Ex­iles ea­ger to re­turn and re­build post-Mu­gabe Zim

African Times - - International/Africa - SAVIOUS KWINIKA

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

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