The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema
Honourable Julius Malema, A few weeks ago you were placed on record making very preposterous claims regarding the President of Zimbabwe, His government, his policies, and the general welfare of Zimbabweans.
In very implicit terms, you expressed very disturbing opinions to the effect that Zimbabwe’s problems are not the making of an individual, but collective efforts of external and politicised ‘white capital’ interests. You exonerated Cde Robert Mugabe and his regime of any fault at all. You called the situation in Zimbabwe a ‘necessary pain’ that African societies must all endure in their efforts for liberation.
Having mulled over your remarks, I have come to the conclusions that; one, you are looking to score cheap popularity gains through nationalism, and blind populism. And two, you are hopelessly misinformed about the true nature and magnitude of Zimbabwe’s problems, while repulsively insensitive to the plight of over 13 million Zimbabweans, of whom a staggering 5 million are camped illegally in your country as I write this.
Honourable Malema, by the positions you uttered, I have come to the informed supposition that your thought configurations are not commensurate with the title of ‘Honourable’, or the office of a leader of a movement founded on sovereignty like the Economic Freedom Fighters, never mind the hopes you harbour of one day becoming the President of a model democracy like The Republic of South Africa.
There are several hard reasons why I have come to such a disappointing conclusion, and like many South Africans of noble minds, have categorically written you off to the unforgiving label of a political clown fetched from the scariest of horror sequels.
To begin with, at the most simple level, Zimbabwe’s economic problems that culminated in total paralysis in 2008 are categorically not the sophisticated architecture of western imperialists and white ‘capital’ as you bellow. If you had the slightest inclination to indulge yourself into reading any book about post-colonial Zimbabwe, or speaking to an informed economist, you too, would know this; but perhaps reading, like thinking, is not your thing.
Need I inform you sir, that between 1980 and 2000, Zimbabwe’s government spectacularly indulged itself into bad policy making binges of the most shocking order. Incompetent high ranking officials looted public funds, and ran state parastatals dry. In that period, several critical decisions derailed the economy significantly. It may require a comprehensive 10, 000 paged book to note all the evils perpetrated by the Zimbabwe government, and how they have annihilated the economy, but I will perhaps explain the few critical ones to cure your ignorance.Advertisement
In August 1997, approximately 60,000 liberation war veterans were granted ZWD $50, 000 each (about USD $3, 000 at the time), plus a monthly pension of approximately USD $125 per month outside the budget. The payouts amounted to almost three percent of GDP at the time and this had the immediate effect of inflating the budget deficit by 55 percent.
The second populist decision followed in November 1997 when the president, Mugabe, announced plans to compulsorily acquire white-owned commercial farms and land. The immediate effect was devastating in its simplicity and consequence. Investors were simply scared off and the perception of an ensuing precarious fiscal position was rubber stamped. Consequently there were spontaneous and concerted runs against the currency from money and capital markets.
The climax of these events was on 14 November 1997 when the Zimbabwean dollar crashed and lost 75 percent of its value against the USD in a single day, on what is now known as “Black Friday” in Zimbabwean economic history. The stock market also plummeted and the index was down 46 percent by day end.
Against all sound economic reason, and despite an economy bleeding dry and tottering towards collapse, in September 1998 the president agreed to send 11,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to back the discredited leader, Laurent Kabila, who was under attack from Rwandan and Ugandan backed rebels. That war is estimated to have cost the Zimbabwean government over US$33 Million a month; money which the government did not have.
In the while, under the watch of your hero, our President, and with no consequence, corruption ran riot. There are at least two easily remembered corruption scandals that crippled critical specific sectors of the economy. Like the banking sector (Boka Scandal) and the Willowvale Scandal (Motor Industry Sector). The officially accepted figure for the amount of money the economy was prejudiced is an excess of a conservative US$2 Billion (25 Billion Rand). Yet you have the nerve to disrupt parliament and rant about Nkandla?
In the fewest possible words, that Sir, is how the Zimbabwean economy was absolutely tanked by a government you clownishly claim has the interests of its people at heart. You will need to be reminded that the crisis we saw in 2008 would have been much worse, had the ‘white imperialists’ you criticize decided not aid Zimbabwe. In fact, between 2000-2009, the United States of America, long accused of damaging Zimbabwe were and still remain the biggest donor, contributing well over US$900 million (10 billion rand) in direct aid.
Your utterances on Zimbabwean elections, politics, and genocide are also foolishly propagandized. You Sir, claim that Robert Mugabe has never overseen any mass massacre of any dissenting individuals, and that he has repeatedly won overwhelmingly democratic elections. Both claims are equally troubling and inherently untrue.
In the mid 1980’s, a conservatively estimated 20,000 Ndebele people were murdered in mass, brutalized and buried in mass graves. By definition the massacres qualify as genocide, and have been classified as such. President Mugabe himself has called it a ‘moment of madness’. That you are ignorant of this is monumentally abominable.
In 2008, election results showed that the MDC had not garnered enough votes to be declared outright winners in the preceding harmonized elections. By law, the electoral commission was supposed to ensure a run-off was held within 21 days. This, as you know, is not what happened, and the 21 day period elapsed amid extraordinary violence and repression. Nonetheless, the winner of the first round of elections (Morgan Tsvangirai) must have been automatically declared de jure President. In obvious violation of rules, he was not.
