South Africa

Sanctions and collateral damage

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Vince Musewe’s analysis “Zimbabwe after Mugabe” (27.9.2014) on fundamental moral regeneration is challenging after the disturbing rumours we hear in the west on a daily basis. Every man and his dog has a different theory through which they analyse Zimbabwe’s future, and especially more recently as the hierarchy vie for the ultimate in the finals of who will make it into ‘Who is Who in Zimbabwe’!
Circumventing corruption and revenge, many of the rancid rumours involve the ZNA, the First Lady, and the Generals. However, my own take on this is that the Mandarins will not support genocide because it can only reflect negatively throughout Africa wherein they have spent decades redressing their image as portrayed by their western critics who seem to have totally forgotten that not only is China’s culture over 5,000 years older than most, and it is probably Traditional Chinese Medicine that is responsible for President Robert Mugabe’s longevity!

I had lunch with the President three years ago and I believed him when he said to me, “Donette, I do not hate all white people, but I despise the British for what they have done to my country!”

As I was born in Rhodesia and lived through colonialism and UDI to Independence, I totally understood. The concept of Separate Development by the whites never did make any sense to some of us who were born in the country, and when the President ruled out white and black schools, we were all elated as we breathed a sigh of relief for our children. It was the beginning of a new world for us.


Many forget that Zimbabwe is only 35 years old and is still evolving. Overseas there is a huge contingent of Born Again ‘Zimbos’ who arrived here after the Land Reformation Act and who, despite the pain and tears of being uprooted, are still proud to say, “I am a Zimbabwean!” This simple statement astounds many who say that they have never met a Nation that is so passionate about the land they were born in despite what has happened there in the last 100 years.


The majority of adolescents who left the country had GCSEs with no degrees or skills, but after 15-20 years overseas they are now skilled and qualified in many fields. Tragically, inspired by the macho war stories of Ian Smith’s foot soldiers, several hundred ended up as fodder in the West’s attempted Middle East regime change, which means that Zimbabwean blood was not only shed in Burma during WW2, but more recently in Arab lands, fighting for the same British who colonized Zambezia in the footsteps of Cecil John Rhodes.


This is why I found this Musewe’s Analysis positive and encouraging – especially for many ‘Zimbos’- when they get the courage to return after all the negative publicity nailed into place with even yet more Sanctions imposed by western moguls. Yes, there will be challenges but I believe those who are intent on returning home will prove a greater asset to Zimbabwe, having had their wits honed to perfection while scattered out here in the diasporas.


Few outside of Zimbabwe are aware that Sanctions have caused multinationals to collapse. Parents split up and moved beyond its borders in order to pay for school fees back home. With no dads around to protect their children, teenage pregnancies are another heartbreaking symptom as a result of Sanctions; sadly the world is only vaguely aware at what cost these Sanctions have come at to the man in the street with the breakdown in traditional culture, marriage and the family home. For one reason or another, teenagers now find themselves parenting their siblings while young girls search for newsprint to absorb their monthly menstruation because they cannot afford cotton towelling. Holding the casualties of alcoholism and prostitution to ransom for that which is destroying Zimbabwe – as a result of Sanctions – is unfair and misleading. Such diseases are common in any war zone. Zimbabwe’s situation has not strictly been classified as a war zone because weapons used against the people are not weapons of war as such, but psychologically demonizing and demoralizing, taking their toll.


The world has forgotten that four generations ago the same ancestors of those today, too, faced Sanctions during Rhodesia Front’s UDI reign, and now their descendants are subjected to the bullying tactics of more vicious western Sanctions – but they dare to live on – much to the chagrin of the West who appear more interested in the minerals and billions of gallons of liquid gas beneath the ground of Matabeleland rather than the people struggling above it? This same liquid will ultimately replace drums of oil in the Middle East which is what the West is really fighting over.


If anything, the tenacity embedded deep in Zimbabwe’s people, as deeply ingrained as the veins of gold in the soil, empowers every man, woman and child in the street who will still take on the challenges that beset this young nation, albeit innocently facing their tomorrows with Hope. The anointed words that you, Vince Musewe, wrote on fundamental moral regeneration in “Zimbabwe After Mugabe” should inspire and challenge one and all, including President Robert Mugabe and his wife, the First Lady, to reconsider their options and make Zimbabwe whole. Its children have suffered enough.


Donette Read Kruger

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