Govt sheds crocodile tears

There is much hypocrisy in the way the Zimbabwean government is reacting to the South African xenophobic attacks. We hear that they have set up an inter-ministerial task force to handle more than 2,000 Zimbabweans who have been displaced by the attacks.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

At Independence Day celebrations President Robert Mugabe announced that they had supplied buses to ferry returning residents who have been victims of the xenophobia

Seen outside its context, this passes as a noble gesture –purporting to demonstrate government’s commitment to help marooned nationals residing in a hostile country. Evacuation of citizens is a globally hailed intervention when the nationals face danger. The problem, though, is that the very government that wants us to applaud its nobility through this intervention is primarily the one that must be blamed for placing its own citizens in a position of vulnerability in the first place. This gesture should be seen for what it is – nothing but crocodile tears.

South Africa is home to more than one million Zimbabweans who in the last one and a half decades have fled political persecution, an economic meltdown, poverty and misery at home. These ills they have run away from are man-induced. It is the Zanu (PF) government that has driven away its own people through poor governance, persecution and human rights violations.

As we speak, more than 80 percent of employable Zimbabweans cannot find jobs, industry continues to shrink and service delivery systems are dilapidated. The government does not have solutions as the ruling party is seized with internal power struggles rather than progressive national politics. Even as the xenophobic attacks continue and spread, more Zimbabweans would rather go to South Africa than remain at home.

Mugabe’s government must therefore not think that it is doing a service to anyone by “evacuating” the very people that it drove away in the first place. This is akin to a fireman starting a fire and claiming heroism by dousing it himself. Why start it in the first place? We are therefore choosing not to see any heroism in what the government is doing.

We cannot applaud a crocodile for shedding tears when it is the one that is killing our relatives, friends and colleagues. We would be happier if the Zanu (PF) government fixed the economy, got its politics right and created jobs so that the millions of Zimbabweans who have trekked out of the country can return and enjoy the comfort of their own country.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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