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The Lost Week at Davos 22

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean leaders have a penchant for pursuing populist things. In a week that could have been used for better things, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his entourage were in Davos, Switzerland, socializing with the rich and famous, but nothing tangible came of it.

This seems too harsh for the regime which was born via a coup in November 2017. He attends jamborees which make him feel like he is whitewashing the horrible things they are accused of doing at home and gives them photo opportunities to show the lumpen voters of the proletariat. before the crucial general elections of 2023.

For the uninitiated, the World Economic Forum (Wef), is “an international non-governmental and lobbying organization based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on January 24, 1971, by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwabannual,” according to the organization’s website.

The organization has been around for over half a century, 51 years to be exact.

What is an international non-governmental organization? What is lobbying?

An international non-governmental organization is an organization which is independent of any governmental intervention and extends the concept of non-governmental organization to an international scope according to
Wikipedia.

The purpose of an international non-governmental organization is above all to “defend or promote a specific cause”. In this case, Wef is a group of companies and they usually push for better working or operating environments. In their jargon, this means low taxes, tax exemptions, the privatization of state-owned enterprises and the deregulation of foreign exchange. We will come back to what this means for developing countries like Zimbabwe.

We have yet another word to define — lobbying. According to the Oxford dictionary, it means “to seek to influence (a legislator) on a matter”.

Simply put, lobbyists seek to rule behind the scenes. They force elected officials to give up their election manifestos and instead make their offer in exchange for providing thriving economies (big profits for capital).

This is the event Mnangagwa has witnessed for the third time since coming to power. The fruits of stays can be easily seen. The accelerated privatization of state mines (Kuvimba), the privatization of health facilities (Sakunda), the proposed privatization of Air Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Railways, the privatization of power generation and the privatization of roads (concessions). Oh, I forgot the privatization of Cold Storage Commission, the former largest meat processor in sub-Saharan Africa.

The government is on privatization steroids.

Mnangagwa is busy selling the family silverware. Soon everything will be in private hands and Zimbabweans will be in a feudal state.

The Wef speaks in euphemisms to confuse the public. On its website, it says: “The 2022 Annual Meeting will embody the World Economic Forum’s philosophy of collaborative, multi-stakeholder impact, providing a unique collaborative environment in which to reconnect, share ideas, gain new insights and create problem-solving communities and initiatives. Against a backdrop of deepening global frictions and fractures, this will be the starting point for a new era of global responsibility and cooperation.

To prove how futile this endeavor is, one need not look beyond the caliber of the world leaders who have been involved in it. Russia and China, two of the world’s biggest players in politics and economics, did not send their leaders.

Interestingly, these countries are at the heart of what is known as “deepening global frictions and divides”. So, one wonders how to build a “new era of global responsibility and cooperation” without these two?

It may seem simple and sensible to most, but not to Mnangagwa, that participating in the WEF is an exercise in futility. This will not lead the European Union and the United States to lift the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Globally, how is Western attendance at the WEF interpreted in the diplomatic world, given that most investment in Zimbabwe has come from China and Russia over the past decade?

This indicates one thing, Zimbabwe is confused in its foreign policy at worst and a jellied foreign post at worst. And that doesn’t bode well for Zimbabwe.

To further refine this point, the United States passed legislation last week that will control which countries maintain friendly relations with Russia. It came as no surprise, but the culmination of a bloody nose the United States poked out of the United Nations General Assembly in votes it sponsored against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Mnangagwa must stop this nonsense of attending a summit or a conference because big names are present. He must weigh what are the benefits of attending such a meeting for Zimbabwe.

Within a week he chartered a private jet to Davos with a bloated entourage and hired supporters to greet him, next in South Africa they were rolling out the red carpet for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. It was a sort of coup for Cyril Ramaphosa. Germany is the largest economy in the EU.

Without dwelling on the subject, Ramaphosa knows what role German investors play in the South African automotive industry. Doesn’t Mnangagwa see this and the need to talk to our big investors? After all, the West has, over the past two decades, thrown all sorts of sticks to ensure that Zimbabwe’s economy screams – and it does scream.

One more point, if Mnangagwa thinks it’s worth flying tens of thousands of miles to meet with international NGOs and lobbyists, why is he snubbing local NGOs who may also have local solutions to local problems? I guess charity starts at home.

Mnangagwa should come back and urgently tackle spiraling inflation, the rapid depreciation of the local currency against the greenback, cut fuel taxes and raise taxes for big business making super -profits during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to fly without a rudder, nor outsource its management to private capital. Something has to give before social unrest looms. Mnangagwa and his ilk must stop everything, including stealing, until the household issues are resolved.