Friday, April 18, 2008

VJ urges creation of fund over oil prices

VJ urges creation of fund over oil prices
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Friday April 18, 2008 [04:00]

FORMER information minister Vernon Mwaanga has called on industrialised nations and the OPEC to create a fund to cushion the impact of global oil prices on the world’s poor. And Mwaanga said there seems to be an election integrity deficit in Zimbabwe that needed to be addressed. Commenting on the global oil prices that hit US $115 a barrel on Wednesday, Mwaanga yesterday said the increase would slowdown anticipated economic growth in developing countries.

Mwaanga said global financial crisis coupled with global credit crunch and the energy crisis would have devastating effects on economies of poorer countries.

“We are moving towards a situation where there will be food deficits everywhere and the fight against hunger cannot be sustained under these harsh global conditions,” Mwaanga said. “The cost of transport will go up, the cost of running government will go up, the cost of running factories will go up, the cost of farming will go up making basic food stuffs, rice and maize, beyond the poorer citizens of the world.”

Mwaanga, a fellow of the London Institute of Directors, called for a global response in form of setting up a fund to be financed primarily by the western countries and Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) to cushion the impact of the oil prices on the poor.

“Globalisation does not mean we must crush the poor; it means that we should all make efforts to overcome the adverse conditions that have arisen,” Mwaanga said. “The G-8 and OPEC have a duty to help poor countries overcome energy price shocks.”

Mwaanga said market forces should be tamed to protect the global economy because it was clear the current oil prices were no longer sustainable, especially for the poor.

And Mwaanga said what was happening in Zimbabwe did not increase confidence among citizens of that country and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) that there was democracy and electoral infrastructure to satisfy their needs.

Mwaanga said the holding of free and fair elections was not a panacea for all problems but was an essential ingredient for goof governance. He said it was an indictment on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that presidential election results in Zimbabwe have not been announced almost three weeks after voting.

Mwaanga said it was pointless to call for a re-run of the elections when Zimbabweans did not know the outcome. He said the situation in Zimbabwe showed that not withstanding the various protocols on holding of free and fair elections in the SADC region, there were countries that were less committed to the processes.

He said Zimbabwe has not met the clear guidelines adopted by SADC member states in Mauritius in 2004.

“We must care about our image, an election is not an event, it’s a process and it should be seen to be free and fair,” said Mwaanga.

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