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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 19:35

Recovery plan calls for rule of law and an end to farm invasions

By Tichaona Sibanda

NAMIBIA, March 19 (Pamzuka) - The inclusive government’s new ‘Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme’ (STERP), was officially launched on Thursday. It commits the administration to upholding the rule of law, as well as stopping any further farm invasions.

STERP is aimed at trying to rejuvenate the beleaguered economy, and the launch in Harare was in response to the severe economic challenges facing the country - at the centre of which is hyperinflation, deteriorating public service delivery and corruption.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said turning around the economy was the inclusive government’s toughest job. He said the new government needs at least US$2 billion to begin the revival.

The 122 page document outlines how the government wants to revive agriculture, which has been devastated following Robert Mugabe’s chaotic land reform programme, as well as mining, manufacturing and tourism. Biti said STERP was based on three pillars – the correction of the macro-economic environment, the democratization agenda and social protection and safety nets.

Under the democratization agenda, the economic blueprint spells out ways of strengthening the rule of law and good governance. It also focuses on the need to draft a people driven constitution and liberalize the media.

The Commercial Farmers Union has recently reported that ZANU PF supporters, aided by the police, have targeted at least 100 of the 400 farms remaining in the hands of white farmers. Biti told delegates at the launch that farmers must be given security on their land and a chance to grow their crops. Speaking at the same occasion, Mugabe who officially launched the blueprint, said that Zimbabwe needed to move away from ‘divisive and distractive activities and devote ourselves to a constructive and beneficial socio-economic reconstruction programme.’

‘The successful implementation of STERP will indeed require a substantial amount of resources... We hope these will be forthcoming,’ Mugabe said.

Economic analyst Isaac Dziya said Mugabe’s remarks about moving away from ‘divisive and distractive activities’ would be taken as a political statement, meant to give confidence to the international community.

‘Everyone in the world knows who was divisive and who was distractive, I guess it’s a way by Mugabe to try and redeem himself to the international community. But if he wants this inclusive government to work he really needs to push through democratic reforms,’ Dziya said.

‘The recovery programme will work if they put their commitments into it. If cabinet has decided to stop the farm invasions and commit themselves to upholding the rule of law, then they will get a favourable response from donors, who have long called for the return of the rule of law,’ Dziya said. (END/2009)



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