Engage the “bullies” to win this economic war

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The United States of America (US), this week, once again tightened the noose on Zimbabwe when it extended sanctions against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration in a show of no confidence – something we think will further harm our ailing economy and derail re-engagement with the Western world.

President Donald Trump says the sanctions will remain “until the government changes Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests.”

A total of 141 companies and individuals in Zimbabwe are currently under US sanctions, including Mnangagwa and former PAresident Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa has called for the sanctions to be lifted against the ZANU-PF ruling party, top military figures and some government-owned firms, which were imposed during Mugabe’s rule over what the US said were human rights violations and undermining of the democratic process.

Said Trump: “The actions and policies of these persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States,” Trumpsaid in a notice announcing the extension.

“I am continuing for [one] year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288.”

We are of the view that the US should stop meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe and stop treating her as a US colony by dictating how interior issues must be solved. Rather, the so called super power must dump the big brother mentality and find diplomatic ways of dealing with Zimbabwe. However, it is part of their foreign policy to boss countries such as Zimbabwe into their ideological beliefs because they have the economic stamina. Herein lies the painful fact for our government.

While Zimbabwe is a sovereign state, but the fact of the matter is that we still have to rely on those Western powers for economic recovery. We badly need them. No wonder why President Mnangagwa wanted to re-integrate into the Commonwealth, while at the same time charming the Western powers before he was elected on July 30 this year.

Zimbabwe is going through an economic crisis which is punctuated by low on cash reserves, severe fuel shortages, an unease currency and rising inflation. The country is also battling a US$20 billion domestic and foreign debt with some of the money owed to international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

To demonstrate that we still have to heavily rely on the West, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube this week visited the IMF headquarters in Washington DC where he met the institution’s managing director Christine Lagarde to “provide an update on the progress of Zimbabwe’s economic reforms since our last meeting at the IMF annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia.”

It is against this background that the Business Times humbly advice President Mnangagwa’s administration to bite the bullet and engage the “bullies” in an endeavor to rescue the dire situation the country finds itself.

Zimbabwe has not been eligible to access fresh credit lines from global funders after defaulting on its debt.

The debt arrears have affected Zimbabwe’s credit rating, making it a pariah in international capital markets.

President Mnangagwa’s initiative to re-engage the US and other Western powers must be taken seriously if we are to get out of this quagmire. Some say the best way to destroy your enemy is to make him a friend.

Luke 6 Verse 27-29 reads: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

There is nothing wrong in engaging your enemy.