UK vows not to give aid with Gono at the helm

LONDON, – Britain's Minister for Africa, Lord Malloch-Brown, has vowed that Zimbabwe will not receive an aid package long as the country's Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono remains at the helm. Robert Mugabe has vowed to stand by his discredited rogue Reserve Bank Governor.

Malloch-Brown spoke on BBC Radio 4’s World at One Tuesday about the future of Zimbabwe and clearly outlined that it will be reckless for Britain to pour money into Zimbabwe when there is a clear and present danger that the money would be stolen by Gono. Opposition MDC factions have been calling for Gono’s ouster since they entered into a power sharing agreement in September last year.

President Mugabe has however, vowed that Gono is not going anywhere. Mugabe actually claims Gono has done a “fantastic job” busting sanctions allegedly campaigned for by the MDC.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been frantically looking for money to fund the inclusive government as head, but Britain is refusing to give that sort of support if Gono remains at the central bank.

Malloch-Brown said: "Yes we are holding back from general budget support to the (Zimbabwe) Government because we just don’t have the confidence that the people who write the cheques and control the central bank are honest people who we could safely trust with British tax payers’ money."

Malloch-Brown denied that Britain was deliberately holding back on spending, not just on budget aid but also on humanitarian aid. However, the International Federation of the Red Cross has warned that it may even have to stop its operations in Zimbabwe and pull out for lack of funding.

Britain, however, insists that it is committed to offering humanitarian aid to Zimbabweans. He said the global financial crunch had also hit hard on aid budgetary support.

"You know we’ll take a look at it and despite, frankly, the incredibly difficult budget situation that our aid programme is facing globally at the moment with a lot of demands on it because of the economic crisis that is hitting a lot of poor countries," Malloch-Brown said.

He agreed that the inclusive government had just two months to make power sharing work or it’s dead. He said "this situation is not one which is sustainable for very long. You know my feeling is it probably won’t (work) but my hope is it will and I certainly don’t want to, in a sense, write its obituary already but all I’m saying is our support to power sharing will rest on power sharing being just that, that Morgan Tsvangirai really can be an effective Prime Minister," Malloch-Brown said. "If he can’t all bets are off."

He refused to say if Britain would come in with something much more radical such as international intervention if the power-sharing collapses such as the "responsibility to protect" clause under UN statutes.

"Well Robert Mugabe would love to hear a British Minister say if this doesn’t work there’s going to be an intervention, that’s probably worth several political rallies to him and I, I’m not going to say that because we’ve long since ruled out an international intervention, even a strengthened set of economic steps against the regime, couldn’t secure Security Council approval earlier in the year, there just isn’t the basis for that international intervention and your interview with Jacob Zuma, you know, showed that very, very clearly," Malloch-Brown said.

"I think South Africa will have to take a much tougher stand and we would support South Africa in doing that."

Malloch-Brown slammed the "quiet diplomacy" policy and said it was endorsement of a tyrant with no democratic mandate from his people. This has been the problem throughout that in the interests of even handedness South African policy is tilted much to much towards President Mugabe and turned a blind eye to the fact that he no longer enjoyed a democratic mandate, was in office by force and terror tactics and negotiating with someone like that is not easy," Malloch-Brown said.

"But, you know, South Africa has made this deal, it’s made the bed if you like and it’s got to lie in it with the two parties to the deal and, you know, South Africa has impressed on us that they want to give it a chance of working and, you know, we’re reluctantly, cautiously, willing to go along with that. There may come a moment where this even handedness which is implicitly pro-Mugabe really has to stop for the sake of Zimbabwe’s survival." (Afrik.com)