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Mnangagwa's nonentity on global stage leaving Zimbabweans' continued oppression largely unnoticed!

27 Jan 2023 at 07:26hrs | Views
After the November 2017 military coup d'état - which ousted long-time dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and ushering in his protégé Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa as new president - the plight of oppressed and suffering Zimbabweans, seemingly overnight, went under the radar, and has gone largely ignored by the international community.

I have tried to understand why, but the reasons have been elusive.

Nevertheless, one of the most plausible answers could be the intense loathing of Mugabe by global leaders, mostly from the western hemisphere - due to his land reform program, which was notorious for its violent nature, resulting in the savage killing of a number of white farmers - after their then properties had been invaded, thereafter being unceremoniously evicted.

This placed the then Zimbabwe leader in the Western's cross-hairs - becoming the world most wanted, or more precisely, reviled - thereby, turning Mugabe into a 'rogue leader', bordering on a global terrorist.

In so doing, his name was always on the mouths of various world powers - just like they were on his - consequently, being swamped by the global media wherever he went.

This resulted in the miserable plight of ordinary Zimbabweans - at the hands of the brutal barbaric hands of his (Mugabe's) heinous regime - similarly taking center stage at major world events, and making headlines in mostly western media.

Stories of our unimaginable and unbearable poverty and impoverished, as well as the horrendous atrocities perpetrated against the opposition, were repeatedly told, seemingly on a daily basis - whilst, being at the top of the agenda at various international fora - bringing awareness to a wider audience.

Nearly everyone across the world had heard of Mugabe and Zimbabwe - with many sympathetic with our situation - as they heard of the hundreds massacred when Mugabe lost crucial 2008 presidential elections to then MDC leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

They knew of how our currency had become worthless - characterized by hyperinflation, reaching 79.6 billion percent month-to-month, and 89.7 sextillion percent year-on-year in mid-November 2008 - just before the GNU (Government of National Unity) between Mugabe's ZANU PF and Tsvangirai's MDC, after the horrific reign of terror.

It cannot be denied that this GNU could have never seen the light of day - had our issues not regularly been in the global spotlight - translating into unrelenting pressure on those in power.

Had world powers not talked about Mugabe and Zimbabwe at every turn - we would have been left to perish at the blood-soaking hands of his power-hungry sadistic regime.

However, since the toppling of Mugabe, and the ascendancy of Mnangagwa, suddenly we are no longer as topical as before.

Not that our situation has improved - no, not at all!

In fact, according to most observers and analysts - in spite of an eight-year-long respite, between 2009 and 2017 - life for the ordinary Zimbabwean has actually worsened under Mnangagwa, with unbelievably heightened human rights abuses, and well as living standards plummeting to shocking levels.

So, why has the international community apparently become uninterested in our continued suffering?

Why is the incessant violent repression, weaponization of the law, and general persecution of the opposition going unchallenged and unnoticed on the global stage?

How come nearly half the population can live in extreme poverty, and two thirds of the workforce earn far below the poverty datum line, whilst most families are food insecure - and, that appears of no significance to the world?

Why does it not matter that we have the highest food inflation in the world (at an alarming annual 321 percent), with the usually used exchange rate now hovering around ZW$1,000 for US$1?

As mentioned before, I really do not have a ready response.

It could be that the person whom world powers hated with a passion, Mugabe - who spearheaded the chaotic and murderous land reform program - was no longer a factor, since not only was he ousted in 2017, but eventually died two years later.

Possibly, the ordinary people of Zimbabwe were never the real issue at the core of this global outrage - but, was all about Mugabe, and what he had done to white farmers.

Now that he is gone, we are of no consequence - and, never have been.

Then, there is another reason which hit me today, as I watched footage of Mnangagwa at the ongoing Africa Food and Nutrition Summit in Senegal.

It is undeniable that the man lacks the charisma and clout that characterized Mugabe - as such, he (Mnangagwa) does not attract any global media attention, on his international travels.

Whenever Mnangagwa is on his world tours, there is a glaring and deafening lack of interest at his presence - such that, he always appears a lonely figure.

No members of the global press are ever flocking for interviews with him - save, maybe for the local state-controlled media, that is always in tow, and ready to tout everything he does as 'game changing'.

In other words, as far as the international community is concerned, the Zimbabwe president is a nonentity - not worthy of any meaningful coverage.

Which explains why, according to some friends based in the diaspora, not many people overseas have ever heard his name, let alone are aware of his existence.

That, inadvertently, becomes a huge disadvantage for the ever-suffering oppressed people of Zimbabwe - who, as a result, also disappear and cease to exist in the eyes of the world.

This seeming 'insignificance' of Mnangagwa has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him - and, as curse for the rest of Zimbabweans - since, his brutal ruthless reign goes unchallenged and unquestioned by the world.

He is being allowed to get away with murder, scot-free!

However, we cannot suffer in silence, as the world goes on as if everything is fine for the people of Zimbabwe.

It is understandable that there are other supposedly 'more pressing' matters to attend to - such as Russian aggression on its neighbor Ukraine, and post-COVID recovery - but, can world powers, surely, not spare a few minutes of their time to heed our cries for help?

Admittedly, their 'public enemy number one', Mugabe, is gone - nonetheless, if their noises in the early 2000s was authentically and sincerely for us - what has changed today, under Mnangagwa?

Are we still not being subjected to the most heinous and terrible abuses on the face of the planet?

Who is to stand for the millions abandoned to wallow in abject poverty - unable to feed their families, place a roof over their heads, send their children to school, or access meaningful health care - all because our vast national resources are being plundered and pillaged for the enrichment of a small political elite?

Who is to speak for those being thrown into jail on flimsy spurious charges - with the brazen selective application of the law, callously tilted against the opposition - yet, the ruling party can pretty much do whatever they please, whenever they please, with impunity?

This continued silence by the global community brings shame to those who have, all along, claimed to be crusaders for human rights and justice.

In fact, it lends credence to the Zimbabwe ruling establishment's repeated assertions that the targeted sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his cronies had absolutely nothing to do with the stated accusations of human rights abuses, corruption and electoral fraud - but, everything to do with the land reform program, which predominantly affected white commercial farmers.

What about the rest of us - who cares for us, and who is going to stand for us - against a cruel sadistic heartless regime?

Are we to be left to perish - as the world merely watches, or rather, not even noticing us?

Surely, Zimbabweans are just as important as everyone else, in other parts of the world, being savagely brutalized and their rights wantonly violated.

- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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