junkets.

Until Mugabe reimburses the national coffers, and until Zimbabwean politicians come down to earth, acting for and on behalf of the people, no aid should be given to Zimbabwe.

One comment to “No real change = no aid”

  1. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Time to get more creative about aid:

    [...] just finished Dead Aid, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo’s book on “why aid isn’t working and how there is another way for [...]