Harare – The World Bank country director for Zimbabwe, Guang Zhe Chen, has responded to a recent petition by Zimbabwean activist Patson Dzamara, calling on the international lending institution not to resume support for the southern African country.
According to The Southern Daily, the outspoken political activist delivered an “epic, touching, heartfelt” petition to the global financial institution this month.
Dzamara’s petition followed reports that the World Bank was considering giving the southern African country a line of credit to pull it out of its economic crisis.
Dzamara, however, urged the World Bank not to lend money to Mugabe’s government.
He highlighted that it was with “growing concern that the citizens of Zimbabwe are observing our government’s re-engagement with the international community, more specifically such as your own. For over a decade, despite cosmetic changes and several elections of questionable validity, this same government in its various incarnations has presided over the catastrophic decline of the economy”.
Dzamara described the “re-engagement process” as a “disappointment” and a “betrayal” to the people of Zimbabwe.
“For an international institution such as the World Bank to now even consider extending financial help to such a government is more than disappointing, it is a betrayal.
“Let me be clear. Any such financial aid would NOT be extended to Zimbabweans, and would NOT benefit people on the ground. Quite the contrary, it would extend the life-span of a crumbling regime that is harmful to the future of the people and nation of Zimbabwe,” read parts of the petition.
In response to Dzamara’s petition, the World Bank waved the reports, saying that it was not offering aid to the Zimbabwean government, but was maintaining small support for various institutions in the country.
The World Bank said it had stopped lending funds to the Zimbabwe due to the government’s unpaid debt. It said, however, that Zimbabwe would be considered once its debt was cleared.
The World Bank further invited Dzamara to be part of the discussion which would assist policy makers in crafting a policy document for the country.
“… The World Bank can only resume direct financial support to Zimbabwe when the issue of arrears is fully resolved. This approach is standard to all international financial institution.
“Upon arrears clearance, however, Zimbabwe would be eligible as a borrowing member of the bank to a broad range of financing instruments, all of which would be subjected to the strong safeguard policies and mechanics mentioned above,” said Guang Zhe Chen.
Speaking during an interview with News24, Dzamara said the Word Bank’s response was “encouraging and fruitful”.
“We can’t endorse the government on its re-engagement plans. And we are going to speak to all strategic institutions who might offer a lifeline to Mugabe’s government,” said Dzamara.
“They were very thorough in looking into our grievances. They actually took their time before responding to us and the response we have received from them is very encouraging.
“We hope that they would not give a lifeline to a dictator whose government is corrupt. Where is the $15bn in revenue that was supposed to be received through the sale of our diamonds? We are in the situation that we’re in as a country because of the government’s misrule and mismanagement.”