It’s time for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to act

OPINION – Not so long ago I watched a documentary on two aids orphans in Zimbabwe. The two brothers live alone; one is 16, the other about seven. The older brother cooks for them in a beat up little hut that they call home somewhere in rural Zimbabwe

He then makes sure that his younger brother takes his medication (when he has it) and then dresses him up in some old ragged clothes that they call a school uniform. They walk 30km barefoot to school on days when they have managed to pay the required $10 school fees. Some days they go to school hungry. Some days the little brother forgets to take his medication and becomes very sick which means that the older brother must stay at home and look after him. They sleep on the floor in their ‘house’ and they have two little black pots that they cook in when there is food.

When they do get food donations, at most times the food gets stolen when they are at school because they have an old broken lock securing their house. Asked how he manages the little brother says they haven’t got much choice, there is nothing they can do about their situation except look after each other and try to survive. Their relatives have abandoned them and so they have to fend for themselves

Now I don’t know about you but I cried a little about the fate of these two innocent souls whose only sin was to be born in Zimbabwe to parents who died of Aids. This I believe is the situation in Zimbabwe. There are worse situations that the one above I guess, even here in South Africa, but the pictures I saw remain vivid in my mind and I have decided that we, as Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, must do something about this and save our country. Yes we can.

It is with this in mind that I am establishing the Patriotic Movement of Diaspora Zimbabweans (PAMODZI-together as one) an international organisation made up of all of us in the Diaspora whose main objective is to promote democracy and socio-economic development in our motherland. Through this body we will be able to register our presence on the social and political landscape in our country and hopefully make the difference that most of us wish to make but have no platform to do so.

As a matter of interest, around 1999 I was briefly involved in an attempt to establish an investment fund for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. The fund sought to mobilise resources from Zimbabweans worldwide and invest them at home. It was an excellent idea I must say but the execution was not done well due to various reasons, such as  the lack of clarity of who was really behind the effort. What I did learn from that experience is the obvious lack of collective responsibility and sincere co-operation by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora which is one of the reasons I think we have let our country down.

I see Nigerians and Somalis working together and helping each other and I wonder why we Zimbabweans cannot do the same. After all there are a significant number of us here in South Africa and we could easily have a formidable positive impact on how things are at home if only we could co-operate. I have also realised that most Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are not that cash flash, times are hard I guess as people try to make ends meet and survive while also sending money home.

However, it is my conviction that these are all excuses that keep us divided and unable to make the difference that we want to see at home. In my opinion, it is time for us to organise ourselves and ensure that our interests are represented both at economic and political levels at home. We need to give our input and ideas on the future of our country but must put together our own resources lest we be blamed for being sponsored by imperialists!

If, for example, we each put together a one-off payment of R100 and only 1m out of the estimated 3m of us did so, we would have a handsome seed capital of R100m which we can then use to do something meaningful both locally and at home. You can do the numbers yourself.

Critical of course would be that the funds are utilised for the stated purpose in a transparent manner. We could then invest the funds here and also get involved in job creation investment projects in Zimbabwe. We would also pledge some of our funds to be used to feed the vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe and thereby make a huge difference to the lives of the poor.

The scramble for Zimbabwe is a reality and we as Zimbabweans in the Diaspora must surely be investors in our own country as we seek to influence the emergence of a new era of economic transformation and open democracy.

Yes…… I can hear you starting to say but……

You know what, for far too long we have left this responsibility to others and look what we have got for ourselves. Our country has gone to the dogs while we seemingly watch and claim to be powerless to do something.

We are not powerless and remember no one can make us so without our consent. So let’s do something and everyone is invited, black or white!

It’s time to act PAMODZI together as one ndizvo! –

*VinceMusewe is an independent Zimbabwean economist based in South Africa. He is also chairman and founder of Truth2Power. This article was first published in moneyweb.co.za. For more information on  PAMODZI you may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com