What The World IS Saying About Zimbabwe Part Two

Why does he not put the ball down and tackle the old man?!

I remember telling readers of the Independent two years or so ago that the world would get a  bad case of "sympathy fatigue" with the people of Zimbabwe. As always, Zimbabweans want to listen only to misleading, soothing noises like crying babies. They dismissed that as talk of an anti-MDC bias. I was asked what I expected Morgan to do, did I not "see the people's hands are tied", was one quote I remember distinctly, and so on.

Well, the good thing about the truth is that, no matter what, it eventually comes out and there is great satisfaction in seeing those who dismissed your analysis and views as "much ado about nothing" preaching your own gospel with such conviction that their readers would think they have thoughts of their own.

As I told readers of The Independent all that time ago, the world is now asking why it is that Zimbabweans prefer to fold their own arms and cry to the rest of the world to "rescue them" as if they are helpless children, toddlers.

There was this comment from a "Proud South African" during the aborted Elders mission to Zimbabwe:

For anybody suffering in Zimbabwe - IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT!!!!!!!! Get rid of that IDIOT MUGABE! NOt the Western World nor the rest of Africa is to blame but the Zimbabweans themselves. YOU have ruined your own economy and up until you realise that your own inaction/stupidity is to blame nothing will change and you will die a slow, terrible death in a country that was once the pride and joy of the African continent! African policies (Please read BLack if you so please) is devoid of any intelect and by trying to blame everyone or anything else is just another sign of your AFRICAN incompetance!

To see jut how many Zimbabweans agree with him (and yet do nothing or "rationalise" our paralysis), read the reactions by clicking here.

And from Malawi:

"Buddy I think you are very right. It really makes a lot of nonsense for these guys to be running away from their own land and hide in neighbouring countries. * I initially thought our anyamata apa Zembo ali ma intellectuals, courageous but gosh they are real big cows."

The full article, quite well argued, with a "tour" around the world of the places where citizens were at the forefront of bringing down dictators and brutal regimes. The Nyasa Time of Malawi says, with regards to Zimbabweans: "Waiting for SADC, UN, George W. Bush, Gordon Brown and Thabo Mbeki to reopen the route to the Victoria Falls is all but a fallacy."

This was back in June 2008 (most people forget that the "dialogue between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been going on for years now, it did not start after the June run-off. In fact Morgan Tsvangirai was against the March elections that he won, saying that for Mugabe to call for these elections was a breach of the spirit of those talks. Mugabe, think he would "win" as always, insisted that elections were due according to the constitution and went ahead.

Another reader of the Nyasa Times, also a Malawian states: "Our neighbours, from what we have seen on TV, especially in Harare, have led their lives as if 'all is ok'. If anything, the foreign journalists, were seen to be more interested than the Harare residents. It wont be a surprise if they didn't even vote. This was lost chance in a race which opposition had won and afew more votes would havemade a difference! 

And another Malawian says: "I agree with Timau, Zimbabweans are arrogant, full of themselves and always looked down on Malawians. We were the polite servants to them. Now they are begging in south africa for bread after allowing bob to plunder their country. Chilipanzako chani, God helps those who help themselves, people power toppled Marcos in the Phillines who had gold plated bullets not the ones bob has that he is getting via inlaws in Malawi. They need to wake up and take their future in their own hands. I have a lot of respect for Kenyans, they did not put up with it."

To read the full article from the Nyasa Times, entitled: People of Zimbabwe Are To  Blame"  and some more reactions, please click here.

And even from as far afield as Australia, sighs of resignation, exhortations to leave Zimbabweans to their own devices and fate are also being heard. This from the comments by readers on a Timesonline website, the online portal of The Times of London:

"It is time for Zim to stand up for themselves 
Time to stop bleating about that mongrel 
Time for the mongrel to hear the tramp of Zim feet coming to free themselves 
Rise up Zim and the world will help 
Cower and die and the world will do nothing but write words of sadness 
The choice is yours "

From Zambia, we get more succinct comments, one liners that "cut to the chase." Here's one:
"Bushe abena Zimbabwe baba shani? Can’t they kick this old man out themselves? We helped with Ian smith. Must we go back there and help them again?"

And from the same source, another Zambian point of view: "I dont understand old docile senile and evil leaders. Mugabe should step down. What is his problem.

As for me, I don’t want to see Zambia go to war over Zimbabwe. We helped liberate Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa and in the end we got insults. We are sorry, we are busy. Just go riot in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo. Zimbabweans are quite sleepy. A leader like Mugabe cannot last in Nigeria. He would have a bullet in his head.

Besides, Zambia has gained a lot. Infrastructure development in livingstone has increased by 54%. We are expecting Zambia’s first 1 million tourists by the end of next year. We are using Zimbabwe’s white farmers to plant our maize and employ our people."

