Uncle Sam’s grip loosening

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TWO critical issues, which are a strong signal of the beginning of the end of the US’ stranglehold on global affairs happened last week and, as has become the norm over the past two decades, Zimbabwe found itself very much in the thick of things.

First was the rather disconcerting attempt by Uncle Sam to destabilise the IMF over its alleged failure to dance to the now old and tired tune of an equally worn-out master.

Not that we are friends or that we find value with anything to do with the IMF but we take head-on anything that reeks of the US’ now customary bully tactics.

As such, we will do the bidding on behalf of the IMF, begrudgingly though.

The IMF which has abused smaller nations for years through its so-called structural adjustment programmes which have done more harm than good to economies, with the tacit support of the US, the institution’s largest shareholder, recently found itself in the eye of a storm after its managing director Kristalina Goergieva allegedly ‘influenced’ a World Bank’s ranking of China’s business climate in 2018.

The US, which has been at loggerheads with China in recent times, tried to push for the ouster of Georgieva — like it tried, with no success, to oust Zimbabwean leaders since 2000.

A miffed Uncle Sam tried to bully the IMF board into firing Georgieva for going to bed with its nemesis China, which has been Zimbabwe’s friend since the days of the liberation struggle.

But for once, the world united against the US’ abuse and leapt to the defence of the beleaguered Georgieva.

In all fairness, Georgieva has done well under difficult conditions wrought by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, availing cushioning funds to the IMF’s members, including Zimbabwe which received US$1 billion under the institution’s Special Drawing Rights scheme.

But as one would expect, that has done little to mollify Uncle Sam’s seething rage with China which has also emerged as Africa and Zimbabwe’s biggest investor at a time when Harare is reeling from the US’ illegal economic sanctions.

Anyone or anything that associates with China must be culled, mercilessly at that.

Accusations against the embattled Georgieva are that she improperly influenced her subordinates at the World Bank, where she was the global lender’s CEO, to give China a higher ranking in the Doing Business 2018 Report.  

Last month, a report by law firm WilmerHale claimed that ‘Georgieva became directly involved in efforts to improve China’s ranking (in the Doing Business Report)’ during her time at the World Bank.

She was the World Bank’s CEO from 2017 until late 2019 when she joined the IMF as managing director.

But in a statement on September 16 2021, Georgieva said:

“I disagree fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of the Wilmer Hale report.”

Despite having initially sought to abuse the hapless Georgieva, saying that the allegations were ‘serious’ and calling for her resignation, Uncle Sam was forced to eat humble pie after the whole world threw its weight behind the IMF managing director.

“Accordingly, the US believes proactive steps must be taken to reinforce data integrity and credibility at the IMF,” the Treasury said on Monday last week.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel economics laureate, described the alleged data changes as a ‘rounding error’.

He duly laid siege on global powers that have abused the IMF to manipulate so-called poor nations.

“What is not surprising is that it has brought out of the woodwork all the people responsible for the failed policies of the old IMF,” he said. 

“This is a political attempt to stop the IMF from moving in a direction that rejects the failed structural adjustment policies of the past toward new policy directions like climate change.” 

While the US was still smarting from its embarrassing failure to abuse the IMF, China came out guns blazing, taking aim at Uncle Sam’s attempts to sway global opinion against Beijing.

The US, China said, has been bankrolling a sustained, relentless smear campaign against Chinese investments in Zimbabwe.

Without holding back, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement that the US’ decision to sponsor the smear campaign was ‘despicable’.

Recently, the country’s flagship newspaper, The Herald, published a damning article on the US’ plan to discredit China as hostile to its investment destinations.

China is currently carrying out a number developmental projects and has since emerged as Zimbabwe’s biggest investor since 2000.

The Herald’s story revealed how journalists from the private media are being trained by the Information for Development Trust, an organisation funded by the US Embassy in Harare, to malign Chinese investments and operations in Zimbabwe. 

The Information for Development Trust claims to be ‘a Zimbabwean investigative journalism centre’ but it has since emerged that the organisation, which is paying local scribes US$1 000 for each anti-Chinese story, is in fact a wholly owned and funded US entity which is taking money and instructions from the US Embassy in Harare.

We will unravel their project in the near future.

And we will not be surprised to see scholarships and other ‘gifts’ being dished out to  our ‘brave’ brothers and sisters from that part of the media by the US.

That is the price of delivering the motherland to the enemy on a not so silver platter.

But one way or another, Uncle Sam’s once firm grip on the levers of global power is gradually slipping and we are watching gleefully as we head towards the inevitable. 

Let us hear China speak.

“In Zimbabwe, 1 000 US dollars are enough to fund a poor student or help the military to buy 100 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. If the US government, as the media reports said, used this money to hire paid posters for spreading misinformation, then it can be called a wicked act,” said Zhao.
“For a long time, the US has done whatever it considers necessary, without holding anything back, to smear China and sabotage China-Africa relations, and has even gone so far as to use paid posters to spread misinformation. The aforesaid media reports demonstrate that the international community, including the vast number of African countries, is clearly aware of the disinformation from the US, and abhor the despicable means of fabrications and slanders by the US which have crossed the bottom-line.” 

There is a clock that is slowly ticking down for all those who are being paid to massage and caress Uncle Sam’s inflated ego.

It sounds something like the Patriotic Act and we will gladly point out to certain people within our usually pacific midst that ‘we warned you’ when that law, which is on its way, begins to take its course.

Let those with ears listen.

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