A feast of hypocrisy – ZimVigil

A massive power blackout ushered in SADC’s summit in Harare at which fireworks over xenophobic attacks in South Africa burst the organisation’s usual backslapping bubble of hypocrisy.

Reports say President Khama left early to fly home to Botswana after joining President Zuma in asking the pointed question: ‘Why are people fleeing their own countries?’ lifting the lid on the forbidden topics of misgovernance and oppression.

A defensive Zuma had earlier noted that he had been told by an immigrant: ‘If you raise your voice (in my country) you disappear’. Was he perhaps referring to Itai Dzamara abducted by the CIO in Harare on 9th March and ‘disappeared’ without trace?

In his opening speech, a floundering Mugabe said neighbouring countries should do more to prevent their people going to South Africa and urged migrants to return home…. hardly an attractive prospect for Zimbabweans.

The majority of Zimbabwean migrants, he claimed, go to work on farms – leaving unanswered the question of why they weren’t working on farms in Zimbabwe. After all we are told there is yet another food shortage.

The summit was called to discuss regional industrialization strategy. Who better to pontificate on this than Mugabe given his extensive experience of destroying industry, which fell last year to 36.3% average capacity utilization. It hasn’t got any better since then.

But it was not just Mugabe’s blithe hypocrisy that was on parade. The South African government is itself a champion in this field. Despite its promotion of ‘ubuntu’ it has consistently put the interests of brother presidents above the welfare of their people.

The Vigil wrote to President Zuma when the latest outbreak of xenophobia broke out a few weeks ago warning that his support of Mugabe would inevitably mean that even more Zimbabwean refugees would flee to South Africa. We said: ‘We hold South Africa responsible for the desperate situation in our country caused by your unwavering support for the oppressive Mugabe regime, publicly displayed only recently during Mugabe’s visit to South Africa. We warn you that until you change sides and support instead the democratic aspirations of our oppressed people you will never see an end to the tide of refugees fleeing Zimbabwe.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/press-releases/682-vigil-protests-17th-april-2015).

Even Mugabe has acknowledged the truth of this, observing that many Zimbabweans were saying they would go back to South Africa despite the attacks.

The hypocrisy of Mugabe and SADC is matched by the weasel words of the International Monetary Fund, which claims to have detected ‘meaningful progress’ in Zimbabwe (see: Zimbabwe: First Review Under the Staff-Monitor Program-Staff Report; and Press Release – http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=42869.0). Desperate Zimbabweans fleeing the country will not be persuaded that there is likely to be any progress under Mugabe despite the IMF’s diplomatic fudging. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

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