US hatred for Zim and Adesina  …the land connection


US Assistant Secretary of Treasury Eric Meyer’s recent utterances that his country was opposed to Zimbabwe’s debt restructuring efforts through the AfDB are evidence of lingering anger in Washington over the embarrassing failure to block the re-election of Dr Akinwumi Adesina three years ago as President of the Bank and that the man is now spearheading Harare’s arrears clearance drive.

US Assistant Secretary of Treasury Eric Meyer.

There are unnerving similarities between Zimbabwe and Dr Adesina’s abuse by the US, all emanating from the land issue and buttressing the widely held view from across the progressive world that Uncle Sam is opposed to the economic emancipation of peoples from the so-called developing countries.

Zimbabwe embarked on the revolutionary Land Reform and Resettlement Programme in 2000 while Dr Adesina’s strategic interventions as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture prior to his assumption of office as AfDB president in 2015 drew the ire of Uncle Sam.

Where Zimbabwe was slapped with illegal economic sanctions which have cost the country a staggering US$45 billion as at 2019, Dr Adesina had to contend with a relentless onslaught from Uncle Sam’s malicious propaganda and slander in 2020 on the eve of his unopposed August 27 2020 re-election for a second term at the Bank.

This is why in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, on Wednesday last week, during a Roundtable meeting on Harare’s Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Process Dialogue, it was not difficult to decipher from Meyer’s statements that land was at the core of his revelations that the US would not participate in any process to endorse Zimbabwe’s ongoing efforts to settle its debt which now sits at a staggering US$17 billion, owed to local and international creditors.

The US imposed illegal economic sanctions in the early 2000s over Harare’s decision to redress colonial imbalances on land ownership in the country.

Section 4C of Uncle Sam’s December 21 2001 sanctions law, ZDERA, titled ‘Multilateral Financing Restriction’, puts Zimbabwe on a credit freeze which empowers the US to waylay International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including the AfDB, to block extension of funding and lines of credit to Harare and, according to Meyer’s inadvertent revelations, the category now includes opposing and/or blocking of the country’s arrears clearance and debt restructuring processes.

“I know President Dr Adesina mentioned ZDERA in the United States. The Act does bind us in opposing lending to Zimbabwe from international financial institutions and until certain criteria under ZDERA are met,” said Meyer, skirting the real issue of why the Act was put in place.

“I want to touch on what really some of those criteria are. They are related to the rule of law, free and fair elections, pre-elections insisting on international standards, land reform and related civilian authority over the military and the police.”

There is no prize for guessing that Uncle Sam’s resentment of any process related to Zimbabwe’s efforts to uplift the livelihoods of its citizens and clearing its areas is firmly anchored on their bizarre attempt to reverse the land reform pre-1998 land tenure and ownership patterns where just 4 000 white commercial farmers owned and controlled about 87 percent of the country’s prime land.

This is what the US refers to as the ‘rule of law’ which they frantically try to tie to what they say are, or would be, ‘free and fair elections, pre-elections insisting on international standards’, in essence an election won by the opposition and endorsed by the West which haughtily calls itself the ‘international community’.

This is where the opposition comes into play, albeit for terribly wrong reasons.

The opposition in Zimbabwe, besides being hopelessly out of sorts, thrives on blindly pursuing their Western handlers’ untenable regime change push.

Their sole mandate, which they ingeniously follow to the letter and spirit, is to hand over the land back to white commercial farmers, something that their leaders have failed to deny in their hollow policy pronouncements.

Everything else, especially the economic empowerment of the masses, matters little in the general scheme of things.

Their wretched record in areas they control is there for all to see — dirty streets, suffocating stench from water taps if and when water is available, and breath-taking incompetence in all aspects of leadership and governance; all this coupled with embarrassing fights and incessant splits over donor funding aptly captures the essence of their alienation.

This too is where the objectives of the liberation struggle come into play, all for the right reasons.

The country’s war of liberation was primarily about handing over the land back to its rightful owners, the people of Zimbabwe.

Even when Zimbabwe initiates a programme of compensating those white farmers for developments made on the land they possessed, that is not and can never be enough for Uncle Sam until the land goes back into the hands of its previous ‘owners’.

Thus, the West’s relentless fight against Zimbabwe is about the land.

“We are participating in this strategic dialogue and we are doing this because of the importance of these reforms that extend beyond everything. These reforms, if successfully executed, will create the conditions for social and economic growth,” said Meyer, maliciously regurgitating his country’s now tired reforms mantra and conveniently ignoring that Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development efforts are being hampered by his country’s sanctions.

“It’s imperative for Zimbabwe to demonstrate credible progress in implementing governance, economic and land reforms. Not just reaching agreements with partners but implementing those agreements.”

These statements once again cast the spotlight on the re-engagement programme being pursued by the Government, with particular focus on the sincerity of those we are trying to find common ground with — all this in the wake of Uncle Sam’s past history with Dr Adesina in particular.

The compelling question would be: Do we have a sincere and willing partner in Uncle Sam who is evidently bidding his time in anticipation of a highly unlikely CCC victory in the August harmonised elections?

Will Dr Adesina’s strenuous efforts be embraced by the same Uncle Sam who is openly proving to be a stumbling block to the arrears clearance and debt restructuring plan and once tried to block his ascendancy to the helm of the AfDB?

Here is why:

In May 2020, just three months before he was re-elected unopposed for a second term, a Western funded cabal within the AfDB, ‘The Group of Concerned Staff Members of the AfDB’ claimed via emails sent to two executive directors of the Bank, Yano Takuji and Steven Dowd as well as director for its Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department Alan Bacaresse from January of that year that Dr Adesina had abused the bank’s resources among a host of untested allegations.

But an internal investigation carried out by the Bank’s Ethics Committee which was headed by Takuji cleared him of wrongdoing, stating that Dr Adesina ‘was totally exonerated of all allegations made against him’ was rejected by then US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

“We fear that the wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics. Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage,”  wrote Mnuchin.

A so-called ‘High-Level Panel of Independent Experts’ mandated to review the Ethics Committee’s clearance of Dr Adesina was damning in its assessment.

It said: “It has considered the president’s submissions on their face and find them consistent with his innocence and to be more persuasive. Complaints were correctly dismissed at the stage of preliminary examination,” adding that ‘complaints did not satisfy the threshold of credibility and substantiation’.

Dr Adesina’s crime was his transformational interventions both as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and as president of the AfDB.

Under his term as Minister in Nigeria, he oversaw a boom in rice production which meant a decline in the country’s import bill and capacitation of local farmers and saw the AfDB’s capitalisation rise from US$93 billion in 2015 to US$208 billion in 2020.

In 2019, financial ratings agency, S&P gave the AfDB ‘Triple A’ for an outstanding performance.

When Zimbabwe and Africa’s story is finally told in full, there will be no escaping that the West, led by the US, were on an all-out war to subdue the will and collective aspirations of the Zimbabwean masses.

This is a war that is being waged on all fronts, particularly the economic front, but one which always falters at the ballot as has been the case in the recent past and as it shall be in August 2023.


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