Under the heading “Diasporans should be goodwill envoys”, the Herald has been quick to endorse President Robert Mugabe’s appeal made in Ethiopia for diasporans to play their part in the country’s economic turnaround.
By Iden Wetherell
He said we should look beyond partisan concerns and put the national well-being first.
A number of Zimbabweans have used the party card to seek political asylum abroad, he said. Others have feigned persecution where there is none to secure their stay.
We are all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation, Mugabe said.
This emollient message is a tad misleading. Thousands of Zimbabweans are currently languishing abroad precisely because they can’t be sure of a friendly welcome. Many journalists for instance, fear arbitrary arrest. They will not return until they can be sure of an open door. The authorities don’t appear to be paying much attention to this issue.
Diasporans are not all located abroad out of choice. Many are economic refugees who seek a better standard of living for their families having escaped the country’s meltdown.
To add insult to injury, Mugabe has in the past attacked Zimbabweans overseas for performing menial tasks in old people’s homes. Now he wants them to send him their incomes to help Zimbabwe develop!
This raises the obvious question: why should diasporans entrust their funds to a regime that can’t even account for mineral revenues at home let alone abroad? Zimbabwe is not known for its fiscal rectitude.
The current mess the country finds itself in is after all mostly the product of Mugabe who persists in policies that few of our citizens endorse.
Understandably those who live in the real world are reluctant to be governed by those who don’t. The recent announcement of diplomats drawn largely from the army illustrates a regime indulging itself rather than serving the nation. The Herald talks of a spirited smear campaign against the country.
It is true that the international community has mobilised against Zimbabwe’s record of misrule.
That includes the pretence that the country was the victim of an anti-Mugabe campaign. There was a campaign, but it was to deter Zimbabwe’s rulers from human rights abuses, not land reform.
Elsewhere, those abuses persist. We hope for instance one day Itai Dzamara is able to tell us.
It is the duty of every Zimbabwean in the diaspora to be the nation’s ambassador, the Herald says, and you can only be convincing to the foreign investor if you lead by example, it says. “Let’s put party politics aside and save the country.”
A useful confession that the country needs saving. But the present gang at the top are not the guys to do it. How convincing can they be when they are in denial about human rights issues and seem blind to a faltering economy?