Fact: Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa where, when elections are held, citizens, especially on social media, tag foreign ambassadors and foreign leaders to "report" their opponents and their leaders in ongoing inter-party conflicts and disagreements.

This fact was brought to my attention at an Africa Day Eve dinner I attended at an embassy in Harare at the end of last month. I raised the issue back them privately with one of our more well-known journalists mostly because I found the discussion that night highly embarrassing for Zimbabwe.

It is a betrayal of the mentality that guarantees Zimbabwe will remain a backward backwater of the Global Village, whatever the justification Zimbabweans have for this type of behaviour, which reduces all Zimbabweans, ALL of them, in the eyes of the world. That mentality is, as one diplomat put it at the dinner "an inferiority complex that makes Zimbabweans the most pitiable of our African friends."

Take South Africa, for instance: there are violent clashes in South Africa that can reach frightening levels. Candidates are shot dead and injured in places like Kwazulu Natal. Intimidation can reach levels that make even Mugabe at the height o his intolerance look like a relative political saint.

Yet, not once in the more than 20 years since South Africa became a democratic state did we ever see a single South African appeal to a foreign representative or foreign leader over these internal shortcomings of their democracy.

Namibia has a very vocal opposition which believes that SWAPO rigs elections and is intolerant of opposition. We are yet to see a single person tag a foreign ambassador or foreign leader during any of their elections.

The Zimbabwean practice is a humiliating one, which led even regional leaders to angrily react to the constant chattering in their ears. Almost every single Chair of SADChas, for instance, at some point, publicly lashed out, stating that only Zimbabweans can solve Zimbabwean problems.

Which then leads them to being labelled dictator sympathisers.

The comments and issues being raised by these voices (most of whom are in the diaspora and a deadly scared of a normalisation of the political situation back in Zimbabwe) basically amount to Zimbabweans asking foreigners to run their country for them.

The message they send is simple: Zimbabweans are incapable of governing themselves, be they the ruling party or any other opposition party. They can not run their own country and need foreign assistance with the most mundane things that any sovereign country whose citizens have a shred of pride would not allow anyone else to interfere with.

Yes, there are arguments about space being closed. But those arguments are now old hat, gone wherever Mugabe went. Everyone except those with agendas against Zimbabwe (as opposed to agendas against ZANU PF) recognises and accepts this.

Yes, Mnangagwa was part of government for the time Mugabe was in power. The same could also be said of Morgan Tsvangirai, who was, by his own admission, a card-carrying member of ZANU PF until the mid to late 1990s (making that a total of a decade to 15 years). Tsvangirai changed his trajectory and was judged on the merit of the behaviour he exhibited after abandoning ZANU PF. Mnangagwa, perhaps, should be given the same treatment but held accountable for what he has done since taking presidential powers, just some of us continued to hold Tsvangirai accountable for what he did after he left ZANU PF.

Zimbabwean courts have demonstrated their willingness to stand against injustice, ruling against government if need be, much as the South African justice system has demonstrated.

There will also be reason to be vigilant, as was the case when investigations into Jacob Zuma's alleged corruption were set aside by the courts prior to his taking office. There were cried back then by some South Africans about the judiciary having been captured by the ANC.

Yet at no point did you see South Africans taking to social media to tag the British, EU or American ambassadors and foreign ministers with the comment "look at the breakdown in the rule of law in South Africa".

This pitiable behaviour by Zimbabweans every time an election comes along perpetuated the status quo under Mugabe because no government in the world wants to be run like a feudal client state of foreign powers, no matter how poor that country may be. It is also what led to the Third World, including African countries, taking a step back because they did not want to see what was being done in Zimbabwe by foreign nations being done in their own countries as well.

Look, we know all the arguments. But those arguments could hold true in America as they do in Britain, South Africa, Namibia and Russia. But can you imagine Russians reporting to an American ambassador or diplomatic on Twitter that Vladmir Putin is rigging an election? Or a DA supporter in South Africa doing the same to report that the ANC or the IFP are butchering each other with machetes on the hills of Kwazulu Natal?

Of course not.

But Zimbabweans will, rest assured, defend this illiterate behaviour. It could certainly be excused under Mugabe, under certain conditions even then, but is now simply a cry by Zimbabweans to foreigners to help them run their country.

It reflects the lack of capacity to govern yourselves whether you are ZANU PF or MDC or APA or any other opposition force. It means all of you do not have capacity to run this country, foreigners must step in and do it for you.

The consequences of this are going to be felt in Zimbabwe until the current two illiterate generations who are vying to control Zimbabwe have died out.

Let us just hope that they do not, in the meantime, pass on their disease to their children and grand children.


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