from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEANS in the Diaspora are accusing the government of spurning their offer to contribute to the rebuilding of the crisis torn country.
This is despite the Zimbabweans abroad driving their home country’s economy through an estimated $50 billion (about R732.5 billion) annually through remittances.
An umbrella body of these nationals, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber (ZDDC), a subsidiary of Global Zimbabwe Forum believes the current administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was not open to the input
of diaspora Zimbabweans.
“A good government would have talked to us,” said Luke Zunga, an economist, who is chairman for ZDDC.
“I have tonnes of advice. I am calling on our country (Zimbabwe) to think twice. We thought that by now the government would be engaging its citizens in the Diaspora.”
Zunga said Zimbabweans could contribute from wherever they are without necessarily returning home.
“Government might think we must come home from our safer havens. But we have put proposals which nobody has answered to,” he said.
“We had big ideas about our country from the first contact we made with (deceased) Vice President (Joseph) Msika in 2008, to messages of support and sending emissaries with indications how Zimbabwe should re-start agricultural and industrial restoration.”
The Diaspora sentiments come as Zimbabwe faces its worst economic crisis in a decade.
Zunga said instead of utilizing the potential of Zimbabweans, government was opting for loans.
“The county cannot survive on loans only. Zimbabwe must have strong agricultural and industrial programs which need self funding to initiate them before banks can complement with further funding,” Zunga argued.
He advised Zimbabwe’s government to engage regional powerhouses such as South Africa to resuscitate the economy.
“Zimbabwe is at a cross roads. Our leaders should swallow their pride and engage the dominant economic powers to save our country. They (leaders) can use South Africa, Rwanda or any other acceptable country to initiate willingness to engage the European Union, USA and Britain,” Zunga said.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the West were strained during the decades-old rule of Robert Mugabe.
“For now it is a case of survival. Get South Africa to negotiate the return of Zimbabwe from where it had gone. Bow down and listen. The conditions for normalizations are likely to be an undertaking to pay white farmers for land seized and respect of property rights. This undertaking is already mooted but the leaders are talking to themselves,” said Zunga.
He said the second condition would be to pay outstanding arrears for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans, as well as the Paris Club lenders.
“It is tough but it has to be done and faster,” Zunga said.
He lauded new finance minister Professor Mthuli Ncube for prioritizing on the issues.
Zunga said Zimbabwe must promote a conducive political atmosphere, uphold freedom of the media and repeal repressive apparatus such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to attract investments.
The Diaspora has also suggested an independent Peace and Reconciliation Commission to address violations.
The Global Zimbabwe Forum, of which ZDDC is an entity, held its inaugural international conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007.
Some 150 global Zimbabwe representatives drawn from more than 100 countries attended.
“There are great ideas about our country, contrary to the notion that citizens outside were political rebels,” Zunga concluded.
– CAJ News