If you think that is not sympathy fatigue, then you need to take a look at this, another Zambian quote: "Free-Market-Capitalist, I agree with you. Let the Zimbos sort out their own mess. Rather than running away and spreading cholera and prostitution across their borders they should dig in, find inner strength and resolve, and force Old Bob out…by whatever means.

Zambia should not send any troops in. It would be a waste of money and besides our army is not battle-tested and by all indications is poorly equipped; it could actually be subjected to an embarrassing defeat by the starcving Zimbos."

Rashid Jones…wouldn’t you say that, at this point in time, the Zimbos are the sleepiest people in Southern Africa?" 

In their condemnation, the South Africans are brutal, impatient and even insulting:


You are accusing Sentletse, the ANC, Mbeki and South Africans for not taking the plight of Zimbabweans serious.

When did this become our problem, I have got bills to pay and my kids education to pay and crime to worry about.

If Zimbabweans do not take themselves seriously, why should I care. I am deeply offended by this political picanin, Tsvangarai for constantly insulting the only country that is doing something about Zimbabwe, for right or wrong South Africa is at least doing something.

You have a lot of this people roaming around our country uninvited, draining the economy of this country.

I dont care who leads that country and its politics, these people need just to get out our country and go and sort their mess in their own country.

I have had the privilege of interacting with highly educated Zimbabweans in the US and UK who are very negative about their own country and yet we are supposed to care about it.

Rubbish, my country is South Africa not Zimbabwe please."

All this from the Mail & Guardian.

Anyway, I could on and on. There fact remains that the world is beginning to ask why it is that Zimbabweans themselves seem not to care much about what is happening to them. I expect, as usual, insults will be thrown at all these people by Zimbabweans. They will all be dismissed: Zambians, Malawians, Australians, South Africans and British. Because according to Zimbabweans, we and only we are right, everybody else is wrong.

There is an interesting discussion going on at a Discussion board on the internet, with the chatting class including such people as John Makumbe. I certainly hope that this topic gets carried there and Zimbabweans for once talk about the fact that the whole world seems to be seeing what we won't see. Click here to carry this discussion to the discussion board.


  1. Zimbabweans should not expect the outside world to do anything to help them get rid of Mugabe.

    It's up to Zimbabweans themselves to make their voices heard. They should be taking a leaf from WOZA on how to arrange demonstrations.

    South Africa is currently blocking attempts by the UN to do something about Zimbabwe, but their membership of the Security Council expires at the end of this month.

    But, I'm afraid that South Africa's replacement is going to be Uganda, so there won't be any change.

  2. Welcome back Dave.

    The problem is amply demonstrated right here. As you can see, Zimbabweans seem not to want to face this reality, hence no comment on this by Zimbabwean. They fully expect someone else, from South AFrica, London or wherever to engage this issue.

    The root of the problem lies with the leadership and I am not talking about Mad Mugabe. The people who were given a mandate in March, Tsvangirai and the MDC make no effort to lead in this regard. If anything, they are the ones leading the effort to get citizens of other countries to lead the effort.

    One telling comment I quoted in the post above is from a South African who says educated "Zimbabweans are very negative about their country, so why should I care."

    To really expose who is a leader in Zimbabwe and who is simply being oportunistic, wanting to let the suffering of the people usher him into power without him doing anything, the world MUST wean Zimbabwe off its breast.


    We will show you when we have had enough. I promise you this: if the world keeps treating us like helpless children, we will act like helpless children and I also promise that, as a result, Mugabe and ZANU PF will rule until THEY are tired, even if Mugabe goes, it will still be same.

    The Botswana suggestion to close our borders is actually the only route. Do not allow Zimbos to run away, close every border and catch those trying to run away and send them back.

    The number of people killed by cholera and other preventable diseases is much higher the number that would die in confronting this regime head-on.

    SADC leaders, and this I know for certain, say that Zimbabwe is evenly divided, with half of the population supporting Mugabe freely. I know they have asked Tsvangirai to his face why, if people no longer want Mugabe, they do nothing about it, especially if they claim that elections are rigged. Why do they not protest.

    This is the reason why SADC leaders will continue to "support Mugabe".

  3. I don't know why it has taken me so long to find this blog, which is the best, most closely and fearlessly argued, than any I have previously stumbled across. I am a white SA accountant who in January this year wanted to go on a look-see visit to Zim (bored of being retired). When the elections were announced and I decided to delay till after. Just as well. The people who were going to host me, show me around, have now all left. God save Zimbabwe. I agree that the average Zimbabwean is completely supine.

    Andrew Scott.

