Friday, July 3, 2020

“There is no collusion…”

The months following Robert Mugabe’s ouster in Zimbabwe have shown the international community’s humbling fondness for Zimbabwe.

Almost everyone has been wishing us well, with big international corporations expressing keen interest in investing in the country.

Investment pledges are still pouring in while executives from zillion international companies fly in to get a feel of this wonderful country that has captivated the world for good and, unfortunately, for worse, since way before independence.                         

And they still love Zimbabwe.

Their desire to settle their businesses in Zimbabwe is evidenced by how much at play the words “free and fair elections” are being mouthed by almost everyone, except the Chinese and South Africans.

Those who want to make proper investment in Zimbabwe are concerned about human and property rights, issues that heartless countries do not care about as long as they get what they want.

South Africa is a big disappointment in Africa. Aggressive and greedy, it has shown a desire to dominate other African countries on the back of what successive apartheid governments literally created for them, much as we inherited an economically stable country but failed to improve, let alone maintain, what we inherited.

I watch with awe as South Africa, liberated not by natives fighting oppressors but by a combined will of African countries that gained support of the international community to kill apartheid through crippling sanctions.

Today, we watch as South Africa sides with those on our continent who oppress their people; we see the South African army strolling across Africa siding with those that people do not want, those who subjugate and kill their people.

We in Zimbabwe watched in horror as South Africa propped up a man we had repeatedly rejected. It is no exaggeration to say former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, did more damage in Zimbabwe than anyone else except for Mugabe.

South Africa is better advised to understand that it is not superior to any other nation, that Africans are Africans and that South Africa should stop, forthwith, their disgusting habit of wanting to dominate other African nations.

We made mistakes in Zimbabwe but we would not be in the situation that we find ourselves in were it not for South Africa, which, as usual, always sides with the bad guys of the continent. Executive Outcomes indeed!

Granted, every African country goes through a shock period when authority transfers from colonialists to locals. It takes a while for the country to start rotting, depending on the size of the economy, but it always comes.                                                              

We have seen it in almost every newly independent African country.

It boggles the mind how South Africa, which has made a career of abusing Zimbabwe since early apartheid, can actually enact a law this very week that duplicates the land disaster we created in Zimbabwe years ago.

Why is Zimbabwe thrusting forward a welcoming hand to those Zimbabwean farmers in South Africa and elsewhere to return and get 99-year leases on farms?

There are many and obvious unpalatable reasons for that but the bottom line is that it is evidence of an attempt to reverse bad planning and an effort to move away from the dependency on useless populist rhetoric.

But the simple fact remains that we do not seem to care about tomorrow.                       

We do not seem to worry about the future that is full of our offspring.

I am hoping that South Africa will take time and look at what we did wrong in Zimbabwe and, maybe, improve on it, for their own sake. After all, South Africa itself, along with Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Australia and other nations benefitted from the Zimbabwean farmers we displaced without proper planning to accommodate the transition.

We have always had the lazy hope that the government will provide. Mistaking government for a caretaker.                                                                                         

The staff that cooks meals at boarding schools is never hungry. Thus, government ministers who are given the responsibility to care for national assets are the first to cater away whatever they can carry.

Interest in doing business with Zimbabwe is there but where does Zimbabwe stand?     Does a new driver for an aged bus make the bus more reliable? Not a chance!

But apart from that, Zimbabweans are not pulling together. There is no collusion between the rulers and the ruled. The nation is polarized and is almost unanimous in that President Mnangagwa is not the right man for the job.                                             

A new driver for an old bus does not make the engine run any better, especially when the new driver has been this old bus’s conductor all his life.

Mnangagwa just has too much political baggage on him to be fully acceptable to the people of Zimbabwe. His pivotal roles in Zanu-PF before and after independence do nothing but remind the people of what he really is.

His alleged business dealings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with the role he played during the infamous Gukurahundi Massacres, are two of the most troubling issues that Zimbabweans talk about all the time.

Devoid of originality and, making things worse, his total lack of a political base force him to rely on fellow Mugabe cronies he is protecting.                                                  

Protests against Mnangagwa appear to be picking up momentum, with citizens demanding that he apologises for his role in the Gukurahundi atrocities.                 

There are calls for him to release and account for his wealth just as he has demanded his cabinet ministers do before taking office.

And then there is the military which is allegedly complicit in whatever Mnangagwa did in the DRC; which is clearly complicit in making him the president without a single vote cast for him.

We still have police shooting citizens to death; we still have people being denied food aid unless they are Zanu-PF.                                                                               

Students continue to be teargassed while demanding that lecturers be available to teach them.                                                                                                                   

The army is still being called in to abuse citizens.

Mnangagwa’s highly hyped “First 100 Days” make us sorrowful not for lack of change but for the absence of a new way of thinking.                                                              

The first change we should have seen is in the way this army and its government treat the people.

What we have now is a growing stand-off. The rulers do not have the support of the majority of the people they are ruling. The people clearly do not care for their president.                      

The president is a faithful disciple of the old dictator and the rotten methods he used to treat the people. And the army is impatient to get total control.

There is no collusion between the rulers and the ruled. For Zimbabweans, the struggle continues.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.