Thursday, November 30, 2023

SADC and African Union must remove ‘African’ from their names

By now, the whole world knows about the atrocities committed by the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police against unarmed civilians who were excising their rights to protest the failures of their government.

Everyone knows about Zimbabwe’s failed economy and the hardships people are facing without a national currency.

Botswana, along with South Africa, are in the forefront of handling and hosting thousands of Zimbabweans, both documented and undocumented.

Zimbabwe’s political and economic hardships have been brewing for decades right under the noses of both the African Union and SADC.

Among the consistent negatives are the brutalities visited on the people by the government, the corruption, starvation and other ills too many to itemize.

But during all these trying times, Africa has done little, if anything, to arrest the decline of Zimbabwe or attempt to stem the abuse of unarmed people by the government.

Under former president Ian Khama, Botswana took a hardline stand against Zimbabwe and, surprisingly, was always severely criticized by many Batswana who, for unknown reasons, were so star-struck by former president Robert Mugabe that they chose to ignore the killings and disappearances of people or even care about the economic situation there that was heavily impacting on Botswana itself.

As for South Africa, God have Mercy. I have no time today to deal with these people who consider themselves better than any other people on this continent. They will soon wake up from their slumber and find out that, yes, they are Africans but Africans of no importance; their time is coming, and it is coming up fast.

The safety of Zimbabweans and their fight for survival have not improved since Mugabe’s exit. If anything, everything indicates that things are getting worse in all spheres.

I never thought I would ever hear Zimbabweans saying ‘things were better under Mugabe’ but that is exactly what they are saying now.                                                

The naked brutality is there for all to see.                                                                     

The economy is a witness to its own failure. It has not improved in any way since Mnangagwa became president and the people are in deeper dire straits than ever before.                    

Human rights are battered every day, with no protection afforded the people.             

The judiciary has become not only suspect and untrustworthy but corrupted.                                          

The police and the army act with impunity.

In August last year, seven people were shot dead the day after elections. The suspect by association, President Mnangagwa, hand-picked a repulsive group of people, that included a former president of South Africa, to investigate who had committed these murders.                                                                                                                            

If you have not seen the report, you didn’t miss anything because there wasn’t anything in there.

Zimbabwe is still in mourning for the more than 12 people gunned down during a stayaway that turned violent three weeks ago.                                                        

People were afraid to claim the bodies of their dead for fear of being arrested themselves.

Mnangagwa had the audacity to appear on France 24 TV accusing everybody, from NGOs, foreign governments to the victims themselves, while unashamedly protecting the army and police like he did after the killings of last year.

There might or might not be another Commission of Enquiry into the deaths of the people shot during the demonstrations.                                                                            

If so, the government, police and army will come out clean, like they have done in all enquiries since independence, and the report will never be made public like all others before it.   

And that will be the end of the matter.

Then the African Union had “a summit” last week and many people expected the continental body to say something authoritative on Zimbabwe.                                    

Not surprisingly though, Zimbabwe was never discussed, and the African Union never mentioned the country in any form although they discussed other troubled African nations, prescribing solutions that we know will never be followed through.

The day after the AU Summit ended, the SADC chairman, Namibia’s Hage Geingob, issued a statement backing the government of Zimbabwe and acknowledging how hard it is fighting to correct the economic situation under control.                                                            

As evidence of this, Geingob stated that the steep fuel price increase that triggered the demonstrations was an effort to bring the economic situation under control.                                   

How silly for a doctor to punch an injury as part of bringing relief to a patient!

Africa must take note of what these African organizations are doing because they exist to strengthen sitting presidents’ grips on power; they exist to protect the leaders not the people.                                                                                                                        

They are a waste of time and money.                                                                         

That both the African Union and SADC not so much as expressed regret over the loss of lives in Zimbabwe boggles my imagination.                                                                

Both never alluded to the serious political and economic situation in the country, nor did they concede to the worsening hardships people are faced with daily.

Not paying respects even to a stranger faced with loss of a loved one is so un-African.                                              

The AU and SADC never acknowledged the dead but just rushed to defend one of their own – expressing their desire to have targeted sanctions against Zanu-PF stalwarts removed.

Sadly, I see that Botswana, my home away from home, has joined the chorus of blaming sanctions instead of those in power for the mess that continues to eat at the heart of the nation of Zimbabwe.

The United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Germany and other countries outside Africa not only expressed regret over the loss of lives in Zimbabwe but some them indicated that they will renew the sanctions and might expand the sanctions list to include those who were implicated in the loss of civilian lives during the demonstrations.

Being an African, I find it repulsive that I am part of this group of merciless people by the sheer inclusion of the word ‘African’ in the names of these dubious and malevolent gangs.   

To that extent, therefore, both the Southern African Development Community and the African Union must forthwith remove ‘African’ from their names because I do not submit myself to be under their jurisdiction.                                                                          

There is nothing African about these two gangs.


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