Exiles face dangers when returned home: Dabengwa

LONDON – Zimbabweans in the Diaspora remain at risk upon being returned to their country as the so called inclusive government has catastrophically failed to create a safe environment for them, opposition leader and ZAPU president, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa said in Britain this week.\r\n

Dr Dabengwa said this when he spoke at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, Wednesday.

In the face of the inclusive government, Mugabe’s hitmen have continued to persecute those viewed to be opposed to the dictator with impunity. As it is, Prime Minister Tsvangirai could face treason charges over the Wikileaks revelations on Zimbabwe. Treason carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe.

However, Dr Dabengwa’s declaration on risk at home is in stark contrast with PM Tsvangirai who was heckled by his supporters on his last visit to Britain when he urged them to return home claiming the country was now safe, a claim which has proved to be wrong in view of violent reports coming from the troubled southern African nation everyday. For example, Tsvangirai’s Agriculture-designated ministerial candidate Roy Bennett had to leave the country recently in fear of his life after being hounded by ZANU-PF agents.

Dr Dabengwa, the man who championed a revolutionary armed struggle against the Rhodesian racist government resulting in the majority rule, instead appealed to the British to assist in re-skilling and training Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom so that when time was ripe for them to return home they will be able to contribute towards the reconstruction of their country.

In his address, he revealed that Zimbabwe’s Inclusive Government formed in 2009 has failed catastrophically to restore law and order, and, moreso to create an environment conducive for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora for their safe return. He outlined the vision of a ZAPU elected government that will protect the rights of all Zimbabweans in a devolved state.

The following is part of Dr Dabengwa’s address.

By Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU President

Many Zimbabweans have died in search of freedom. Some continue to needlessly die due to lack of basic public services. Others have fled or survived but have tragic stories to tell about torture, rape and unspeakable politically motivated violence.

It pains me to recall that I spent almost two decades fighting for justice and freedom for my country, only to see fellow African leaders abuse the same ordinary people that we fought to defend.

It is surprising that a system that is failing to deliver basics in education, health and welfare is so efficient in persecuting, oppressing and abusing the rights of innocent citizens and corruption.

Today, millions of Zimbabweans are scattered in the Diaspora after fleeing from persecution and harsh economic conditions. Today, millions of Zimbabweans remain trapped in a system that can no longer deliver basic services. In the words of John F Kennedy, “Our problems are man-made; therefore they may be solved by man.

Zimbabweans have made the necessary decision to resolve their crisis by reviving ZAPU.

When it became apparent that recently formed political parties lacked the capacity to take over power in Zimbabwe, many started calling on ZAPU to revive its structures and take its place that it should have had at independence.

Sadly, in recent years, our capacity to deliver decent public services like education, health and welfare vanished.

In recent years, Zimbabwe’s image as a respected member of the community of nations has suffered.

In recent years, our gold medal as the bread basket of Africa has been replaced by pictures of hunger, starvation and disease.

The political scene remains stained with fresh memories of gross human rights abuses against defenceless citizens. The political terrain continues to be dominated by those whose language of attaining votes is violence, intimidation, oppression and media clampdown.

The security services have been politicised and need urgent reform. Freedom of speech remains out of bounds for the ordinary citizens, with AIPPA in place.

Civil liberties remain a taboo to the ordinary people.

Freedom of association is punished by persecution.

Freedom of assembly is curtailed by the Public Order and Security Act.

The economic scene is littered with corruption.

The Indigenisation legislation is timed to only benefit cronies of those that have looted from the state, giving them an opportunity to reinvest and clean their loot.

The Parties in Government have failed to instil law and order, with political violence continuing. They have failed to prevent or alleviate poverty for the ordinary people, with civil servants continuing to get peanuts for pay.

They have failed to bring political stability because they loudly bicker all the time.

The parties in government have become specialists in crying out to the world about their bitter differences on minor issues that are in themselves irrelevant to the ordinary Zimbabwean.

They have failed to achieve justice for victims of politically motivated violence. They have failed to create a safe environment, conducive for Zimbabweans who are in exile to return to their beloved motherland.

I now make a special appeal to the British and the international community to assist Zimbabwe by providing training and re-skilling for Zimbabweans currently living here and abroad. We believe it is important that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are given an opportunity to arm themselves with skills and resources in order to effectively contribute to in the recovery of Zimbabwe whenever they return.

The inclusive government is failing to create a stable and conducive environment for donors and investors to re-engage with Zimbabwe.

A ZAPU Government will ensure that security sector is reformed in the interest of the state and restore law and order.

A ZAPU Government will ensure that all Zimbabweans are offered protection and those in the Diaspora who so choose are free to return.

The people of Zimbabwe are responding passionately to ZAPU, our principled stand on attaining power through peaceful means and devolution. We are confident of winning any free and fair election in Zimbabwe today. It is therefore not surprising to us, that the parties in Government are now backtracking on their earlier calls for fresh elections.