That is not all. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had on 28 March 2008, just before the election, admitted that the voters’ roll to be used in the very elections was “in shambles” after the opposition had unearthed 8,000 voters who according to the roll, were “normally resident” in a residential block that has no buildings and a shack that had 75 registered voters. This was in Hatcliff alone. Despite all this, and much more, you still claim that the man has repeatedly won ‘democratic’ elections in the country, and is the people’s choice?
Honorable Malema, either your concept of democracy is as flawed as Stalin’s, or you’re a budding bully who is seeking to reduce the atrocities in Zimbabwe to acceptable levels, so that you may do the same with no shame in South Africa. Mr Malema, to suggest, even in the mildest of terms that the perpetual oppression, repression, and exploitation of Zimbabweans is due, warranted, necessary for the greater good, borders on incredible insanity.
Or perhaps you do not know the Zimbabwe you speak of? Well, let me help you intellectualize this. As I write this to you, my brothers and sisters are dying in the hundreds of thousands, from avoidable man-made vices like Cholera; no sanitation at all and widespread food shortage, to mention just a few. How is unavoidable death of this variety necessary in the fight against imperialism?
And oh! The wealth, the economic freedom you sing so often about! I will be blunt with you. The mineral resources we are continuously expounded about mean absolutely nothing when the powerful elite are the only ones profiting and if they bring nothing but further poverty. Indigenisation and land reform have not resettled wealth into the hands of ‘black capital’. The only thing they have done is resettle poverty onto our fertile lands, and huge mineral deposits.
This is not only happening under the watch of the President you esteem, but his officials continue to rack up personal wealth at public expense amounting to billions of rand. Their actions are the first and foremost direct cause of the chaos that is the country today.
Confrères like Cuthbert Dube, earned a cool but corrupt R3 Million, while the state medical aid society he presides over cannot afford to pay for the most basic medical procedures that cost a few hundred rand, let alone its own work force. Dube is not the only one, yet, he, like many, remains free today, with no hope of prosecution, because, like you, choose to sing songs of undue praise to the Zanu PF government. Is this your esteemed model of governance Honorable Malema? If so, you must not be allowed within a 100 miles of presidential office.
I am not sure if you hope to be rewarded with a farm and huge mine like the cronies in Zimbabwe, or if you are hoping to, someday, do the same thing should you assume the presidency of South Africa. Nonetheless, both prospects are equally stomach turning, and I pray the South African electorate unite to make sure this does not happen.
Honorable, it is not only shocking that you endorse a government like Zimbabwe’s, but it is a terrible indictment on your person, your psyche, and humanity. Sir, I understand that you are at most times not the smartest person in the room, but this matter is simple. Zimbabwe is where it is today largely by the actions of Zanu PF governance or lack thereof. If the prevailing disorder they have orchestrated is your model nation, then you are plain crazy.
And it is worrying that you believe that Zimbabweans stand to gain from this deathly situation, so much so that you ultimately harbour wishes of seeing the rest of Africa, including South Africa, reach such levels of chaos, impoverishment and paralysis.
Zimbabweans are not even poor anymore, they are bordering on spectacular destitution. They are a hungry people, starving to death in multitudes. They have zero service delivery. At least an estimated 90% are unemployed, and vending has become the only means of survival. Once in a while, when one man decides to stand up against such, he is abducted in broad daylight.
Yes Malema, critics and opponents of President Mugabe have a sorry habit of either turning up dead, or just disappearing into thin air. He may not be the one sanctioning sad occurrences like these, but he is still the President and, under his watch, Zimbabwe is a scary place where opposition activists just vanish like evaporating water. But, I suppose this is all acceptable to you, and the architecture of ‘white capital forces’?
Given all this, and the vast information I have neglected to include here for space’s sake which I urge you to research on, I would kindly suggest that you apologize to the people of South Africa, for wanting to turn the new ‘bread basket’ of Africa, into another ‘basket case’ like Zimbabwe.
Mr Malema, you must also apologize to the rest of Africa, a people you believe must suffer the curse of the pain in Zimbabwe, because it defeats white capital. How on earth you can stand and have confidence that starving to death, or being repressed to demise defeats white imperialism makes no sense. But, then again, with you sir, not a lot things make sense.
Honorable, you must consider retracting your statements that no one has ever been killed by the actions of the government in Zimbabwe, as this claim is obvious hogwash. Your testimonials are uneducated, misinformed, and appall the victims of, the genocide of the mid-1980’s, the violence of 2000, 2002, 2008, 2013 and many others. But then again, judging by your ‘shoot the Boer’ rhetoric, methodical ethnic cleansing seems to excite you, so I will not hold my breath.
Lastly, Honorable Julius Malema, I urge you, with all the goodness of humanity, to please desist from arrogantly speaking from an uniformed base. It makes you look like an ‘idiot’. While you might fancy the title and revel in it, when it comes to matters as grave as a failed state, you not only become an ‘idiot’, but an offensive one too. And that is not acceptable. You are a human being sir, with a heart, not a cruel pit-bull, please behave like the former not the latter.
Maynard Manyowa is a Zimbabwean born, but South African-based political & social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via email – firstname.lastname@example.org , on Twitter – @iAmKudaMaynard