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Demystifying false narrative of a 'crisis' in Zimbabwe

02 Oct 2020 at 07:19hrs | Views
For the past few months, Zimbabwe's internal and external detractors have been in overdrive, pushing a concocted narrative that there was a "crisis" in Zimbabwe.

This false narrative is premised on among other things, the alleged endemic corruption, which saw Jacob Ngarivhume, leader of Transform Zimbabwe calling for a nationwide protest on 31 July, 2020.

The contrived narrative found traction on social media and gullible international media further amplified this assertion when Ngarivhume and Hopewell Chin'ono, a journalist-cumactivist, were arrested for inciting the public to engage in protests ostensibly to "denounce Government corruption and demand President Mnangagwa to resign".

A person reading about Zimbabwe from another planet would be easily convinced that it was a country on the edge. The person would be forgiven to think that Zimbabwe is a lawless jungle where societal malpractices are rampant. But can we say that Zimbabwe is in a "crisis?"

Is this narration correct? This evil narration of a crisis in Zimbabwe is erroneous and grossly misleading. Wrong in the sense that the country is not in a crisis and misleading in that this narration is being peddled by the country's detractors, who since time immemorial, have harboured a nefarious agenda of regime change.

Crisis defined The detractors have created a perfect storm in a tea cup by their misinterpretation of the word crisis, to suit their regime change agenda.

A country in a crisis is one with a significant proportion of the population that is acutely vulnerable to death, disease and disruption of livelihoods over a prolonged period of time.

The governance of such a country is usually very weak, with the State having a limited capacity to respond to, and mitigate, the threats to the population, or provide adequate levels of protection.

A country in a crisis can be that where the crime rate is high, the economy is shrinking, human rights are abused, and food insecurity as well as corruption is rampant. Going with this description of a country in crisis, it doesn't need a soothsayer to declare that Zimbabwe is not in any form of a crisis. What the country is facing are challenges, like any other nation, and not a crisis.

Currently, the country is relatively food secure, the economy is taking a positive trajectory after years of downturn, crime rate is very low and corruption is being honestly fought from all angles. Even the International Rescue Committee (IRC) that assessed countries that might be at greatest risk of a humanitarian crisis in 2020, does not flag Zimbabwe as a country in crisis.

In its list of countries facing crises, the IRC mentioned African countries such as Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Nigeria as some of the countries that are worst affected. Zimbabwe does not feature among the countries.

In fact, Zimbabwe does not feature anywhere in the report. Other countries that make up the IRC's list of nations that are at the greatest risk of a major deterioration in the humanitarian situation are Yemen, Venezuela, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Rampant corruption? To buttress my point that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe, I would want to focus on one indicator of a country in a crisis, which is rampant corruption. Is Zimbabwe in a crisis because there is rampant corruption in the country? Are the authorities failing to deal with corruption? Is corruption in Zimbabwe worse, if compared with other countries?

The answer to these questions would surely assist in determining whether Zimbabwe is in a crisis or not.

In the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI), Zimbabwe does not feature in the bottom 20 as it was ranked 158 out of 180 countries. Zimbabwe performed better than Eritrea, Chad, Burundi, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Somalia.

Surprisingly none of these countries are perceived as being in a crisis. While one cannot deny the existence of corruption in Zimbabwe, it is important to clarify that the level of corruption in the country does not warrant it to be classified as a country in crisis on the basis of graft. After all, no country is immune to corruption.

In Malawi, the newly-elected President, Lazarus Chakwera revealed that over US$1 billion was stolen through corruption during former president Peter Mutharika's administration.

". . .  although I earlier said that those involved in the malpractice should just refund the money, doing so is not enough, because the amount of taxpayers' money which has been stolen is too big. So it is wrong to say that those involved should only be forgiven," President Chakwera was quoted as saying.

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) Africa (2019) report estimated that around 130 million people paid bribes in the 2018, when they were seeking access to everyday services like health care, education, requesting a government-issued ID, or a chance at justice in 35 African countries surveyed.

The picture is gloomy for Africa, but individual countries are doing all they can to deal with the vice, which has seen the continent losing at least US$50 billion every year. The corruption fight Like the rest of African governments, the Second Republic is engaging in a bare knuckle fight against corrupt individuals.

Surprisingly, the country's detractors are choosing to have selective amnesia when it comes to efforts employed to address the corrosive vice.

No-one is writing about, how the New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa has adopted zero tolerance to corruption. A complete blackout has been effected on Government's initiatives against corruption as it doesn't compliment the disaster narrative being perpetuated.

If Western-sponsored journalists and media houses cannot tell the true story of Zimbabwe in fear of stepping on the toes of their handlers, then the onus is on patriotic journalists to tell it to the world.

The true Zimbabwean story is that President Mnangagwa has devoted much of his time and energy to fight graft. President Mnangagwa has shown that the fight against corruption knows no rank or political affiliation.

Zimbabwe signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on February 20, 2004, and ratified it on March 8, 2007, hence it takes seriously corruption scandals. It is well known that President Mnangagwa has dismissed ministers such as Prisca Mupfumira and Obadiah Moyo after they were fingered in corruption scandals.

Suspicious contracts and deals that had potential to milk Government coffers were cancelled. For instance, Government cancelled Drax International's US$60 million tender after reports that the company was inflating the prices of the Covid-19 materials it was supplying to Government.

President Mnangagwa's administration also established entities that will help the police to fight graft.

These include the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) and Anti-corruption courts. All these are signs that graft has no place in the Zimbabwean society. However, the country's detractors continue to push the false narrative of a crisis in Zimbabwe.

Regime change by another name To label Zimbabwe as a country in crisis considering how the Government has gone out of its way to fight graft, improve living conditions and empower its people with various projects, bespeaks of a bigger agenda which over the years had taken different forms, regime change.

To prove that the corruption narrative is one of the many nouvelle weapons by the detractors to effect regime change, their lackey Ngarivhume, when he was organising protests against alleged corruption in Government on July 31, 2020, was quoted saying, "This demonstration is going to mark a turning point for this country. It is a defining moment."

How does protesting against corruption, nefariously become calling for a duly elected President to resign? The Second Republic will remain resolute in working to improve the lives of its citizens and achieve an upper middle income economy by 2030, despite various sinister machinations, which have failed these past 20 years.

If our journalists were genuine and of sober habits, they could have been writing about how Zimbabwe has managed to stay afloat with the baggage of sanctions hovering on its head.

They could also be telling the world of the success stories of the New Dispensation that has moved quickly to restore livelihoods of people that were affected by calamities such as Cyclone Idai.

This is what journalists should be focusing on, not propagating non-existence crises in the comfort of their offices.

As far as Zimbabweans are concerned, there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. If the crisis exists, then it only exists in the minds of the opposition as President Mnangagwa recently alluded to.

Source - the herald
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