Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

African Diaspora statement on the Zimbabwean situation and DRC

26 Jan 2019 at 09:07hrs | Views
The ADF joins the long que and list of human rights organisations, and other organisations and institutions in condemning in the strongest and unapologetic sense the senseless murders and brutalisation of the people of Zimbabwe by their own government. Many countries and the world at large pride themselves in the advancement of human rights and the protection of their citizens. We are appalled by the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe over the last week. The truth of the matter is that the gross human rights violations that have seen many flee to South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi etc have been down played, and will soon be forgotten until another incident happens and the fire burns for a couple of minutes and dies out and yet many forced migrants will remain in hiding and suffering in other countries.

The government of Zimbabwe has blamed the people for violent strikes and attributed its heavy handedness to the burning of police vehicles, stealing of police uniforms and guns and looting of shops. Is this not much worrying because one would have thought Zimbabwe which claims to be a constitutional democracy has courts to try people and competent sentences for crimes like arson, theft, public violence and many others? Is it how looters, or public violence is dealt with in the country of Zimbabwe? That people are shot at using live ammunition? That people are dragged out of their houses on suspicion of participating in a strike or mass action and brutalised by the army? That the army patrols the streets and backyards of residential settlements? That the police throws tear gas in people's houses?

The government uses the state apparatus to fight its own people, those that voted it into office barely six months ago, today they are being shot at and butchered and their lives equated to police uniforms, police vans and bags of mealie meal and rice? Is this what this world has come to? That the destruction of vehicles warrants the killing of human beings? This was done on the 1st of August 2018 and on the 14th of January 2019 history quickly repeats itself, if history does it so soon, it is no longer history but instead a culture, a daily practice. Is that what Africa is proud of? Instead of leaders condemning these gross evil acts but they call for sanctions to be removed? Did sanctions carry guns and shoot people? This is not naivety assumed on Africans but rather we are being put on a wild goose chase, this is a clear diversion. The leading African leaders sending the world on a wild goose chase and yet their own people are reeling from the effects of this bad governance and the whole continent is profusely bleeding.

As the African Diaspora Forum, we are aggrieved by the trivialisation of the loss of human life in the African continent and the lack of commitment by African leaders in preserving human life. To these leaders, human life is necessary collateral damage to show that governments can deal with dissention. It is our understanding that people must according to law protest and show displeasure with their governments if needs be and the reason why in Africa protests often end up with the looting and vandalism is because the people do not feel like they are part of their governments and they see these things as belonging to those in government and as a result when they want the government out, they want it out with everything that represents it. It is a sad fact, but it is the responsibility and the result of the kind of African leadership which desires to be appreciated for constructing roads, giving cheap or subsidised houses and they use these as political tools to campaign for elections. Yet government provides these services, not individual political parties and they use public funds not political party funds but still they will campaign using these tricks as though it was by their own fit or financial muscle.  Africans are sold a dummy day in and day out.

Politics governs the world, and if the politics is wrong, the economics become wrong, the socio-political environment becomes wrong and the lifestyle of the people follow the politics because human beings are always without fail political animals. Africa needs to review its understanding and presentation of political facts, statements and presentation. It is our firm belief that Pan Africanism advances the theory of a united Africa developing as a unity without leaving any African person or state behind, the spirit of 'ubuntu'. However, the true reflection of the presented Pan Africanism is that of protecting incumbent governments and standing by them even when they blatantly abuse people and find an excuse to excuse the actions of government. The effects of such actions and disposition is the fleeing of people to neighbouring countries and to Europe where thousands die every year in the Mediterranean trying to cross over.

Africa's human rights record is appalling, it is below dog standard at all. We often never kill our pets or dogs, but African human rights custodians, the governments will do anything to cover the human rights abuses and hide behind state sovereignty including the irresponsible regional bodies like the AU and SADC and infact they have ring fenced and protected these despotic governments ensuring that they can never be challenged by stating that the people of each country must solve their own problems.

How is this possible when the governments have the machinery to rig elections, there is no separation of powers and when people are aggrieved and go to courts, courts are an extension of the same executive that oppresses them and violate their rights.  The legislature is made up of the majority party or governing party which can never go against its President who is often the leader of the party meaning indirectly he controls the legislators too? The people of Africa have no recourse, but to flee their countries and die on capsizing boats or the violent death of xenophobic attacks. They flee one tyranny into another worse off situation.

The governments have courts and prisons to hold those who offend the law but instead they choose to kill them when they express dissatisfaction despite freedom of expression, the right to demonstrate, right to associate, and those doing so for the government are not held to account because they are clearly executing the mandate given to them by those driving state machinery who are above the law, for the law is meant for everyone else except them. There is rule of law on paper, but because they appoint their lapdogs to the judiciary and the Prosecuting Authorities, the Police and the army, then clearly, they rule with impunity. There is no balancing act or checks and balances. The people are on their own with no means of protection while all the protection is taken by these leaders against a defenceless people.

What recourse does the African people have today? This is not about the ICC but about the African people who have no one to rescue them. The Congolese people have a sworn in President today but yesterday over a million people could not vote courtesy to the government's failure to deal with Ebola and the other reasons so given. How do those people feel about their President when the government excluded them from participating in that important vote? Is that election not stolen from them? What is the world saying about that? What is Africa saying about that? Africa is excited about the smooth handover of power? Non-violent handover? When over a million voters were denied the right to exercise their right to vote?

Not taking anything away from the transition experience in the DRC from President Kabila to President Felix Tshisekedi, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate him for ascending to the Presidency of the DRC and pray that the country's human rights record will improve and development take place rapidly and those in the diaspora can freely return and access equal opportunities with all others, and but thus state that a country cannot be governed on principles of exclusion and marginalisation.

It is our sincere hope that Africa can look in the mirror and be frank with the African modus operandi on its politics, human rights record, and deal with it honestly and truthfully. We extend our condolences to all those who lost their loved ones and our sympathies are with those that are hospitalised and our prayers to those that still have no clue where their missing relatives are. We implore the AU, SADC and South Africa, an economic powerhouse in Africa, to come out in the open and clean and condemn the acts of the government of President Mnangagwa that kills with impunity and does so repeatedly over and over and over again. The principle of quiet diplomacy is not helping the people of Zimbabwe that have been killed since the 80s and to-date and yet no one dares protect them or bring to order the murderous government of ZANU PF, of course because of the 'sovereignty' clause yet South Africa has become an unofficial surrogate country to Zimbabweans.

Where is the African dream? It so elusive and courtesy to the custodians of the wealth and natural resources of the African continent, and how does it feel to these leaders, to sell out so bad and watch everyone who looks up to them burst in flames?

Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda
Chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum

Shipping vehicles from UK to Zimbabwe for less
Source - Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.