Diaspora Zimbabweans: Killing Themselves With Petty Jealousies and "Pull Him Down" Syndrome?

While waiting for Mugabe or Tsvangirai to do things for them, Zimbabweans, especially those in the diaspora, have been so mentally damaged by the 30 year socialist rule of Mugabe that they fail to get together to take advantages of opportunities back home. They fail to realise that it is only they who have the emotional resources to press ahead with the development of such things as the Chiadzwa Diamond fields and other mineral to be mined in Zimbabwe.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 17 September 2009

I got an email yesterday from Mark, an American who says he is interested in the Zimbabwe situation but does not know any Zimbabweans in the United States.

His email was prompted, he said, by my articles in which I repeatedly mention that Zimbabwe has vast mineral resources, including diamonds, gold and platinum. Mark wanted to know why it is that, with 3 million Zimbabweans said to be working outside the country, they are not pooling resources to develop these minerals.

Quite rightly, he mentions several countries, including the Philippines, which are benefiting from their citizens working abroad.

It really got me thinking.

The problem is that, like the Zimbabweans they left back home, the Zimbabwean citizens abroad are, first and foremost, victims of a uniquely Zimbabwean disease, whereby they expect the Government of the day to do things for them.

Hence, although they know that as a body, they can contribute back home at more meaningful scale that goes beyond bread and butter for their relatives, they are failing to take the initiative, instead calling on this moribund government to come and address them about investment opportunities back home.

It is a sad state of affairs, indeed.

I do know that some Zimbabweans have tried to put together workshops, but even these are premised on the fact that someone from Zimbabwe's government will come and talk to the gathered people.

Then you have a much more serious disease:

The mistrust and petty jealousies that see Zimbabweans deriding whatever is instigated by their fellow Zimbabweans. Instead of helping to make dreams a reality, they will usually just fire off disparaging remarks and leave it at that, trying to convince everyone else that other Zimbabweans can not be trusted.

There are, let us say, 3 million Zimbos in the diaspora. If they were all to get together and form an investment vehicle administered, for example, by a reputable auditing firm like Deloittes in the United Kingdom or the States, they will have started off on right footing.

The next step would be to ask every Zimbabwean in the diaspora to contribute, say 50 pounds or US$100 into this vehicle. That is 150 million pounds immediately. It could be upped as the organisers see fit.

This money could easily be put into a mining operation back home, be it for diamonds, gold mines or some other investment, with the rest coming from another partner (say a foreign firm with a good track record in mining, which would get 50%).

Immediately, Zimbabweans would be in charge of their resources. Mugabe, who says he wants to empower Zimbabweans, will be hard pressed to do anything with this investment. I believe that it will also motivate Zimbabweans to be more active in protecting this democracy because they will have stake in its future.

Right now, people can let Mugabe do as he pleases because they have abandoned Zimbabwe, they have no stake in it.

This route, I believe, would see this country start on a path to greatness unequalled in Africa.

We have the expertise and the knowledge to make it work.

But the problem is that Zimbabweans have never been a cooperative people. They wilfully divide themselves along tribal lines, with this tribe deriding that one even in front of foreigners in the diaspora.

They divide each other on political grounds, wishing death, deportation and devastation on those who hold different political views.

They divide each other in terms of the jobs they hold in the diaspora.

They fail even to assist each other out there.

I know it is wishful thinking, because, having grown up under a stifling socialist system in which the government did everything and activism was never established except for ulterior and selfish reasons, it is unlikely that Zimbabweans of this or the next generation will truly unite.

There will be excuses. There will be justifications and so on, but the truth remains: Zimbabweans have allowed what makes them different from each other to separate them, while not allowing what brings them together to unite them.

More's the pity.


  1. One of the most devastating (unintended) consequences of this crusade against Mugabe is the psychological effect it is having on the Diaspora. The message has been “forget Zimbabwe until Mugabe is gone”, and with the perennial failure to remove him and the picture becoming clearer that Zanu is here to stay, that same message is now translating into “forget Zimbabwe”! The longer that carries on, the less attached those people are to Zimbabwe.

    You see worse countries like andThere is an entirely different message of “we need to fix things” in order to have a better country found in other troubled countries such Somalia, DRC, Afghanistan to name a few. The UK had more than 350,000 documented during the liberation war and had opportunities been available to invest back then, people would have done it and still fought Ian Smith! Because the outlook was that it is our country with or without Smith. I am now understanding why so many young people like Makoni actually labored through to obtain PhD’s. They knew they would one day lead the country and they needed to prepare!

    So excuse me if I do not agree with the notion that the PHD mentality is our people in the Diaspora is bringing us down. To a point I agree we are not a united lot, but that is where we need people with vision enough to rise above petty partisanship and provide direction for our people! Biti and the MDC already ignored our own preferring foreigners, effectively telling them their money is not as important. Yet by your own calculations, the Diaspora can easily invest more than the US, EU and UK combined! How can we grow, how can we unite, how can we learn to love if we are being taught to hate ourselves? How can we reconcile “forget Zimbabwe” with “invest in Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe will never be able to overcome itself (Mugabe) as long as the message out there is asking people to be negative. How will you even rebuild that country?


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