Exiles eager to return and rebuild post-Mugabe Zim
JUBILANT at seeing the back of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, a majority of Zimbabweans forced into exile by his disastrous policies are eager to return home and contribute towards the country’s economic revival.
An estimated three million of these nationals are in neighbouring South Africa and are keen to channel expertise gained while in exile, provided the newly sworn President Emmerson Mnangagwa, assured them full commitment to return to the rule of law, respect of property rights and implement free and fair elections.
Similar scenes in Zimbabwean capital Harare rejoiced when Mugabe (93)finally bowed to pressure to quit after more than 37 controversial years in power, thousands of Zimbabweans in the major cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria poured to the streets in euphoria.
Zimbabweans interviewed called on the new Zanu PF administration to revoke controversial policies by the previous regime.
“We know very well most of the urban land in Zimbabwe is owned by a few Zanu-PF politicians, army generals, intelligence operatives and police bosses, who are fronting local business persons to block proper urban development,” said Braamfontein based entrepreneur Bruce Chirimuuta.
“We know for a fact that a majority leaders in Zanu-PF have multiple farms while millions are still landless. We would appreciate a new land audit so that all Zimbabweans benefit, otherwise we risky returning to the Mugabe era,” Chirimuuta added.
Multiple ownership of farms emanated from the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms which Mugabe sanctioned in 2000. The controversial takeovers killed commercial agriculture.
Former president Mugabe and his wife (Grace) own 13 farms and a community dam seized in Mazoe district.
Edmore ‘Chikopokopo’ Nevanji, a transport operator in Johannesburg, said Mnangagwa, has to “walk the talk”in convincing investors to retain confidence lost during his predecessor’s reign.
“He must do so by taking away land from those with multiple farms, fighting corruption (jailing culprits), exercising the rule of law and condemning of violence would make Zimbabwe a great nation again,” said Nevanji.
“Without recovering the stolen US$15 billion (about R225 billion) diamond money, reclaiming multiple farms with Zanu-PF heavyweights, jailing perpetrators of political murders and abductions will prove a waste of time aimed at hoodwinking the international community,” he added.
Nevanji added: “People of Zimbabwe should fear Jehovah God if the country ever wants to prosper. Zimbabwe is a Christian nation, so, as such, we should be shy away from wickedness, corruption and all sorts of bad things in order to receive God’s guidance.”
He also demanded truth and reconcilliation was necessary to heal the nation citing the abduction of journalist-cum-activist Itai Dzamara in March 2015, and the killing of more than 20,000 people in Matabeleland region.
Among the worst examples of corruption under Mugabe, the government has failed to account for $15 billion in revenues from diamonds.
“Zimbabweans are ready to go back home but the Zanu PF regime must not be trusted for now. While I applaud the South African government for standing with us (Zimbabweans) during dark years of Mugabe’s brutal rule, I still not trust the new regime till I see a complete shift of policy supported by detention of the criminals,” Nevanji said.
In his homecoming speech at Zanu PF headquarters last week, Mnangagwa sounded positive about reviving Zimbabwe’s economy.
He assured the nation of a “new and unfolding democracy”while inviting investors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the entire African continent and the world to make the most of the new dispensation.
Gabriel Shumba, the executive director of the Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), was equally upbeat urging Zimbabweans ready to go back home to do so.
“My call to the diaspora is that the country is now pregnant with infinite possibilities. Let’s all support any institution that arises from this coalition of different voices to make our motherland great once more,” Shumba said.
Luke Dzipange Zunga, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber and Treasurer of Global Zimbabwe Forum, said, “I extend to Zimbabweans, wherever they are, a message of hope into the new era. It is hope which we should cherish and guard jealously as we move on.”
Zunga urged Zimbabweans seeking repatriation to go ahead, describing it as a correct personal decision.
“The issues, however, are complex and the best position depends on the individuals,” he however said.
“There are many (Zimbabweans) in serious situations in South Africa. I am aware that for many in South Africa or diaspora, life is not pleasant at all,” Zunga said.
Zunga added the country’s future remained unpredictable.
“The issues of life such as jobs, currency availability, water shortages, political rights and a whole basket of things cannot be solved by this event of removing Mugabe only. The best Zimbabweans should do is to give the happenings a blessing,” he said.
He admitted the removal of Mugabe would be helpful to correct the dire situation but the process would take longer.
“It is not an event. Therefore, South Africans should not expect Zimbabweans to go back immediately. The structures of political violence are still in place and
economic issues will take some years to revive, if at all. There there will be success in rebuilding the economy. It will take concomitant efforts of both the Diaspora and those in Zimbabwe.”
Zunga called on Mnangagwa to institute an inquiry similar to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to help expose some of the atrocities in Zimbabwe. “In the meantime, I encourage forgiveness and tolerance. Investigations can be conducted to who took what money, but the same people are in charge. It is not only Mugabe who ripped Zimbabwe coffers and resources.
Those remaining in power were also implicated.”
He doubted these officials would “investigate themselves.”
“However an opportunity arises
for other pressure groups and opposition political parties or the new President to probe further,” Zunga said.
Tafara Emmanuel said: “We are happy to return to Zimbabwe as a nation, but at the same time the land issue, rule of law, free and fair elections should be restored.”
Upon his return from exile, Mnangagwa assured the nation his regime would prioritise job creation, ensure conducive environment for investment and retaining the rule of law.
He assured the region and international community of free and fair elections.
“We want to grow our economy, we want jobs. All patriotic Zimbabweans should come and work together,” Mnangagwa said. – CAJ News