Repression Costs Zimbabwe Billions

The insatiable appetite to secure power through financing the infrastructure of repression dating back to Ian Douglas Smith, Robert Mugabe and now Emmerson Mnangagwa have left the country heaving in a debt crisis, with the greater part of it being illegitimate, 263Chat can report.

Making his presentation at the High Level Debt Conference organized by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in the capital yesterday,  executive director for UHAI Africa Group, Brian Kagoro said Zimbabwe has been sunk into a debt crisis because  of the state’s keen interest to retain power at all cost by financing repression.

“Historically, the debt that Zimbabwe owes was accumulated in order to finance the infrastructure of repression or what we commonly call state building project. We inherited over USD$700 million of debt from Rhodesia and this debt was  accrued by Rhodesia regime in repressing the majority Zimbabwean citizens.

“The state in early 1980s, then accumulated further debt in the repressive activity in Midlands and Matabeleland what is commonly referred to as the Gukurahundi. We see that the state then also accumulated debt in trying to do the logistical backing to Hondo Yeminda (Land invasion),” Kagoro said.

War veterans, whom Mugabe fronted during the land invasions in the early 2000s were given lucrative packages which were abused with the indigenization program also claiming its share in state resource abuse with black farmers failing to service loans albeit the  state failing to institute a legal procedure to recover debt.

“You then go into the post 2000 period for elections including 2008 significant amount of money, debt was incurred to repress the people.  I mentioned also the war in the DRC where we were spending between $1 million to $3 million dollars a day and that money was not budgeted.

“I have not even gone into money that was spent in importing military equipment, money that was spent in enlisting Border Gezi youths and adding them onto our public service pay bill and so on and so forth.

“It becomes odious debt in the sense that it was meant to prop up a regime, it becomes odious debt in the sense that there was no intention to empower people,” Kagoro said.

Currently, the country is battling with about USD$18 billion debt to which by rough estimation every citizen owes at least USD$1000.

ZIMCODD executive director Janet Zhou presenting a report titled ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Debt Management Frame work for Zimbabwe: A Civil Society Perspective on Debt Resolution’ said the state acquired some loans in a nebulous mode without following borrowing legal provisions bidding to suppress dissent.

“On the other hand, there are loans that did not benefit the people or were used to suppress citizens. Such loans are classified as odious because they were only used to perpetuate and extend the tenure of the previous regimes.

“As highlighted above, the country finds itself in debt distress due to faulty loan contraction processes, violation of constitutional and legal provision on debt and poor debt management. Such debts are not the obligation of the state and thus should be cancelled from the national balance sheet.  Instead legal proceedings against those responsible should commence immediately,” Zhou said.

The call for debt audit is growing louder by the day with huge suspicion from civil society that some of the loans did not bring any good for the country but instead benefited political big wigs who should take responsibility of repaying without burdening the tax payers.