Recently, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, urged all Zimbabweans leaving in other parts of the world to return home to help re-build their ruined country.
He said victims of repression and the perpetrators of the crimes should reconcile.
“Don’t be too paranoid about your obsession with Robert Mugabe because he isn’t going to go away, he is there,” Tsvangirai said. “Robert Mugabe was part of the problem but he is also part of the solution, whether you like it or not,” the Associated Press quoted Tsvangirai as saying.
Policy analyst and lecturer UB’s Political Science Department, Dr. David Mandiyanike, said Zimbabwean people are hanging by the fence waiting for things to be back before they can return home.
“There are two groups of people, the political and economic refugees and the professionals. Among these two, the professionals are not in any rush to go back because wherever they are they are well off and from time to time go to their home country just to see what’s happening,” he said.
He further said that those who ran away because of political and economic hardships are unlikely to return anytime soon. He went on to say that they are those who ran away because there were times when there was no food and there was political violence and, as such, it would be difficult for them to go back anytime soon.
Mandiyanike further said the professionals are however needed back in Zimbabwe to help rebuild all industries. He added that they are all part and parcel of the whole process but looking at remittances they create a balance because they supply those back home with all the material requirements they need.
Tanonoka Whande, an exiled Zimbabwean journalist said his fellow countrymen are not in any rush to return home.
“It’s all very well for Tsvangirai to say that but he has no clout to protect anyone, including his own cabinet ministers,” Whande said. “There are some of us who are wanted by ZANU-PF and we would not stand a chance since the laws have not changed and Tsvangirai himself is having a hard time protecting people from arbitrary arrests based on trumped up charges.”
He went on to say that economic refugees are also looking to see if there are any favourable changes taking place.
“But with the economy still comatose and with farm invasions and violence continuing, I do not see a stampede towards Zimbabwe right now.”
Tafadzwa Ranganai, a Zimbabwean student at UB said he does not see it happening.
“Some of us are comfortable here and have already started lives in Botswana so it would be difficult for us to start all over again in Zimbabwe.”
Ranganai further said that he is also skeptical about the success of the coalition government but has a feeling they will prove him wrong and rebuild Zimbabwe again.
“Definitely, I actually will eventually resettle back in Zimbabwe but it’s difficult to just leave everything right now and go back. I think most people want to go back when they are financially stable so that if things go wrong again, they are prepared to protect themselves from economic hardships,” Ranganai added.
The government of Botswana has not requested that any refugees return to Zimbabwe yet.
“I know the Botswana government is watching the situation carefully and they do not appear quite sure what to make of it,” Whande said. He added that when the decision is finally made, it will also involve other agencies like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration.