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Exiles appeal for regional solidality

Exiled Zimbabweans have urged regional forces to join hands to push for democracy in Zimbabwe.

BY Edgar Gweshe

Last month a group of Zambians demonstrated against President Robert Mugabe when he flew to Lusaka for the inauguration of Zambia’s new President Edgar Lungu.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum (ZEF), Gabriel Shumba said it was unfortunate the political situation in Zimbabwe was not yet conducive for exiled Zimbabweans to return to their homeland as they feared persecution from authorities.

He said the people of southern Africa were vital to ensure the respect of human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.

Shumba blamed former South African President, Thabo Mbeki for downplaying the Zimbabwean crisis during the time of the inclusive government. He said the current South African leader Jacob Zuma, was no different from Mbeki.

“The regional solidarity shown by the people of Zambia when they protested against Mugabe is a breath of fresh air in the desert of hypocritical democratic commitments obtaining in Africa and southern Africa in particular,” he said.

“It seems the Mbeki hypocrisy on the Zimbabwean crisis is what we are seeing in the ANC led by President Zuma. In spite of all that, it is still critical that the citizenry is coming out in solidarity to support one another against tyrants, a position that has been bravely taken up by Cosatu in South Africa.”

Shumba said the demonstration against Mugabe in Zambia was a clear indication that people in Zimbabwe and Sadc as a whole were tired of the 91-year- old leader whose policies have been blamed for bringing down the economy.

“The demonstrations in Zambia are indicative of the fact that our neighbours now see Mugabe as a liability to progress and positive change. The region can’t remain inhibited in progress by self-serving nonagenarians who have no respect for human rights, but want to turn an otherwise beautiful country into a dynasty,” he said.

“ZEF has mechanisms in place to rally other countries to Zimbabwe’s cause and to ensure that ultimately, the will of the people of Zimbabwe becomes a reality,” said Shumba.

An estimated 3,5 million Zimbabweans are said to be living in exile for both political and economic reasons.

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