Keep Your Aid, Mugabe Tells Donors


By Kitsepile Nyathi –

Harare — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said that the impoverished country does not need financial support from the West to kick start its comatose economy.

Mugabe’s remarks at a Zanu-PF central committee meeting in Harare came a week after the European Union demanded evidence of more progress in the implementation of a power sharing agreement he signed with his former arch rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai before normal ties are restored.

The unity government has failed to perform to expectations because Western donors have refused to fund its programmes as they insist on tangible reforms.

At least US$810 million of the country’s US$2,25 billion budget was supposed to come from external sources but the donors have remained tight-fisted forcing the coalition to look for alternative sources.

“Zimbabwe shall recover by her wits and resources,” Mugabe said. “Zimbabwe will not be saved by any country or organisation, least of all Western.

“Let our partners in the inclusive government get that so that we do not waste our efforts on useless initiatives.”

“It is our mineral resources – all these helped by the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our people which will turn this economy and country around.”

The ageing leader insisted that his economic recovery can only be underpinned by its agriculture and mineral resources.

Zimbabwe’s once prosperous agro-based economy started declining around 2000 when militant supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party started invading white owned commercial farms. Half of the country’s population now depends on food aid.

However, the country has been sitting on a stockpile of diamonds worth about US$1.7 billion over a dispute involving the Kimberly Process – the regulator in the international trade of the precious stones.

Mugabe accused the some Western countries of trying to constrain his country’s economy by lobbying for the boycott of its diamonds.

“Our diamonds are not only bright and clean, they are greatly demanded worldwide,” he said. “We have the technology to polish them. Let no one doubt our resolve… with or without the KP, with or without the blessing of the USA, Canada, Australia or their NGO pawns. We do not need the blessings of anyone, least of all nations with chequered origins.”

The KP will meet in Russia next month to discuss Zimbabwean diamonds after a meeting in Israel last month failed to reach consensus on whether the country should resume exports of diamonds from the controversial Marange fields.