  4. Well Denford, I understand why our regional and international brothers and sisters have found us a disappointing lot as far as solving our own problems is concerned. And because the 21st century has its own philosophies and pressures, I understand why this sympathy fatigue has come in so fast, yes Denford, fast!

    Now, as a historian I know that the revolutions they are referring to did not come suddenly. Perhaps - and hopefully - the cumulative impact of our brother's and sister's loss of patience will add fresh grist to the mill and provide the immediate spark. But I pray that this does not lead to xenophobic attacks especially in the region. I would politely ask our brothers and sisters in the region to put pressure on their governments to close their borders so that we do not get out, and as for some of us who are already inside, to increase ways of sniffing us out through state organs: all this to achieve two goals: 1) to get us pressured enough within our borders till we solve our "own problems" and, 2) to avoid xenophobia which can complete future relations in the region.

    I put "own problems" in inverted commas because the Zim problem also has a salient regional dimension to it. Yes, the Zim problem is not only a national one, it is also a regional problem, if not international. Leaders in the SADC are using Zim as a pawn in their "diplomacy" with the west/north. You correctly said it Denford that, this SADC aid which is coming is a part of a broader strategy by SADC to say, "to hell with the west, we would rather have Mugabe than your insults or whatever, blah blah blah". As long as the Zim regime is not isolated regionally, it will take very long for us Zimbos to determine our own destiny: Very Long Walk to Freedom. But eventually, it will come. I hate to give this example, but I will give it any way: the apartheid regime was isolated, the neighbours were hostile; SADC was formed to be a buffer against the apartheid regime and our SA brothers and sisters worked very diligently internally - and externally - till apartheid was destroyed. My brothers and sisters, I am calling you to deny it if you want to, but this is a fact.

    Last week I posted a comment in which I was saying one of the things we need in the region of Southern Africa is a regional civil society bulwark that will act in unison to check the reckless behaviour of our leaders.

    All the same, I agree that we need to step up the gear because we are not only fighting the internal regime but also SADC as a whole. I wish we were seeing things through the same lenses, because if we did we would work together and shape SADC the way we want it to be, using Zim as a laboratory. SADC has not transformed into a progressive 21st century regional grouping; instead it is still run by people with liberation hangovers. And yes, we have the moral standing to call for the reform of the SADC as our leaders are calling for the reform of the UN.

    So Sadc should keep its aid way - except for cholera aid - and use the rest for closing their borders and only then, the problem can be classified as a Zim one and requiring that Zimbabweans alone solve it.

    But coming back home, I think the problem we have in our country is leadership. We are yet to have a leader who will plainly articulate a national vision that ALL population constituencies in the country will identify with. Dr Makoni seems to be promising on this, but as other people have said, I also feel that there has not been so much punch. I respect his decision not to want so much publicity about some of the things he is doing on the ground, but I think a national vision should be loudly articulated and let the people run with it. I have said before that whirlwind-vision-articulation tours of the country will help galvanise people into action. I acknowledge the fact that provincial structures are currently working on grassroots issues, so maybe my idea of a whirlwind tour may be too early to talk about.


    Denford, do you remember how that funny jingle "Rambai Makashinga" was played out repeatedly until it occupied space in our brain's lyrical defaults. You will say but we do not have ZBH to do so, and my response will be that we need to be innovative - people like innovative leaders.

    Lastly, I suggest that Mavambo does not confine its structures to provincial boundaries. There are a lot of networks these days which can carry forward the work of the party, eg, academic networks. Yes, for official election and policy formulation purposes, provincial and ward structures are indeed vital, but other networks can be put to good use too.

    Regional Diasporan (aka Regional Citizen)

  5. @Regional Diasporan.

    Articulate and well-argued as ever, RD.

    But your solution still involves getting SADC to do "something", which means if they don't, then we are up the creek without a padddle.

    Our salvation lies in people seeing for themselves truly that they and only they can change things and look for alternatives. WE have been skirting this issue for a long time, my friend, but a lot of us in Zim realise the truth (and it is one of the reasons I threw my hat in with Makoni): Mugabe can only be brought down by someone who was once in the structure of that party.

    Makoni is ideal, I think because of his clean image and his ability to actually put a stop to violence just by the presence of his moral authority (as he did in March this year).

    Bonus: A leader Makoni is actually the sort of person who will be able to set a precedent in Zimbabwe where it becomes the norm to change leaders, for leaders to respect term limits and for Zimbabwe to be put on a path towards true democracy.

    We are not a disabled nation, so the crutch we are always calling out for from SADC, AU, UN etc is not needed. Let us stand on our own two feet. Without closing our borders, SADC can end this by simply telling Zimbabweans: "Please stop bothering us, we are busy. Zimbabwe should sort out its own mess, we are therefore refusing to get involved in mediation, helping or even listening to you."

    You will see change in this country within three months if that happened.


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