A fresh wave of farm invasions in Zimbabwe could reduce chances of the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation from producing a favourable report on Zimbabwe.
The team arrived in Harare last week for consultations with Zimbabwe’s
new unity government on the country’s economic situation and prospects as
well as efforts to address a deepening humanitarian crisis.
The IMF withdrew support to Zimbabwe in 1999 following differences with
President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues. However, a leading economic consultant John Robertson has painted a bleak picture on the resumption of financial lending citing the violent
invasions of the few remaining white-owned commercial farms by top officials
of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.
“The message this sends out is that President Mugabe is still supportive of
the criminal and lawless behaviour of his officials who want to loot and
grab,” said Robertson. “Investors will continue to see us as a lawless country which has no respect for property rights and the rule of law. The IMF has benchmarks and demands certain behaviour in exchange for its money. The invasions are a classic way of showing that nothing has changed despite the all inclusive government being in place.”
Defying Tsvangirai and Mugabe warnings
Mugabe and his long time rival Morgan Tsvangirai last month formed a
power-sharing government to tackle Zimbabwe’s economic and humanitarian
crisis. While Tsvangirai has promised to restore relations with Western countries including the IMF and other international institutions, Mugabe used the burial of a former military general at the weekend to denounce lawlessness and political violence that strained relations with the international community.
But farm invasions have continued across the country, while the Attorney
General’s office is pressing ahead with the prosecution of more 100 white
farmers for refusing to give up their land to top ZANU PF officials and
members of the security forces.
As farm evictions continued, Tsvangirai’s MDC party reported at the weekend
that ZANU PF militants burned down several houses belonging to MDC members in Manicaland province, in a fresh outbreak of violence that will cast
further doubt on the new unity government’s ability to stamp out
However Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma, who met the IMF delegation last Tuesday, played down the latest disturbances, saying that the IMF team had not even raised the issue of farm invasions during its discussions with him. The head of the IMF team, Vitaliy Kramarenko, was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
The IMF’s director for Africa, Antoinette Sayeh, last week told the media
that the Bretton Woods institution would not provide financial support to
Zimbabwe as yet because the southern African country needed to first clear
its arrears with the Fund before new assistance could be advanced.
Once a model African economy, Zimbabwe is suffering a debilitating economic
and humanitarian crisis that is highlighted by the world’s highest inflation
rate of more than 231 million percent, acute shortages of food and basic