19 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Helping Zimbabwe Stand On Her Feet Again

Namibia this week rolled out the red carpet for new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came around to engage the Namibian government on a variety of issues, including the transition in his country.

'The Crocodile', as Mnangagwa was known during the liberation struggle combat days, has been visiting southern Africa to expose his blueprint for the country he took control of in November last year.

Mnangagwa's ascendance to power is as encouraging as is inspiring. While there are voices of dissent from some quarters - regarding how Mnangagwa took over the reins of power in what was once known as Africa's breadbasket - the general populace of Zimbabwe seem excited and hopeful for the future.

Zimbabwe, on account of its land distribution programme that sometimes was violent, was slapped with monstrous sanctions by world superpowers. Poor human rights record, alleged election fraud, destruction of tens of thousands of low-income homes in Operation Murambatsvina, were further cited as other reasons for the sanctions that, at a deeper level, were actually aimed at punishing black people in that country.

Many countries in the West opened their doors to white Zimbabweans so that they may live in such countries - sustained by their governments.

Black Zimbabweans who had education and the means to leave the country embarked on a mass exodus as they sought greener pastures elsewhere in the world. This was because the situation at home became unbearable, owing to sanctions that were clearly designed to punish not only government, but indeed its people too - the majority of which happen to be black.

The price that blacks paid included the destruction of their economic and social lives, and humanitarian suffering to all and sundry. Claims by the West that these were 'economic sanctions', in a bid to paint a picture of an intervention aimed strictly at government, were a blatant lie.

Against this background, Africa and the world at large need to help Mnangagwa to return Zimbabwe to her former glory. Africa in particular has the obligation, for its own sake, to make Zimbabwe great again.

It was encouraging to see world leaders falling over each other to congratulate Mnangagwa on his ascendancy to power, and promising to work with his government, economically and otherwise.

Just this week, it was reported that Mnangagwa was invited to join other leaders from highly developed nations in the world at the World Economic Forum's prestigious 48th Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The Herald newspaper reported this week that this was the first time since independence in 1980 that an invitation to this event was extended to Zimbabwe.

The fact that the AU and SADC have recognised Mnangagwa as president of his country makes life easier for other nations, and indeed investors, to start dealing with Zimbabwe. Legitimacy of political leadership is essential for investment and the economic stability of all nations on earth.

Namibia would certainly not have rolled out the red carpet if questions lingered over Mnangagwa's head, over legitimacy.

President Mnangagwa also confirmed this week that Zimbabweans should brace for harmonised elections in the next five months, which should be transparent, free and fair for the progressive good of the country. These are all positive signs that warrant full support of all Zimbabwe's endeavours.

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